Recently I endured a forced watch of a 12-minute online video on the future of marketing in the machine-learning era.
To misquote American communist John Reed, "I have seen the future and it sucks."
You know phone trees?
Now imagine applying the same originality of thought and the same creativity that's behind phone tree scripts to marketing.
Imagine a world infected and infested with cliches. Cliche words. Cliche emotions. Cliche images.
This is world the world of machine-learning creativity will look like.
Almost 25 years ago conceptual artists Komar and Melamid, polled people in 11 countries to find out what they wanted in a work of art.
Essentially the same thing machine learning does when it works on a "creative" project.
Here is the data Komar and Melamid got from their polling in the US and here is America's "Most Wanted Painting."
Now we can do such research instantaneously and return results in a nano-second and turn those results into "advertising." And people will say it's wise and good and useful. Because, after all, it is based on Big Data.
List of USA Survey Results
What is your favorite color?Blue: 44%
How important is the appearance or design of the following products in your decision to purchase the product?
new car: very-59%, somewhat-28%, not very-8%, not at all-5%
underwear: very-19%, somewhat-28%, not very-32%, not at all-21%
tv set: very-33%, somewhat-40%, not very-19%, not at all-8%
winter coat: very-51%, somewhat-38%, not very-6%, not at all-4%
What is your 2nd favorite color?
"When you select pictures, photographs, or other pieces of art for your home, do you find you lean more toward modern or more toward traditional styles?"
"If you had to choose from the following list, which type of art would you say you prefer?"
Which of the following statements applies to you more?
"When choosing pictures, photographs, or other art for my home, I usually try to select pieces that fit into the general decor of my home": 34%
"When choosing pictures, photographs, or other art for my home, I focus on whether or not I like the piece:" 60%
Would you say you prefer older objects or newer objects to collect or decorate you home?
older objects: 49%
newer objects: 31%
"Would you say that you prefer seeing paintings of wild animals, like lions, giraffes, or deer, or that you prefer seeing paintings of domestic animals, like dogs, cats or other pets?"
wild animals: 51%
domestic animals: 27%
"In general, would you rather see paintings of outdoor scenes or would you rather see paintings of indoor scenes?"
Which of the following outdoor scenes appeals to you the most?
"lakes, rivers, & oceans": 49%
fields & rural scenes: 18%
houses & buildings: 5%
Which season would you most like to see depicted in a painting?
Which of the following types of indoor scenes appeals to you most?
still life paintings of/domestic scenes with:
household objects: 6%
Do you tend to prefer paintings that are related to religion or those that are not related to religion?
Which of the following statements is closest to your view?
"Paintings should ideally serve some higher goal, such as challenging their viewers to think about art or life in a different way than they normally do.": 19%
"Paintings don't necessarily have to teach us any lessons, but can just be something a person likes to look at.": 75%
Which of the following statements is closest to your view?
"I prefer paintings that are realistic-looking: the more they resemble a photograph, the better": 60%
"I prefer paintings that are different-looking if they're very realistic, I might as well be looking at a photography": 30%
"Do you prefer paintings that exaggerate the dimensions or reality of objects we already know, or ones that feature imaginary objects which have no connection to everyday life?"
"Do you prefer seeing bold, stark designs or more playful, whimsical designs?"
"bold, stark": 39%
"playful, whimsical": 49%
Do you tend to favor paintings with sharp angles or ones with soft curves?
sharp angles: 22%
soft curves: 66%
"Which patterns do you like better: geometric patterns or more random uneven patterns?"
more random: 62%
"Do you like to see expressive brush-strokes on the canvas, or do you prefer that the surface of the canvas be smooth, more like a photograph?"
prefer seeing brush-strokes: 53%
prefer that canvas looks smooth: 35%
Do you like to see colors blend into each other or do you like it when different colors are kept apart?
"Every color has a wide range of shades. Take the color blue, for example. An artist can use a bright, vibrant shade of blue, like a royal blue, a pale, muted shade of blue, like light blue, or a darker tone of blue, like dark or midnight blue. In general, which would you say that you prefer? when the artist uses more vibrant shades, paler shades, or darker shades of color?"
vibrant shades: 36%
paler shades: 32%
darker shades: 22%
"In general, do you enjoy paintings that have a more serious or a more festive mood?"
"And how about the painting itself - do you like it to be busy and contain lots of people or objects, or do you like it to be as simple as possible?"
