The answer lies in evolution, said Graham Fink, CCO of Ogilvy & Mather China and the 4th adobo Festival of Ideas keynote speaker.
In line with this year’s theme, “Creativity at the Heart of Digital: Data, Tech, and AI”, Fink identified a fundamental human concept in the midst of a highly digital world: evolution. “When I was 12, I was fascinated by Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Actually, Darwin never said that man evolved from monkeys. He simply said that we were related, and promoted the idea of natural selection. The survival of the fittest,” Fink said.
He went on to ponder his and humankind’s very existence when he was in his teens. At that time, he was very much into astronomy, going so far as to build his own telescope. “Have you ever been out at night, away from the city, studying the stars? It fascinated me. The nearest galaxy next to ours is the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.2 million light years away. The light leaving this galaxy took 2.2 million years to get here. So while I could see this, it might not actually be there,” he mused.
This led him to ask humankind’s purpose in the world. Creativity and ideas are unique to humans. It is also because of creativity that humans were able to invent tools and technology.
And yet, the invention of machines and the rise of advanced technologies have made people lazy. Quoting Sir David Attenborough who is known for producing enlightening natural history documentaries, Fink said, “humans have stopped evolving because we’ve put a halt to natural selection of their own free will”.
Today, machines and robots have become smarter. The latest AI models have shown proficiency in writing texts, commercials, ads, as well as designing websites and other visual materials. Because machines have caught up with humans, Fink stressed the need for humans to evolve. “We really need to start evolving again. Evolution is actually about adapting to your surroundings. What’s happened now, we are adapting our environment to fit us,” he said.
However, Fink saw AI and technology as valuable tools that can help push human creativity forward. “There’s never been such an exciting time to be in creativity, because all this amazing technology helping to push our ideas forward, to make them evolve,” he enthused.
Fink called this use of AI with creativity, “AiVOLUTION”. “This is where we can kickstart the evolution process again. Connecting with AI – both emotionally and literally. Rather than running away from the inevitable or burying our heads in the sand, we should be embracing it,” he advised.
Finally, Fink answered the question of whether an analogue chicken (or human) can lay a digital egg. And the answer is YES. “We have to,” Fink said. “If we don’t, we’re gonna die. I do want my ideas to live forever, and I do want to keep pushing myself and evolve myself to make the world a better place come up with amazing ideas, live on, make the world a better place. That is proper evolution."