We Asked 113 Creatives Their Opinion on the Impact of AI in the Creative Industry: Here Are the Results
Artificial intelligence is no longer a new concept, but its level of sophistication, power and applications have grown immensely in the last year thanks to wider access to new tools.
The creative industry has seen one of the biggest increases in new AI tools and perceptions of the technology vary from threatening to welcoming. From the global phenomenon of ChatGPT to the extraordinary visuals of Midjourney, AI tools are becoming more widely used. Creatives are discovering new ways of utilising or manipulating these AI tools to enhance workflow, simplify tasks or spark creativity.
At Engine Creative we love to be ahead of the curve and strive to learn what others think about emerging technologies. We work with a lot of forward-thinking clients who recognise the potential of AI and how it can help to grow their business, so we made it our mission to find out what creatives thought about AI and how they think it will impact our industry. This research report covers the following:
- The respondents
- What artificial intelligence tools do creatives use?
- Does age impact opinion on AI?
- Does experience impact opinions on AI?
- Is AI an opportunity or a threat?
- What do creatives think about the future of artificial intelligence?
- Do unique roles see AI differently?
- Key takeaways
Please click here if you’d rather download the PDF version of this research.
Our survey was open throughout February 2023. During this time 113 industry creatives and professionals contributed. We had a good range of industries respond with advertising and marketing (30.1%), IT, software, computer services or video games (20.1%) and digital media, websites and social media (19.5.%) being the largest cohorts.
Within these industries, we saw a range of roles with marketers, designers, animators and video producers being some of the most popular. We had a good balance of experience with most having 11-20 years, closely followed by 21+ years and 3-6 years. While 7-10 years and 0-2 years defined the other levels of experience.
There was a good distribution between ages amongst the respondents, with the least amount being aged between 51-60 years old (11.5%), followed by 41-50 (23.9%), 31-40 (31.9%), and 18-30 (32.7%), with no respondents being over the age of 60. Respondents were mainly from the United Kingdom (82.3%), and 17.7% were from outside of the UK.
What artificial intelligence tools do creatives use?
37.2% of respondents stated that they have never used AI. The smallest percentage of respondents stated that they use AI all the time (11.5%), followed by 20.4% rarely using it and 31% saying that they use AI tools often. Respondents who had never used AI stated that they either had not been presented with the opportunity, had not yet adapted or decided to neglect the technology.
“I don’t use AI tools. I have full confidence in my abilities and I don’t feel AI at this present time can match my quality of output.”
ChatGPT was the most popular AI tool with 40.7% of creatives stating that they use this tool. Other popular tools included DALL·E 2 (19.5%), Copy.ai (8%) and Midjourney (22.1%). Other tools were also used, but only with a small percentage.
The consensus amongst respondents that use ChatGPT all seem to refer to its usefulness, accuracy and simplicity of use for their reasoning for why it is their favourite.
Of the respondents who stated that they do not use any AI tools, the majority (55%) agreed that they were unsure whether AI would force humans to become more creative.
Reasons for not using AI are split between not having the time or opportunity to begin, those who do not believe it is suited to their role, and those are afraid of the technology.
Does age impact opinion?
Typically, when new technology emerges, it is believed that the younger generations will be the early adopters. But in the case of AI, the older generations are. Almost half of all 41-60-year-olds are using AI in their role often or all of the time. Interestingly, despite also believing that AI will support them in their roles, 51-60-year-olds see AI as the most threatening to their job security, with 41-50-year-olds seeing it as least threatening.
“It’s (AI) inevitable and everyone should start thinking about how to use it.”
Barely any respondents thought that AI content is better than human content currently, but 44.4% of 51-60-year-olds thought that it would be in the future.
18-30-year-olds used AI the least in their roles, yet are the most likely to believe that AI will have a positive impact on the creative industry.
Overall, the data suggest that 31-40-year-olds are adapting to, and welcoming AI technology the most. They are seeing its potential and find the most value in the technology, with 86.6% of them agreeing that AI could support them in their roles.
Does experience impact opinion?
Those with over 21+ years of experience not only use AI the most frequently but are also the most welcoming to AI. Despite this, they also feel threatened by it the most.
