A Better AI

Analog Instruments - Pencil & Paper


All I see everywhere is ‘AI.’ It seems that most creatives I know talk about Artificial intelligence in one form or another and its pending influence on creativity.

On one hand, it’s practically impossible to ignore, and whether we like it or not, it’s here to stay. As a designer who spends far more time on a computer than most, I can tell you that AI has been integrated into most of my software applications with its latest updates in just the last couple of months.

My primary WordPress web design plugin, Elementor Pro, now includes AI to assist with copy and image editing. I also run Grammarly as a proofreader, punctuation, and spellchecker, which is AI-driven.

For creative design, many of Adobe’s online tools now possess AI capabilities on some level. I’m especially enjoying learning PhotoShop’s new features, and I just recently saw that Illustrator now includes some AI features all running together as Express Beta.

With a click-click here and a click-click there, it’s easy to create something from nothing or, at the very least, get a little help from your AI friends.

Why Number #2 is #1 For Me


The pencil remains humanity's most accurate representation of the mind.

I like to think of the pencil as an Analog Instrument, the most basic and powerful of all creative tools — no batteries or satellites required — just a direct uplink from your mind to hand to paper. I like to think of my interpretation of AI as a better AI.

No batteries or technology is needed, just a pencil (or pen) and paper. Analog instruments can be most anything you want; pens, pen, paintbrushes, crayons – it makes no difference, so long as there are no batteries required.

While the all-new super-sizzling AI appears to be what all the cool are doing de jour, my concern, on the one hand, is that it can be all too easy to create something without a vision or sense of direction. More isn’t necessarily better.

Something magic happens when you connect the mind, hand, and surface to create something fresh that Artificial Intelligence lacks — that human connection. The nice thing is you can draw or sketch anywhere, anytime, and your drawings and ideas are yours, not shared in some public cloud for the world to see. For me, that makes it a better AI.

• • • • •

BTY, for better or worse, this whole “Analog Instrument™” idea came straight from my head. No artificial intelligence assistance was required, thank you. All I needed to get started was a ballpoint pen and a sheet of paper.

In full disclosure, I did use my Grammarly editing plugin, and the stunning quill and parchment illustration to the left is an Adobe-licensed image created with AI.

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