This week our VFX artist, Callum Hull shared the hyper-realistic results of Midjourney V5 to the below prompt:
“Young adults drinking beer at a music festival::4 shot on a Panasonic GH5, 90mm lens, 1.4 f-stop::3 photorealistic::2 hyper reality::1 soft lighting, depth of field::2 —v 5 —s 50”
But what struck me about the results was just how white everyone in the images were.
I pointed out the Artificial Intelligence’s bias.
Our tech pros considered the bias was due to the developers, or the data sets. Definitely it’s both. This opened up a whole ethical discussion on who should be thinking diversity-first: us or the machine? The prompter or the prompted?
Now with a quick addition to the prompt, “diverse young adults” the results (in seconds) changed drastically. But the issue’s still there.
I don’t understand how AI makes the images it does, or where the visuals it robs draws from exist. But if we’re going to use AI in a stock-shot concepting phase, why shouldn’t diversity be the default? Why would “young people” mean “only white young people”?
Then again, it’s not just the AI that mightn’t be diversity-first. Diversity in advertising (or the tech industry) isn’t a new issue.
As far as seeing diversity in advertising content, we’ve come a long way. Compare the ads of 10 years ago to the ads of today and the progression is stark (though there’s still a way to go). But what if we turn the lens to look behind the camera? What diversity do we find there?
The Advertising Council of Australia’s Create Space Census of 2021 shed some light on how far behind we are. And while this industry is shifting beyond the classic white guyTM of the over-glorified Mad Men heydays, there’s still a long way to go.
Women in the workforce was once one of the first diversity ‘ticks’, and yet, this still isn’t being checked. This International Women’s Day, I was shocked to learn there are only two female Chief Creative Officers in the whole of Australia. Two!
Sure, the misogynistic, racist and homophobic barriers into our industry aren’t like they were 50 years back. But unconscious bias and invisible barriers from entering the industry and staying in it still exist.
Diversity and inclusion issues have been around for far longer than AI has been disrupting our industry, yet for us, fixing the problem won’t be as easy as quickly changing a prompt.
Integrated Creative // kwpx
* If you’re interested in reading more on how you can address diversity in your workplace, checkout the Create Space Hub and all its resources.