“There will be pros and cons for individuals, agencies and brands, but the creative industries need to embrace AI. Change happens, whether you want it to or not, and generally it’s positive overall. I’m now wishing I’d used ChatGPT to write this answer – it probably would have been just as good!”
The group who felt least threatened by AI was those with 0-2 years of experience, but this group also thought that AI would support them the least and many of them believed that human content would always be better than AI content.
The 21+ group were the only respondents to state that AI content in its current form is better than human content, but this was still only a small portion of this group (8%).
A total of 43.12% of respondents stated that it was sometimes better, and 55.44% stated that it was not better.
Overall, the data highlights that those with more experience are the ones who have the most confidence in AI improving and having a positive impact on the creative industry.
Do creatives see AI as an opportunity or a threat?
The majority of creatives (75.3%) disagreed with the following statement: “AI threatens my job security”.
“AI is the future and it’s getting better all the time. As with any change, we have to adapt to work with it rather than fear it.”
Most creatives see AI as an opportunity, whilst only a quarter see AI as a threat to their job role. Both sides present a valid argument, but it also shows the split in opinion between those embracing the technology and those fearing it.
- 74.3% of creatives agree that AI is going to impact their job roles in some way in the next decade
- 76.3% of respondents that use AI, believe it will support them in the future
- Only 6.2% of respondents strongly agreed that AI threatens their job security
Of the 24.7% that do feel threatened by AI, many of them report bad experiences with AI or have mentioned that they do not believe that the technology is quite up to standard. One respondent said this:
“I don’t use AI as I believe it is using, stealing and taking away jobs from real people in creative roles.”
A majority of creatives are willing to utilise AI within their job role. 28.4% of respondents said that they do not believe that AI will support them in their role, whereas 71.6% said that AI would support them.
Of the respondents that believe AI will support them, 76.3% of them are actively using AI or have used it, whereas only 24.7% do not use any AI tools.
It is difficult to see a future without AI and even the majority of those who do not currently use the technology are aware of its presence within the industry, recognising it will likely become a part of their role.
What do creatives think about the future of AI?
The majority of creatives agree (74.3%) that AI will have an impact on their job role in the next decade and only 3.5% said no.
Interestingly, of the 3.5% creatives who stated no to the question above, all had job roles where AI is already showing usefulness (coding, copywriting and image creation). All of them also stated that they had never used AI and disagreed that AI threatens their job security.
It is clear that creatives have very mixed emotions regarding utilising AI within their job role today and in the future.
We asked respondents “Do you think that AI-produced content will be better than human-produced content in the future?”
Notably, many respondents who were unsure about the quality of AI-produced content stated that the main reason was due to the unregulated growth of AI and that they have seen both amazing and poor examples of AI content.
Of the creatives that thought human content will always be better than AI content, 48.1% of them agreed that those who do not incorporate AI into their role will fall to competition and miss opportunities, recognising that AI will likely be a technology they use in their industry.
Many creatives recognised the need to embrace AI in the future, and 64.6% of them said that they think AI training will be necessary for both current and future employees
Of the creatives who believe that AI training will be necessary in the future, 72% of them also agree that creatives who do not embrace AI will fall behind competition.
Overall, the majority of creatives agree that AI will impact the future of their industry, and many are willing to embrace the technology within the role. Those who are not willing to embrace AI, either have never or rarely used AI, or think that human-produced content will always be better.
Do unique roles see artificial intelligence differently?
From UI/UX designers to copywriters, the creative industry is filled with different roles, and each will use unique tools and processes, forming different opinions. We have broken all of our respondents down into 5 separate role categories to explore the most interesting insights from each. The categories are:
- Developers (12.4%)
- Designers (28.3%)
- AR, VR & 3D (11.5%)
- Marketers (29.2%)
- Animation & Video (18.6%)
Animation & Video
42.9% of animators and video producers use AI on a regular basis. Of those who have used AI, ChatGPT, DALL·E 2 and Midjourney were the most popular tools. Those who do not use AI state that they feel AI does not have the capabilities to enhance their work.
70.5% of animators and video producers agreed that AI does not threaten their job security, and 75.2% agreed that AI will support them in their role.
