Machine Learning and Creativity with Google

Innovation Week’s first session was given by Jordan Berkowitz, who is Creative Business Partner for EMEA at Google’s think tank for brands and agencies, The ZOO. This division’s mission is to “push the limits of creativity thanks to Google’s platforms and technologies”. A quote from Larry Page framed Berkowitz’s approach to how Google uses machine learning: “Think about the user first and everything else will follow”. When thinking about the plethora of can’t-live-without apps that Google has in their suite, and also their insights tools that we are able to use as planners, this certainly rings true. A quote from Sundar Pichai affirmed that Google has moved on from the days of being a mobile-first company; they are now ML-first.

How do we use it? You might have noticed smart replies in your Gmail – this uses ML to become more appropriated to the way you talk – for Berkowitz, since he has been in the UK, this means more “cheers”-ending emails.

How can we get creative with it? Google is developing its voice-activated assistant to pick up on humour and tone. From Beta research, they knew that this was something they had to do after the Google Assistant was proposed to over 45,000 times! They are so serious about this that they even have a “Personality Team”, which includes writers from studios like Pixar.

Showing how far creativity can be pushed with ML, we saw an entire catwalk collection designed in collaboration with Zalando. Berkowitz concluded by affirming that in the case of the fashion industry, ML is not the end goal; it is there to act as a provocation, a catalyst for pushing boundaries.


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