It’s fair to say that, in 2023, technology seemed to leap ahead farther than anyone had anticipated. And with that leap came a lot of trepidation and uncertainty. But some people — including me — see potential in this technology to help humanity grow and thrive.
These four campaigns collectively represent what excites me about the role of technology in creative, in 2024 and beyond. They not only challenge the status quo, but also pave the way for innovative applications of technology without ceding the creative thinking to machines. The real value of technology, whether hi-tech or low-tech, lies in its imaginative application. In the right hands, it can create ideas that change our lives for the better.
ADLaM: An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture
Microsoft and McCann New York
There have been over 7,000 languages in human history. But almost 600 of them are extinct — and at current rates, we will lose 90% of the world’s languages in the next century. How much human legacy will we lose along with the languages? ADLaM leverages technology to preserve the nomadic Fulani people’s cultural alphabet. The campaign not only saves the language from potential extinction, but also upholds the cultural identity and heritage it represents. This endeavor beautifully illustrates technology’s role in safeguarding our planet’s diverse history for future generations.
Get Ready: Apple Vision Pro
When brands use pop-culture references, such as old Top-40 hits, they’re often trying to find an easy and unearned way to tap into nostalgia. But in a recent ad for Apple Vision Pro, the company showcases classic movie moments to demonstrate how we’ve imagined futuristic displays and VR in the past. Sci-fi fans have long wanted to see technology from films and TV in real life, and Apple uses that hook to let us know that we’ve finally arrived. Real-life technology outpacing the fictional technology that imagined it is truly a wondrous thing to behold. And once again, Apple doesn’t care that it isn’t the first company to enter a category; it cares more about finding the exact place in our hearts where the new technology resonates.
In the current AI era, people are concerned about issues relating to copyright and plagiarism, with many worrying that the use of AI to create campaign assets could ultimately result in job cuts. However, Refik Anadol’s AI art portfolio from 2023 makes it clear that AI is just a tool — and that, in the hands of a master, can push the limits of creativity. His use of AI algorithms to analyze complex datasets and then create dynamic and visually striking installations redefines the role of AI in making art. It demonstrates again that technology can give rise to new methods for creative expression. I’m excited to see which organizations and brands partner with Anadol in the future.
Google and Toaster
I’ve been amazed by Google’s Project Relate ever since the prototype emerged in late 2021. It aids people with speech impairments by creating personalized speech models, using machine learning to adapt to speech patterns and create a clearer audio translation of what a person is trying to say. With the rapid evolution of AI, the system has gotten better and better as time has passed. The version now available in the Google Play store is continuing to enhance human interaction and communication, making for a more inclusive world and in all languages.