Only 32.9% of respondents thought that AI would force humans to become more creative and of this subgroup, 83.3% of them use AI regularly. This suggests that those who use AI more often believe AI will push humans to adapt.
There is a split in opinion amongst this group of individuals, with some seeing the capabilities and potential of AI.
“AI does come up with some great and unexpected results and I’m sure it can look analogue. I see AI as being a tool, hopefully, which we can utilise to create better work.”
And those who seem to resent the technology
“AI Artwork is generated from stealing billions of imagery from real people, you cannot class it as artwork as it is an amalgamation of actual artist’s work.”
Since the technology has only been in mainstream use for about a year, there is definitely some uncertainties within the industries about how artificial can/should be safely used.
AR, VR & 3D
58.3% use AI regularly or all of the time, and 83.3% agree that AI would impact their job roles within the next decade.
This was the group that feared AI the least, with only 8.33% of them strongly agreeing that AI threatens their job security. Those in AR, VR and 3D are also the most likely to already be using AI regularly.
This group were incredibly open-minded when it came to embracing AI, with 91.7% of them agreeing that AI is likely to support them in their roles. But despite their openness to AI, more than 75% of respondents agreed that AI content would not be better than human-produced content in the future.
However, one creative who thought the opposite thinks the need for human input could diminish very soon.
“With how powerful it already is, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next 3-5 years it can produce content that doesn’t even need editing.”
Interestingly, 59.6% of designers agree AI will support them in the future, but 75% stated that they either never or rarely use AI, suggesting that despite the majority of them not seeing it as a valuable tool today, most agree that it will be in the future.
Even with relatively low usage, it is clear that designers can see the true potential of AI, with many stating that AI and human work are too different to compare, and creatives should stop comparing them as they both provide a different value. One designer said this:
“In my opinion AI is something really amazing but I believe we are making mistakes by comparing AI abilities with human’s. For me AI is more like a supporter, to take things to another level. It shouldn’t be considered as a human brain, they’re totally different things.”
18% of designers believe that AI is going to have a negative impact on the creative industry, with most of them stating that AI will eventually be used to reduce costs and headcounts within businesses.
“The tech is cool but unethically trained. I am hoping regulations will come soon and limit its overtaking power so it stays a tool and doesn’t make creative jobs disappear as they currently are.”
No developers stated that they used AI all of the time, suggesting that there is perhaps a lack of trust between developers and AI tools available.
Despite no developers using AI frequently, 71.4% of them agreed that AI will have an impact on their role in the next decade and 78.54% agree that AI does not threaten their job security.
Similar to designers, those developers who are willing to embrace AI see the technology as a supportive tool that can help to increase efficiency within their roles rather than replace them.
Only 42.84% of developers said that AI is going to have a positive impact on the creative industry. But it is important to note that despite this, many developers explained that they believe AI is unstoppable and that whether people like it or not, they will be forced to embrace it.
“Unsure yet how it will impact, I hope it will be more positive than negative, I think it will have an effect on the creative industry a lot quicker than people would expect and do agree it needs to be embraced and learned by creative professionals.”
84.48% of marketers agree that AI will impact their role, suggesting that this role is the most exposed to AI, or that the tools for this role are the most sophisticated and offer the most benefits.
75.5% of marketers agree that AI does not threaten their job security, and of this group, 56% stated that those who do not use AI will miss out on opportunities. Some marketers worry that AI will be generating content from existing AI content, not so much learning, but regurgitating itself.
No marketers thought that current AI content is better than human-produced content, and 51.2% believe AI content will never be better than human content. here is what one marketer said:
“The question for me is, when does AI start consuming content and will it then begin to create AI generated content being consumed by AI?”
Although the other segmented roles seem to see that AI has genuine potential, some marketers see beyond this, and believe that AI will be able to produce content similar to that of humans.
After thoroughly analyzing the data, we have distilled our findings into five key takeaways. These takeaways provide valuable insights into the topic at hand and shed light on potential areas for future research. In the following section, we will discuss each of these key takeaways in detail.
1. Cautiously optimistic
The creative industry is both pragmatic and relatively positive about the impact of AI in the industry, with little fear for their own role.
