Change: What AI and Photography have in Common

Artificial arm illuminated by photo image.

In the early 2000s the cost of a digital camera came down, making it more affordable to the average person to own one. The benefit of a digital camera was that you didn’t need to understand shutter speed, ISO, and aperture settings, because the camera knew how to do this for you. You also didn’t need to ration your photo select to 24 shots before having the film developed.

I knew a local professional photographer back then. Her skill and expertise was well known at that time. In one of these ‘early-digital-camera’ years, a local association that held yearly awards for best picture, opened up the competition to digital pictures as well. My friend was devastated. “What did these other people know about taking a good picture?” She did not compete again, because she felt the competition was not fair and that amateurs, with no photography background, shouldn’t be allowed to submit there work, let alone possibly win.

This change from film to digital was a critical shift in how we created and shared images. Before this change, good images were only available to those that owned a good camera and had photography skills. Good images were expensive, and there was a lot less to choose from. Now that most people have access to this technology in their phones, the average business owner can inexpensively make, have free access to, or buy great stock images.

The professional photographer’s push-back was understandable, and yet, not. This is happening and there really is only one way to go… Get on board.

Kodak is a good example of not totally ‘getting on board’ when they had a chance. Many of you have likely read the story of Kodak’s failure. Kodak was the original developer of digital technology and were unable to, or chose not to, commit to the digital ecosystem of photos and online sharing. This may have been because their film sales were such a money maker, but more likely because the industry transformation was so complex and fast, that they needed to be on top of every change, not just for film processing.

I also teach entrepreneurship at a college, and I have been keenly aware of the fear, misunderstanding, ignorance, excitement, and possibilities of AI technology. The higher-education industry is in a significant transformation. At first there was a lot of push-back on allowing AI at all. Then there was the curiosity, the learning, the brainstorming of how to best monitor the technology and how it would or could be used, and now there is a lot of work on how to implement it best. Like allowing digital photography into the awards competition, time will normalize the acceptance and use of AI, but what that actually is, is not yet completely known.

Your business may not be in a highly disruptive industry. Maybe not now, maybe not ever. But, being afraid of taking action on change is the best way to fail to remain competitive.

Be open to change. Be vigilant for change. And, be willing to make change. It means letting go of what you are used to, and starting something new. A challenging endeavor when you also need to maintain the business that you already have. Being on top of change also means you will continue to have business well into the future.

The story of Kodak reference: “Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology”, Anthony, 2016

Yep! Still writing them myself. No AI was used to generate this article. As long as I have ideas to share, I’ll write them for you. At least until the use of AI has changed the industry significantly. I’m open.

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