What Image Generator Midjourney AI Thinks the Future of Work Looks Like
Because helping businesses leverage advanced technologies is one of my core services, I spend a lot of time – a LOT – playing around with fabulous AI tools. There are too many entering the world of work every week to possibly be able to keep up with them all and understand in depth what each one does.
One of them, however, has caught the attention of professional artists, marketing teams, and hobbyists around the world for while, and it’s known for creating absolutely stunning artwork based on just a few keywords: Midjourney.
People have generated truly jaw-dropping graphics and art in a matter of seconds on Midjourney, so I decided to give it a whirl on a topic that I care deeply about: the future of work.
As a newcomer on the Discord platform, however, I decided to start off by using Midjourney’s sister product, Blue Willow, which shares much of the same functionality, and is free. To better understand the differences between the two, check out this article or this one.
Both Blue Willow and Midjourney generate a set of four images for every prompt you input.
Below are my findings, with my first two image sets in Blue Willow, and the third in Midjourney…
Three Ways that AI Envisions the Future of Work
1st Try: BlueWillow: “Work environment of the future”
My first prompt into Blue Willow was simply “work environment of the future.” I like the clean look and simple lines, and appreciate the fine air quality and blue skies outside. Workstations are equipped with nice computers and ergonomic chairs. Super. The only thing missing are…well…the employees! Where is everyone?
I chalked the lack of people up to my poor prompt, in which I failed to request the presence of workers. My bad. Prompts are everything.
So I tried again.
2nd Try: BlueWillow: “Busy office environment of the future with lots of people working”
To add in the people I was looking for, on my second round I made sure to include “lots of people working” in the prompt. This time, Blue Willow added a few men in suits. I like the suit look, but was suprised that it’s vision of the future of a busy working environment didn’t include gaggles of Gen-Z kids with AR headsets on sipping lattés in cluttered open workspaces.
This time, noticeably missing is the technology, as well as the “office environment” I requested. In fact, none of these images include any office at all, at least not the kind we typically think of when we hear that word. Apparently, offices of the future will include a lot of outdoor spaces!
Futuristic skyscrapers and shiny metal platforms are a nice touch, and the clean air is again encouraging, although I’m a bit worried about the gentleman who is seemingly walking on water. Looks cold where he is – Blue Willow could have bundled him up a bit more to keep him warm.
A bit disappointed in Blue Willow’s lack of imagination and vision for the future, I decided to up the ante and generate one more version in Midjourney.
3rd Try: Midjourney: “What will the future of professional work look like?”
Things got real with Midjourney.
This time, there is only one human in each image, accompanied by a range of technologies. In the bottom left, some kind of head apparatus is involved in the work process, and in the bottom right, the robots have an eerie overlord presence.
Men in suits seem to be clearly embedded in the linguists models of these image generating tools, as is a water element.
This last image set does a better job of grasping my request, although I’m not sure how I feel about the output.
My Take-Aways from This AI Image Generation Experiment
My objectives in this activity were twofold: 1) better understand how these very powerful and popular AI tools work by testing them out myself, and 2) discover what their vision of the future of work is.
The similarities between these images is a bit uncanny, given my fairly vague prompts. Some might say that they’re even a bit grim and dark, although one could also say that the word “future” in my prompts gave the images the very futurist-like styles.
While I find these images very intriguing and even a bit odd, my biggest take-away is the reminder that that no matter what the future might look like, it isn’t here yet. And it’s still up to us to decide, here and now, what it will be.
The Future-Proof Business helps small businesses become future-proof by showing them how to anticipate and pivot around the trends that will impact their competitiveness in the future, and then implement the tools and technologies that will ensure their long-term profitability. Visit our Consulting or Leadership Development page to learn more, or contact us so we can explore how your business may benefit from the rapid advances in technology.
Marina von Bergen, MAM, ACC
My 23+ year career as a management consultant, leadership development expert and executive coach in large global firms shifted in 2020 when I felt compelled to focus on consulting and coaching small to medium sized businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. Since then, I have continued pursing my passion of helping businesses and their leaders become future-proof by leveraging advanced technologies and exceptional leadership. I have helped organizations and leaders all around the globe, in many industries, and from countless walks of life. Visit The Future-Proof Business to learn more.