In a marketing group I’m in, someone posted this AI headshot generator as a tool they had used to get better headshots. As my standard headshots are getting pretty old, and as I am getting even older, I decided to give it a go.
So, you upload 10-20 photos of yourself, and within a day, this tool spits out 100 possible headshots for you for $17.
I’ll just say it was VERY disconcerting to wake up to 100 pictures of “me” that were never me and never will be me. Some were darn good. Some were atrocious. Some made me look like I’m starting my country music career. And some made me look like I’m getting ready to sell Dave and Cheryl a split-level in Naperville.
And of course, there was the picture with the extra hand. Am I smiling? Mouth closed? Open? Wha?
Who are you? Who am I?
The greatest impact of the experiment was how it changed the way I viewed myself. Maybe I should move to Nashville and be a country singer! Maybe I should be on a red carpet somewhere!
It provided a lot of comedy as I shared pictures with friends. But as I go through an analysis of who I am and what do I represent, it spurred me to think of myself quite differently.
I am a brand builder. I am a marketer. I am a damn good technologist. And I am exceptional at discovering new trends. I am a leader, a compassionate caregiver, and I am tenacious. And in some of these pictures, I saw myself… expanded. I actually started thinking, I could be a little more of that.
I would never wear some of these clothes. I would never fix my hair like that. I would sure never wear makeup like that. In some pictures I lost weight. In others I gained weight. I’d never get my hair to look that good. And I’m sure not wearing pink fluff.
But what if I did? What changes about my life if I did do any of this and chose to take my real-life avatar in different directions?
How would my real life change if I made different decisions?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to start selling split levels in Naperville, and I’ll keep my singing to the car or shower.
How we see ourselves and our business
When we start a business, or even when we consider our personal brand, we have some preconceived notions about what we’re doing. Our product does X. We serve Y community. Our target market is Z. You know you’re doing it, but you’re also operating from a limited vantage point. You know only what you know and you see only what you see. And if you’re not adept at asking questions or going into something with “don’t know” mindset, you’ll convince yourself that something is true when it’s not.
How does your business change if you see it through a different lens? What happens if you adopt a different look and feel for your brand? What happens if you chose things you would have never considered previously as a new model for how you relate to your customers? Would it destroy your brand or would it expand it providing new opportunities?
AI will open your mind
As we use AI, I think the opportunity is really to allow it to change your perspective. I would never put myself in a position to see myself as a country music singer, but AI doesn’t have those preconceptions. Its view of me is that I can be whatever it finds that fits patterns, and those patterns are not mine. As such, it re-envisions a different reality altogether.
As we feed information into AI, the opportunity exists to have it change you. Literally.
If you have a product and you feed pictures of it into AI, it might show you that product differently in ways you’ve never imagined. If you have a marketing page and you feed it into AI, it might show you different examples of how that marketing page could be laid out that are vastly different than anything you’ve ever thought.
Don’t stop there
The key is to not stop at what AI gives you. The goal is to use it to inspire, to have you go into creative mode to find the “Yes, and…” to move into improvisational creativity to find new models of looking at things. A little absurdity can go a long way when you’re looking for new perspectives. The power comes when you add a little bit of yourself back into the process of re-envisioning your problem, opportunity, product, or market.
I don’t think any of us fully grasp what AI can help us do, but I think the key is to never take the humanity out of the equation. We hear these stories of how the internet is now going to become polluted with AI-generated content that makes true human knowledge irrelevant.
That will likely happen to some degree, but I also think that those who win with AI are going to use it as a tool to push themselves further in creative endeavors.
I think that AI can make us more of who and what we are. If we are copy-pasters with very little impact to provide to the deepening of human potential, we will do more of that. And if we are the type of people who push the outer limits of creativity, we’ll use AI as a tool to do just that.
I hope that you’ll do more of the latter. You matter and so does your contribution to the entirety of what humanity offers. AI can help you think about your contribution differently, but never let it stop you from being more you. In fact, challenge it, and yourself, to change your perspectives, change you viewpoints, and change how you think about the world we live in.
It’s a brave new world, and my hope is that we see even better things from using AI in the right ways.
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