Our Design Director Janey Garrido was talking recently about the dangers of AI (artificial intelligence) when it comes to doing research in this strange time of quarantine and restricted travel. It’s easy to begin to think we can rely solely on digital media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram or Google when it comes to researching the world around us. It feels like we can explore the known universe from the ease and comfort of our armchairs, can’t we? Do we really need to experience it for ourselves?
The wonderful thing about artificial intelligence and how it drives search results, is that it can be very effective at anticipating what we are looking for, and delivering results in real time. Which is great if you know what you’re looking for, but lousy if you’re interested in discovering things you didn’t even know existed.
The rabbit hole of search results can lead you into a world of visual homogeny where you begin to assume that everything looks like a variation on the thing you were searching for. Real life isn’t like that. We are not fed a constant stream of stimulus based on what a computer thinks we want to see or hear or feel. We are, more often than not, surprised by life.
In a world that is constantly changing, sometimes at breakneck speed, it can be comforting to imagine a world with no surprises, where predictability has a sort of peaceful charm. But the reality is, we crave the stimulation that variety provides and seek it out continually whether we realize it or not.
At DAS, being the creative optimists that we are, we see our job as one of going out into the world and bringing back stories, lessons and treasures from far away lands. We are explorers, and risk-takers, who live on the edge in order to discover new ideas and explore new concepts. We do that to learn and to be inspired.
One day computers will do a great many things we don’t think possible today, but they will always be limited by their understanding of what is possible. Whereas we will always have the freedom to be surprised, and delighted by it, which is what makes us authentically human. Authenticity is not about perfection, after all, but about finding beauty in chaos, and there is no program for discovering that.
Sometimes, there is simply no substitute for going where you’ve never been before, and seeing what happens.