Antony Mayfield: Transforming Daily Workflows with AI

June 10, 2024

As part of the World Media Group’s annual Innovation Forum, WMG CEO Jamie Credland sat down with Antony Mayfield, CEO and co-founder at Brilliant Noise, a digital transformation agency specialising in generative artificial intelligence. The discussion centred around how we can integrate AI to improve our daily lives. Describing AI as “Unstoppable, but shapeable,” Antony gave practical examples of how to harness AI to make us more productive in both our work and personal lives.

A cognitive assistant 

Referencing the Wharton School professor Ethan Mollick’s view that we should “invite AI to everything,” Antony believes in integrating AI into as many tasks as possible. That doesn’t mean we should use AI for full automation but instead, employ it as a cognitive assistant. To this end, Antony has created a bot that helps him to organise his priorities and manage tasks by asking reflective questions that set the tone for his day.

A ‘tool-making tool’

Within Antony’s agency, AI has become indispensable for handling routine yet essential tasks such as drafting agendas and schedules. These tedious and time-consuming jobs are now expedited through AI, allowing the team to focus on more creative and strategic activities. He views AI not merely as a tool but as a “tool-making tool” that allows us to be more efficient. It can speed up either “things you’re not very good at, or things you are good at but want to make go faster,” he says.

The importance of context and prompts  

Antony enthusiastically describes AI as “a huge energy source”, but admits that it can take a while to become skilled at giving it the most effective prompts. While in the early stages of experimenting with AI, it’s tempting to think you could have done something quicker yourself, the more context you give it, the better the results. 

“Think of it as a really bright intern,” he says, “Someone you need to dedicate time and guidance to if you want them to improve.” By breaking things down into small steps, providing AI with specific inputs and refining its outputs iteratively, it will start to become a “cognitive accelerator”, getting you to where you’d have eventually got to on your own, but much faster.

Reverse engineering briefs

One of the interesting ways Antony’s team have used AI is to reverse engineer briefs to gain insight into the creative process behind some of the most acclaimed advertising campaigns. By inputting the ad creative and asking AI to reconstruct the original briefs, his team has been able to share insights into the steps along the creative journey that go into creating (or destroying) a great ad, all in a fraction of the time that it would have taken manually. 

No replacement for creativity

In order to ensure AI doesn’t make us predictable, Antony stresses that it should serve as an accelerator for creativity, not a replacement. He’s noticed the scepticism within his own team fade as they realise how AI can enhance rather than replace their creative work. But AI’s only as good as its input or prompts so it’s important to maintain a critical mindset, and use AI to enhance problem-solving by asking complex, thought-provoking questions. 

Antony’s top recommendations:

If you’re trying to decide which AI programme is best for you, Antony suggests starting with a versatile tool like ChatGPT for general tasks. He advises against committing to anything that has more than a month-to-month contract, given the rapid evolution of technology. With new innovations happening all the time, flexibility is essential so you can adopt the best tools as they emerge. 

He also recommends Goblin Tools, an app designed for neurodivergent people, that breaks down projects into manageable To Do Lists; and an app based on the book ‘Writing for Busy Readers’, which edits email copy into a simpler, concise version that is more likely to be read. 

Antony’s message is clear. AI’s not going away so we need to embrace it, and actively shape how it develops. At the moment, it serves as a valuable assistant, driving efficiency in everyday tasks, but the more we leverage it for our daily tasks, the more powerful it can become at enhancing creativity and innovation.