How AI will impact creative work


The creative platform Picsart is working with AI rather than fighting against it. And according to founder and CEO Hovhannes Avoyan, that’s a deliberate choice that all companies need to make.

“You don’t need to be the victim of [AI], you need to be a beneficiary of it,” Avoyan says. “Every company needs to rethink their strategy on dealing with AI, every artist should do that, and even every person should do that. It’s a new electricity—it’s a transformational technology.”

Avoyan was learning about AI long before it was cool. He was an AI scientist in the ‘90s, two decades prior to creating Picsart in 2011. In November 2022, Picsart became an early adopter of AI tools and has continued to develop these features over the past year. As of this August, the platform’s popular AI Image Generator had created more than 500 million images. Avoyan’s goal in integrating this technology on Picsart is to lead with AI instead of watching it from the sidelines. On this week’s Leaders in Innovation podcast, he discusses the opportunities that AI presents to enhance human capabilities.

The original inspiration behind Picsart was Avoyan’s daughter: He wanted to make something that would resonate specifically with Gen Z and encourage the digital native generation to develop creative passions. Now that AI tools are widely available, Avoyan feels that it’s easier than ever to pick up skill sets that would’ve previously been inaccessible.

“My fundamental belief is that [AI] is not going to replace creativity, it’s going to enhance creativity,” Avoyan says. “I really see it more like a copilot to allow humans to be even more creative and more advanced in their expression. So the things which were taking years of learning and training and fine-tuning, now you can do it easier and faster. It’s opened an opportunity for more people to be creative.”

Because AI can now handle certain design and coding tasks, Avoyan says it’s possible for those without any training to pick up marketable skills. For businesses, that means creating marketing materials might be a simpler process. For individuals, Avoyan says it opens the door to focus on more macroscopic thinking in the future.

“What I’ve discovered is that problem-solving skills are going to be more important than understanding a certain [coding] language,” Avoyan says. “Understanding Python or C++ or Java will be less and less important, but understanding how to solve a problem, what kinds of design patterns you should apply, what kind of architecture you can do [will be more important].”

Ultimately, Avoyan believes it’s a mistake to underestimate a technology that’s evidently here to stay. Instead, he says that everyone can use AI tools to enhance their productivity and focus on the bigger picture.

Listen to the full conversation between Hovhannes Avoyan and James Vincent on this week’s Leaders in Innovation podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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