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DateJune 21st, 2023
ByGrant Toups
ServiceStrategic Communications
SectorTechnology
Reading time3mins

“Well, I guess I have to learn about this ridiculous AI stuff.”

As we fly through the mid-week mark at Cannes, one thing’s for sure… The world of creativity, whether in communications, public relations, advertising, or marketing, has been infiltrated entirely by technology.

Every session, whether expressly about AI and other tech or not, ends up knee-deep in discussions about ChatGPT, Nvidia, Bard, Firefly or one of the hundreds of other tech advancements coming to fruition every day.

Surrounded by the minds that have birthed the most creative work of the year has shined a spotlight on three things for me:

Tech isn’t going to deliver the next big idea, but it can enable humans to.

An award submission from Intel used imaging technology to track the “blood flow” across faces on video pixels and was able to detect deep fakes based on the unique ways blood moves about the body. With 96% accuracy. In milliseconds. The tech can help do the work. But people must first dream it up.

AI-enabled digital clones will open up untold opportunities for advancement in our field of work.

At a sparsely attended session just off the main row of conference events, a small group of onlookers watched a marvel of interwoven technologies essentially conduct a panel discussion with a digital clone of a popular influencer. The things we know today about what can be are only the tip of an unimaginably large iceberg of possibilities and risks to be understood and managed.

Professional development and diverse thought are the critical ingredients of the next frontier.

If the tech can make anything possible and the ideas are what wins out, the capacity to both learn faster than ever before and convene groups that can bring together diverse thought is going to be the difference between astronomical success and middling achievement. The importance of DEI in its broadest definition will only increase. And our ability to not just recruit and include diverse thinking but also help everyone learn, grow, and push boundaries will massively impact market differentiation.

When asked what advice she’d give to conference goers, Kara Swisher, of All Things Digital, ReCode, and Pivot fame, said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Learn AI. Use it. Seriously, use it and learn in. Learn it.” It’s nice to see the posture we’ve embraced at H+K so directly espoused by someone so notably at the forefront of such things. Walking out of the session, I overheard one attendee say to her colleague, “Well, I guess I have to learn about this ridiculous AI stuff.” And I couldn’t help but think, either that or step aside and let someone else take the reins.

At the end of the day, which at Cannes I’ve learned is often very early in the morning on the next day, I’m immensely proud to see the influences of technology not just driving conversations about efficiency or quality but also about excellence and creativity. For every communicator or PR pro with even a little bit of tech nerd buried deep inside, it’s our time to stand up and leave a mark on the profession we have so proudly enabled for so long.