The world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), I have been researching and learning more about this area in recent months. They are more than just hot keywords nowadays. You would probably have heard and read many different news on AI, the developments, impacts and changes that is coming to you soon, not just in your work, in your daily life too. Some of you are excited on the growth of AI technology, its positive impacts that they can bring to our work and living, some are worried about AI, negative impacts and changes to your job, all the above concerns that you may have on AI are understandable and valid. Today, I am writing and sharing on another industry sector through a Q&A on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries.
TGH Technology Research/Learning Series on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The areas of AI has been on my radar, part of my technology writing and coverage that I would like to cover more in detail. On a professional and personal note, there were many a times when I thread AI on a thin grey line. On one hand, I am excited on the prospects, capabilities and how AI technology can help us in our work and life even better and further. On the other hand, I am worried that AI can take away some of our work, careers etc.
As I progressed further into the areas of AI learning and research, I had the opportunities to chat with Temus, that led to me working on an AI coverage with them, the two major articles were the “Fireside Chat with Temus and Qlik on 8th May 2023 – Key Takeaways on AI” and “Q&A on the impacts of AI, the human side of AI and fear of AI”.
Those two major articles on AI paved the way for the establishment of my new segment TGH Technology Research/Learning Series on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
TGH Photography Research/Learning Series on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Expanding further on my new series, I am also interested, excited and concerned on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries. That led me to kickstart another new segment, TGH Photography Research/Learning Series on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
I have also started exploring and testing Generative AI, tried out on some AI platforms, and produced a few media works. I have seen use case scenarios and examples shared on social media by other creatives, photographers, digital imaging artists. Some works were indeed close to being the real thing, that’s how far they have improved.
There are two digital images landscape style photos inside this article, the base photographs were taken by me, produced with Generative Fill tool using Adobe Photoshop (Beta) AI.
The rest of the digital images are produced using Adobe Express (Beta) using Text to Image Generative AI tool.
During this learning series on AI, I would be publishing more interviews with different creative artists on their thoughts and views. Meanwhile, I am still consolidating more personal in-depth thoughts and views, to be shared down the road.
Matt Johnson from Temus (A Photography Master, an AI expert that breathes/lives AI in his technology role)
A few months back, I was having a chat with Marcus Loh from Temus, having a coffee chat on my interest areas of focus in AI technology and the impacts on different industries, I mentioned that I am also planning to focus on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries. Marcus mentioned to me that I have to speak to Matt Johnson from Temus.
In my earlier TGH Technology Research/Learning Series of Artificial Intelligence (AI) articles, Matt shared a lot of his expert views and insights on the impacts of AI, the human side of AI and fear of AI. When I first met Matt at the Fireside Chat, and heard him speak and share about his expertise and views on AI, I was blown away, he’s an AI expert that breathes/lives AI in his technology role.
What I didn’t realise that Matt is more than just a photographer, he is at the level of a Photography Master! Do visit Matt Johnson’s photography website (https://photo.mgj.org) and check out his amazing photography works!
For this article, Matt has kindly continued with another round of interview questions, sharing his AI expertise and knowledge into the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries.
In my personal and professional humble opinion, Matt Johnson is one of the best person to share his professional and innermost thoughts and views on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries, from the AI expert (eats, breathes, lives AI) and a photography master himself.
Q&A Interview with Matt Johnson
Artist/Creative/Photographer profile questions
1) Would you mind giving us a short introduction about yourself and your creative fields of expertise?
My name is Matt Johnson and I am the Managing Director for AI & Data at Temus, a digital transformation consultancy. Temus is on a mission to unlock the value of data with AI, deliver positive disruptive change, and enhance the lives of citizens.
I am also a fine arts photographer and my photographs have been published by local and international media including the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Asian Geographic, The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
2) What are the inspirations and stories behind your creative field that you are today?
There is a common misunderstanding that technical fields such as engineering and mathematics lack creativity. While these fields can be very complex, they require amazing creativity to deliver impactful change.
As a practicing artist and engineer, I find the diversity of experience to be enormously beneficial to both disciplines. I encourage my team to follow their curiosity and seek out diversity.
3) Do you have a piece of creative artwork/photograph that means a lot to you? Would you be able to share more about this artwork?
I am particularly proud of my series, Freudian Trilogy, which was exhibited at the Waterloo Arts Centre with the support of the National Arts Council. This work involved collaborations with local dance companies to co-create a uniquely Singaporean work.
Generative AI and its impacts on creative, photography and artist industries
4) The current topic of intense heated discussion is Artificial Intelligence (AI), what are your personal views and thoughts on this technology? What are the potential positive and negative impacts on the creative industry?