Although a small minority do fear the implications of AI, the majority of the creative industry are open to welcoming AI, albeit with certain caveats.
This cautious optimism is both understandable and expected and stems from the fact that although the industry is starting to adopt AI, and its presence is well-known, the majority are unaware of its future path.
Although no one knows the exact journey AI will take, those that use AI almost daily have a much more positive and confident outlook on the technology and see AI as something that everyone needs to adapt to.
Those that use AI less often or infrequently are very aware of the technology, yet are faced with far more uncertainty about the future implications of AI. This suggests that experience with AI can heavily shift opinion, and those with more experience are more optimistic.
2. AI as a tool
AI is already a useful tool for improving workflows and processes that will enable more creative work to be produced, but not all creatives are aware of its capabilities in this area.
The research highlighted that the majority of the creative industry has used AI within their role, yet many feel as if it cannot produce to the desired standard.
This implies that those who feel that AI is not yet ‘good enough’ are using it as an end product tool rather than a supportive one to initiate ideas or spark creativity.
On the other hand, for those creatives who use AI to enhance, rather than to replace or create their work, AI technology is seen as a much more valuable tool. This split in opinion was expected considering the relatively early days of AI within the industry.
The creative industry is currently being hit with a tsunami of AI tools, and most of them are not completely straightforward to use, but as time progresses, we predict that more creatives will see AI as a supportive tool rather than a replacement for human creativity.
3. Embrace the unknown
Although the majority of creatives do not explicitly fear AI, many are unsure of its implications or exact path.
The research highlighted that creatives are incredibly aware that AI is going to impact their job role in the future and they are also aware that we will need to adapt to the AI era, yet many are still unsure whether its impact will be positive or negative.
Despite this feeling of trepidation, the creative industry is still incredibly willing to embrace the technology, something which it has always done and something which you would hope and expect from an industry that is built on curiosity and innovation.
There are still those that fear AI and will refuse to accept it into their workflow, but it is hard to see a future where this will allow them to survive in the creative industry.
Even those that are unsure of AI, still provided insights into how they believe AI could impact their role and provide new opportunities, with a widespread acknowledgement that change is probably coming sooner than they think.
4. Be more human
Human creativity will still be fundamental to producing great creative outputs in the era of AI. Although AI could replace some jobs in theory, it is incredibly likely that roles may just change and some new roles will be created.
For those that use AI, it is used as a supportive tool to help nurture ideas and spark creative influence, with AI content rarely being used as an end product. Most recognise that this could change in the future, but still believe that humans will still play a vital role and provide a level of authenticity and touch that AI technology could simply not match.
Advocates for AI consistently stated that AI is a tool to be embraced, not feared, but those who ignore, are likely to fall behind.
We asked respondents to compare AI and human content in two of our questions. The majority had the same responses and felt that AI content is not better than human content now, but may be in the future.
Despite this, it was overwhelming how many stated that human input, human guidance, and human thinking will remain central to truly original creative output.
5, Imitation or innovation
The ethics around intellectual property (IP) will become a battleground for those in the creative industry. Creatives are already finding it difficult to work out what content can or cannot be used when it has been produced by AI. One of the main concerns is that AI-generated content could infringe upon the IP rights of human creators.
To address these concerns, it is important for creators to consider the ethical implications of using AI in creative fields. This includes ensuring that AI-generated content is sufficiently original and distinct from existing works, and that the IP rights of human creators are protected.
There is also a concept that AI simply steals human ideas, content, and creativity and respondents highlighted that there is also the fear that AI will simply regurgitate other AI content (sourced from human-created data), meaning that it will lead to a world awash with poor quality AI-generated content.
Despite these concerns, the general consensus is that AI as a creative tool will evolve to address these issues, with more diverse and higher quality training data to draw upon, greater emphasis on human guidance and more nuanced prompt tools, and sophisticated AI models that detect plagiarism and provide better outputs.
Thanks for reading
Thanks for taking the time to read our research, we hope you found it interesting. If you’d like to download the white paper version of this research then please visit us here to download it.
If you’d like to get in touch with us about working together then don’t hesitate, to come and talk to us!