The revolution will be automated

As much as we all love to design and version banner ads and debug javascript, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be out of a job soon, If you don’t evolve.

Born in 1982, I’m one of the oldest millennials around, and part of the first generation in our workforce, which has had almost every bit of information readily available at its fingertips. Be it tutorials, online courses or stack overflow Q&As, I’ve been able to pick up pretty much everything I needed to know about digital design and development from the internet. Like so many others, though I hold a university degree in IT, most of the practical skills I assert in my everyday work life is something I’ve picked up elsewhere. I’m a self-taught digital generalist, so to speak.

By most accounts, I should be worried about my job situation.
Not Amazon-warehouse-worker-worried of course, but definitely a little worried about the pace with which many of my skills are now being done automatically by a cloud based AI-solution. Seamless background removal, image manipulation and colorization — even correct spelling, my most prized skill — are now done by simple app plugins in almost every application you can download on your phone.

But as the robots are plotting to take over the world, you should find comfort in the fact that you can still choose to let the robots work for you, not against you. Automation is a tool. Sure, the driver behind automation has historically been, and still is, profit. But somewhere along the way automation has also lightened the workload and freed up brain cells for creativity for the people who managed to assert it properly. Besides making things faster and less tedious, automation also wields the power to address problems and tasks that are just too complex for a thirty-something, father-of-two brain. Like around-the-clock live optimization of message relevance, for instance.

You are probably familiar with the Infinite Monkeys Theorem — the idea that an infinite amount of monkeys with an infinite amount of typewriters would eventually end up randomly writing the collected works of William Shakespeare. Well, with today’s AI technology and microchips being manufactured at near sub-atomic level, an infinite amount of typewriting primates don’t take up as much space as they used to.

Whiiich brings us to the shameless plug for the company I’m working for.

At Render, we do content automation. As soon as your creative process becomes repetitive and downright practical, we have a huge box of monkey Shakespeare aficionados standing idly by, to serve your content production needs. We basically take over when your campaign goes from “Dammit Sally, that’s an excellent idea!” to “Dammit Sally, how do we get the message across to seven segments in four countries by tomorrow?”. By optimizing your digital assets, be it image upscaling, background removal or color correction, we prepare your assets for what’s about to happen. Then Render turns your assets into all types of content, matching it to all types of contexts and situations, making vehicles for your message on all platforms. And by letting the monkeys hack away at your performance data, live while the campaign is running, only the strongest, most successful and relevant messages meet your customer, cutting your CPM significantly.

I know, it’s all getting a bit Darwinian here. But how about “the human touch?” you ask.

Does. Not. Compute. Honestly, how often have you taken the time to really appreciate the person behind the gazillion different banner formats for the “Smurfs 2”-movie? (If I hadn’t done those banners myself, I would have sworn that the entire campaign, movie even, was made by a robot). Humans should not be involved with tasks that make them want to run away and join a circus.

Automation should take over when human creativity is really not needed anymore, and we all have a pretty good indicator for when that happens — you get bored. It’s in the human condition to constantly try and make things easier and less tedious — and we use technology for that. You shouldn’t feel guilty about automating chores, you should hold your head up high and spend your newfound free time designing “rad” logos, getting a tattoo or naming your kid after something out of the Star Wars franchise. And listen, you don’t have to automate everything. Just the things that cost your business a lot of money, or drive your high paid creatives insane.

Although we’ll surely miss the time spent translating banner ads and remodeling them in 11 different formats, we should all try and make it a mere bittersweet, melancholic memory, and not something we’ll actually have to do for the rest of our lives. Tedious repetition brings out the worst in people and slowly drains the shallow fountain of creativity. It’s downright dangerous if you ask me.

** This article has been written almost entirely by a human being **