I am truly excited by the potential of AI and the impacts it will have on our lives. As the Managing Director for AI & Data at Temus, I live and breathe this technology on a daily basis, and oversee AI events and partnerships like our fireside chat with Qlik and our recent partnership with AISG that you probably already know about. Even as I interact with it day-to-day, I am constantly amazed at the capabilities and the potential of this technology.
We are working with several clients to use Generative AI to address their specific challenges. The breadth of use cases is truly impressive from user generated art to financial analysis. As we explore new use cases, we continue to identify new opportunities and expect this to continue for some time.
When it comes to the creative industry, we’ve seen showcases of how AI (especially generative AI) makes art and other creative outputs more accessible to non-creatives. AI can also expedite the more mundane creative/artistic processes like retouching, colour correcting, etc., and enable a higher level of efficiency for creatives whose work have been traditionally extremely labour intensive.
Many industries have been disrupted by technology over the last three hundred years, from agriculture and textiles through to media and entertainment. The creative industry has already been fundamentally impacted by technology in the context of gaming, digital distribution and special effects.
While generative AI will surely create further disruption, it will not reduce our need for entertainment and art. It will simply increase what is possible and give us the opportunity to create more and better content.
5) Would Generative AI help us creatives, artists, photographers more in different ways that we can’t see it due to us creatives being in a blind spot? Or the onslaught of Generative AI is going to be detrimental for the creatives?
Generative AI and all its different models are still early in their development cycle. It would be difficult to ascertain at this point, the extent to which Generative AI will impact the creative industry, especially with image models being even younger than Large Language Models, which are only about 5 years old.
Presently, generative AI is already helpful in automating the creative process and production of the final artwork, and is quickly becoming a key part of the entire creative timeline. Some ways it can aid the creative process would be:
- Generate ideas, be it musical notes or different visuals
- Analyse suggestions and recommendations from feedback, allowing future work to be refined
- Creating new colours/textures – increasing the options for artists
While generative AI will reduce the need for some mundane tasks and the people that support them, it will equally empower creators to be more creative and productive.
6) Do you think AI would be better for creatives in the hardware side (e.g. AI powered camera) versus in the software e.g. photo editing software, illustration software and AI powered apps?
While the early impact is on software, with applications like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and Firefly, the impact on hardware is likely to become material over time.
Companies such as Tesla, DJI and Google are making steady and substantive progress on bringing AI to robotics in the context of self-driving cars, drones and robots. These capabilities will likely impact the creative industries too in the long run.
7) Which segments of the creative and arts industry would be most impacted by Generative AI? Artists? Photographers? Filmmakers?
AI is an awesome tool with the potential to make us superhuman. I believe that every part of the industry will be touched by the impacts of generative AI. It could supercharge the creative process, editing, rendering, graphic design, and more. However, AI development and applications of this technology is still in its infancy. It is still too premature to tell how and in what ways this technology will impact our society.
8) Is Generative AI is going to take away the livelihood of the arts and creative industries? What are your personal thoughts and views on this point?
There will always be a certain level of fear and uncertainty when new technology is being introduced. Technological innovations are tools that disrupt the status quo, and in turn provide for higher standards and quality of life. Similarly, I believe AI will disrupt the way creatives and artists currently create and spur on more creativity in the industry.
Innovation and technology are all about change – changing the way we work, the nature of work itself, and the way we live our lives. On this ever-evolving path of change, we need to focus on understanding the capability and changing the way we work to maximise its value.
9) What should/can creatives do to ensure that they survive and get through this generative AI technology disruption? Should we start to jump on the bandwagon and learn how to use Generative AI?
For sure! The technology is already helping many creatives do their work better from graphic designers and game artists to architects and stage designers. All the technologies are easily accessible and there are countless tutorials online. Moreover, using the technologies provides endless joy and entertainment.
Today is a great day to get started!
10) What do you envision the future for creatives in a new digital and social media world, powered by AI?
We sometimes forget how much progress we’ve made as a civilisation. Not so long ago, the creative industry was limited to chalk drawings on cave walls. We’ve come a long way since then and still have a long way to go. This Is a small but important step in our civilisation’s development.
Thank you Matt!
I would like to sincerely say a big thank you to Matt Johnson, MD, AI and Data, Temus, for taking your precious time to share your technology expertise, wisdom, insights, views and thoughts on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries.
I would also like to thank Progressive Communications for the communications, liaising, support and patience (with my writing/time constraints) for my series of AI technology related articles with Temus.
What’s coming up next?
I am continuing to work on both my TGH Research/Learning series, more in-depth coverage, learning, research and insights. There are more Q&A interviews being planned and lined up, do keep a lookout!
Rounding up some personal thoughts and views
Rounding up some personal thoughts and views inside me, I am excited yet cautious on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries. I am still exploring Generative AI and consolidating my personal thoughts and views.
I am mindful of AI, I am also embracing AI technology and how I can implement them to help me better in my photography and content creation.
Where will this AI journey brings me?