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Why AI should be seen as a partner for human-centric progress

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Brand and design consultancies aren’t on the cusp of the generative AI revolution; they’re propelling it forward. But AI’s power lies not in helping us speed up, says Global CEO Thom Newton – it lies in helping us achieve more progressive outcomes through thoughtful application.

When it comes to efficiency and creativity, the draw of AI is undeniable: protracted tasks are streamlined, creative horizons expanded. But rapid uptake invites a critical reflection: to paraphrase the wisdom of Dr Ian Malcolm, immortalised by the great Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: we were so preoccupied with whether or not we could integrate generative AI, we didn’t stop to think if, when or how we should.

The need for thoughtfulness
The rush towards AI adoption overlooks a crucial element: the need for thoughtfulness. At Conran Design Group, we advocate for a pause, an intentional breath in the creative hustle, to allow us to align technological prowess with wisdom and emotional intelligence.

Integrating AI into creative processes transcends a technological upgrade; it represents a philosophical shift towards a symbiotic future where AI and human ingenuity exist harmoniously.

“AI challenges us to reconcile the efficiency of machines with the essence of human touch.”

Generative AI: capability vs wisdom
Generative AI is a formidable force, capable of coherent outputs at an unprecedented pace. Its superhuman knowledge is vast, but it operates within the realm of artificiality, devoid of human wisdom – devoid of the power of discernment as to what’s true or right.

As the industry hastens, we choose to interrogate – to deliberate intently, to progress with purpose, and to adopt with careful consideration.

Conran Design Group’s approach: thoughtful design for progress
Our journey with generative AI has been marked by measured steps and resisting the urge to expedite outcomes. Beyond the extensive AI work going on within Havas, we’ve been exploring how to weave the technology into our own practice – and with a deep-seated commitment to human-centric design. The aim has always been to extend our reach, enhance our consistency, and deepen our impact.

Navigating the dichotomies
The truth is that AI’s not simply a tool of change; it’s a mirror reflecting the dualities of our time. It poses profound questions that sit at the intersection of technology and humanity, shining a light on the tensions between new capabilities and the time-honoured values we hold dear.
It challenges us to reconcile the efficiency of machines with the essence of human touch, and it offers us the opportunity to redefine progress. These dichotomies are not conflicts to be resolved, but harmonies to be achieved.

“AI shouldn’t be seen as the soloist; it’s a harmonious partner to the human element.”

Our approach aims to find the equilibrium between the dichotomies that AI presents:

  • Execution vs ethics: Ensuring that our pursuit of excellence remains ethically grounded.
  • Development vs displacement: Balancing innovation with the preservation of human roles.
  • Analytics vs autonomy: Merging data-driven insights with the sanctity of individual choice.
  • Accessibility vs algorithms: Ensuring benefits to all of society while addressing the biases and prejudices inherent in AI’s mechanics.
  • Personalisation vs privacy: Crafting tailored experiences that respect personal boundaries.
  • Scalability vs sustainability: Not just making more because we can, but creating better.
  • Efficiency vs empathy: Infusing AI-driven efficiency with the warmth and emotion of human understanding.
  • Precision vs poetry: Softening the systematic data-dense patterns that AI charts with the expressive idiosyncrasies that shape human stories.

Our emphasis at Conran Design Group is not merely on harnessing technological advances but on harmonising these with human intelligence and empathy. We employ AI with a conscientious spirit, and we make sure our technological progress is in service of human enrichment.

Because in the symphony of progress, AI shouldn’t be seen as the soloist.

It’s a harmonious partner to the human element. And only as a contributing orchestral player can its true value and benefit be realised.

Thom Newton

Global CEO - LDN

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