As a designer, it’s our job to make connections. Not just the personal kind, (while that’s important) but the ones were seemingly unrelated things can be woven together. It’s usually not obvious at first and sometimes not at all, but we need to make those connections in order to tell a story. For example, I started collecting vintage toys and keeping them on my desk. At first I thought it was because I liked the way it looked. Now I realize it’s because I like to pick them up and engage with them. Every time I pick up the viewfinder to look at some random family vacation photos, I smile. Forever stuck on a stranger’s desk frozen in time, these Wes Anderson style images sparked an idea for an upcoming project. That’s how OUR brains work. Random interactions and experiences can spark something inside us that can lead us down an unknown path that leads to creative problem solving. As a design leader, that’s a big part of the role. Solving problems. Which leads to why I was awake at 4 am. I’ve been thinking a lot about AI. I should clarify, not just thinking. I’ve been experimenting. Watching. Learning. And the results: cold, clinical, artificial for lack of a better word because it literally is. The work I’ve seen feels more like fantasy than reality. An airbrushed looking result of a world that has been face tuned. I worry that people will start to accept that as the new normal the same way we don’t always recognize a photo that has been filtered beyond recognition. So what is a creative to do? Experiment. Watch. Learn. And then pause before you put it out there. Consider instead other ways to create. Try to find ways to bring more authenticity to your work. Embrace originality, imperfections and those little details. Get off the computer. Make something with your hands. Explore. Wander. Wonder. These are the things that make us human and I’m not sure AI will ever really understand that.