J'N'C No. 86 AI

Who’s afraid of AI?

Why we should be embracing this new tech era to stay in the game

The fashion industry is currently experiencing a real renaissance. Technological advances have boosted innovation in the fashion industry at an unprecedented rate and there’s no sign of things slowing down any time soon. The most recent example is artificial intelligence, which is already playing a key role in how we perceive and understand the world around us, as well as how we dress, work and consume. We are currently undergoing a digital metamorphosis and the opportunities it is bringing to the table are fascinating, to say the least.

For this issue’s fashion editorial, we experimented with photographer Patrick Schwalb to create exclusively AI-generated fashion photos. The gamble paid off, resulting in a set of incredible images that demonstrate the boundless potential of this technology. But we still need to ask ourselves how we can set boundaries in a world where we can barely see beyond tomorrow. 

AI is no longer just a buzzword, but already a firm fixture in the fashion business. AI-based algorithms are analysing trends, tastes and preferences faster, more precisely and more thoroughly than ever before. The fashion industry’s key players can gain valuable insights into the collective psyche of their consumers. And thanks to data analysis and machine learning, brands can offer personalised recommendations and tailormade products. And it’s not only consumers who are reaping the benefits (such as being able to find exactly what they are looking for), but also the brands, which are being rewarded with long-term loyalty from their satisfied customers.

AI is also propelling far-reaching changes in the fashion industry when it comes to sustainability. Optimising production processes and logistics enables companies to use their resources and energy more efficiently. That’s the theory anyway. But how much water is used in one day to cool all of the servers working overtime around the world? 

Despite all the hype, it’s always good to maintain a healthy dose of scepticism. One of the most pressing questions facing us is: will AI ultimately wipe out our jobs and make us humans obsolete? At this current point in time, the answer is: no. Creativity and the human perspective will no doubt remain irreplaceable. AI can assist, inspire and optimise, but it can never replace the heart and soul of creative minds.

Nevertheless, humans and machines are interacting more closely than ever before and this partnership promises an exciting future. As Marco Lanowy, Managing Director of Alberto, aptly pointed out in our interview: human intelligence (HI) is still superior to artificial intelligence. The path we are on now will continue to be marked by creativity and innovation – with humans and machines working together side by side.