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news • 13 October 2023

What's Worse Than a Robot Taking Your Job? If You Take Theirs

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Written by Saint John Walker

Director of Industry Engagement

Here at Escape Studios we have a history of addressing new technologies head on as they emerge. That’s because it’s what our industries do too. In fact, you could say we were set up in 2002 to address the march of technology. In that time, we’ve seen the growth of sophisticated 3D and compositing software, the rise and fall of stereoscopic 3D, 2k, 4k, 8k, virtual production, and now AI. 

Unlike the other technologies mentioned, AI has entered the national consciousness, and there’s a fair amount of public nervousness. We’re used to Hollywood imagery of robots taking over, and it’s never good. American author and visionary thinker Stewart Brand sums this up in the quote: “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.” 

At Escape Studios we know it's important to engage with AI and find new ways that it can assist with what we love to do. AI can extend our creative superpowers, just like previous technologies we’ve engaged with have. Leading AI researcher and education specialist Donald Clark says, “It's getting to the point where it is unprofessional NOT to use it. We can't complain about workload if we reject solutions… AI holds unbelievable benefits for humanity”. 

Pro-active engagement is our message, and Escape Studios have internally released “Student Guidance: Using AI” so everyone can ethically consider the use of AI in their work and is aware of how to reference AI work. As Dean of Animation Alex Williams says “AI will change our industry permanently.  The question we must ask ourselves at Escape Studios is - how do we respond to the challenges and opportunities it will bring?” 

For example, second year animation students used AI to help generate, organise and iterate early ideas, saving time and energy in the writing, design and styling of an animated film. AI is a useful assistant under your control, as you still make the decisions. Here at Escape Studios, we are aware how fast things are moving but like our industry partners we will adapt in response to new developments.  

What’s worse than robots taking your jobs? If you take theirs. It’s up to ‘Team Human’ to get the most out of these new tools, not to be subservient to them. In the next blog I’ll talk through our AI policy Student Guidance and why we wrote it. I’ll also share more examples of how AI can expand students’ creativity. 

As theoretician and artist Pinar Seyhan Demirdag states “A.I. is a tool in the service of humanity, and we shall never confuse it with creativity, which is proprietary to human intelligence.”