How about the size of paintings: do you prefer larger paintings or smaller paintings?
dishwasher size: 67%
full-size refridgerator: 17%
full wall: 11%
"19"" television": 69%
a magazine: 24%
paperback book: 40%
"Some paintings are of famous historical figures and others are of more ordinary people. Do you generally prefer paintings of famous people, or ones of more ordinary paintings."
famous people: 1%
ordinary people: 4%
makes no difference: 50%
"If you prefer famous people, do you prefer figures from a long time ago, like Lincoln or Jesus, or more recent figures, like John F. Kennedy or Elvis Presley?"
historical figures: 56%
more recent figures: 14%
"Do you prefer paintings which are predominantly of children, of women, or of men, or doesn't it matter?"
Doesn't matter: 77%
"Thinking back to the paintings of people that you have like in the past, for the most part were the figure working, at leisure, or were they posed portraits?"
at leisure: 43%
"Which do you think you like better, a painting of one person or of a group of people?"
one person: 34%
"And from what you've seen, would you say that you prefer paintings in which the person or people are nude, partially clothed or fully clothed?"
partially clothed: 13%
fully clothed: 68%
If you were given the choice of a gift - a sum of money or a piece of art that you genuinely like and which was of equal value to the money, which would you choose?
Which one of the following would be most important to you in deciding how much money you would spend on a painting?
the size of the piece: 3%
the fame of the artist: 7%
the medium, such as oil or watercolor: 5%
the degree to which you like the painting: 62%
whether you think it will increase in value: 16%
What is the most amount of money you would consider spending on a piece of art you really like?
over $3000: 5%
"For each of the following names, indicate if your impressions of that artist's work are very favorable, favorable, or very unfavorable. Some of these artists are not very well known, so if you have never heard of someone, or don't know enough about their work to have an opinion, just say so."
Pablo Picasso: vry fav-20%, fav-45%, unfav-14%, vry unfav-5%, never hrd-5%, don't know-11%
Norman Rockwell: vry fav-43%, fav-38%, unfav-5%, vry unfav-2%, never hrd-6%, don't know-6%
Jackson Pollack: vry fav-4%, fav-11%, unfav-6%, vry unfav-1%, never hrd-49%, don't know-28%
Salvador Dalivry: vry fav-9%, fav-23%, unfav-12%, vry unfav-5%, never hrd-31%, don't know-20%
Leroy Neimanvry: vry fav-5%, fav-20%, unfav-7%, vry unfav-3%, never hrd-40%, don't know-26%
Claude Monet: vry fav-24%, fav-33%, unfav-4%, vry unfav-1%, never hrd-21%, don't know-16%
Rembrandt: vry fav-32%, fav-46%, unfav-5%, vry unfav-1%, never hrd-6%, don't know-8%
Andy Warhol: vry fav-9%, fav-24%, unfav-21%, vry unfav-12%, never hrd-18%, don't know-16%
Georgia O'Keefe: vry fav-11%, fav-19%, unfav-3%, vry unfav-2%, never hrd-39%, don't know-26%
"If you could pick one type of person you'd most enjoy having dinner with, would you choose an artist, a television or movie actor, an author, or a sports star?"
sports star: 24%
"How often, on average, would you say that you go to art museums - more than two times a year, one or two times a year, less than once a year, or not at all?"
>2 times: 19%
1 or 2 times: 30%
<1 24="" br="" time:="">not at all: 24%1>
The following are some reasons people have given in the past as to why they do not go to art museums more often. For each reason, please tell whether it is a major reason why you do not go to musuems more often, a minor reason, or not a reason at all:
1. there is not an art museum in my area: major-34%, minor-15%, not-49%
2. I do not have enough spare time: major-44%, minor-19%, not-36%
3. I don't feel comfortable in art museums because I don't know alot about art: major-24%, minor-21%, not-54%
4. the cost of admission is too expensive: major-11%, minor-22%, not-62%
5. I simply don't enjoy looking at art: major-12%, minor-21%, not-65%
Would you favor or oppose spending more money in federal taxes than we do on the arts?
not sure: 13%
Some works of art are displayed in public places. Do you think that average citizens should or should not have a say in determining which works of art are appropriate to be displayed in public?
should not: 27%
In which of these categories does you age fall?
under 25: 14%
65 and over: 13%
What was the last grade of school you completed?
grade school or less: 3%
some high school: 8%
high school: 31%
some college/2-yr degree: 24%
4-year college grad: 19%
post-graduate work: 10%
"When it comes to most political issues, do you think of yourself as a liberal, a conservative, or a moderate? If moderate, do you think of yourself as being closer to being liberal or being conservative?"
not sure: 5%
Which of the following income categories includes your total family income in 1992 before taxes?
"less than $20,000": 15%
"over $75,000": 9%