- Creator 3x3
- Creator AI Tools, Inventing Our Destruction, and Socrates
Creator AI Tools, Inventing Our Destruction, and Socrates
Welcome to Creator 3×3!
This week we’re talking about Creator AI Tools.
And by the end you’ll understand that some Creators will lose the AI war, some will benefit immensely, but we’ve got to start paying attention today.
Here are 3 Creator facts from the past, 3 notes on the present, and 3 thoughts about the future of the content economy...
3 FACTS FROM THE PAST
ChatGPT wasn’t the first AI chatbot to take over the world.
If you grew up during the Great IM-ification of interpersonal relationships (AKA 2000-2010), you might be able to guess who (or perhaps I should say what) I’m about to name drop.
It’s not the best chatbot ever made.
It certainly wasn’t the first.
But for 30 million Americans (25% of USA internet users at the time!), it was probably the first time they talked to a machine that could talk back.
Kids (including me) would race home after school to play with this chatbot who never got tired of answering their infinite list of questions.
It was a product with personality that inspired the big tech wave of exploration into Siri, Alexa, and eventually the large language models that led to the release of ChatGPT.
SmarterChild’s team was also immediately forced to deal with the questions around profanity, moderation, and hate speech that we’re still wrestling with today.
The trials of technologies past foreshadow the challenges of technologies future.
If curious, you can still experience the 2001 Windows XP magic (or perhaps the dull, lingering horror) of knowing in your heart that the world will never be the same.
Invention is also (usually) destruction.
You just gotta zoom out a bit.
What I mean is that Creators get punched in the face more or less every time the nerds drop something cool.
Not every Creator is hit as hard with every drop, but every Creator is hit - whether they realize it or not.
In no particular order here are a list of inventions and tools that absolutely ruined somebody’s life or career when they dropped:
Photoshop - This noun|verb is a rallying cry for digital mental health crises, deepfake technohorror, and also the general loss of our connection with what objects in reality actually look like… but the pictures do look pretty dope ngl 👈👈😎
Music Downloads - The record industry still hates Dave Grohl’s hot takes from the 90’s
Airbrushing - AKA acoustic photoshop
Digital Photography - Kodak literally invented this then tried to kill it they were so worried
TV - They made a musical about the murders.
Synthetic Music - Musician labor orgs successfully banned synthesizers when they were first invented (and drum machines and recorded music for film soundtracks) because they "took food out of musician’s mouths”.
Photography (in general) - It took over 100 years for the art community to accept photography as an art form because it scared painters so bad!
Calculators - Anyone who has ever gone to school won’t be surprised that banning and unbanning math equipment is still rampant
Printing Press - I can’t believe we put those honest monks out of a job hand copying books
The toughest pill to swallow as a Creator is that every single one of these inventions really did cause a lot of destruction while also helping thousands of people (including me) gearshift into a better life trajectory.
The crux is that each of these inventions reignited public conversations about art and value.
And that’s awesome and necessary, but there’s a problem here too.
Creators across domains don’t always feel part of the same team, but Society tends to analyze creative works with roughly the same frameworks.
Changes in technology that forced conversations about music copyright laws impacted writers, visual artists, and performers.
And since the internet is now the driving creative force shaping art and culture…
Changes in how the internet works - including these changes with AI - significantly impact all of these groups too.
This Invention → Destruction cycle is so persistently consistent throughout human history that even Socrates complained about it!
so much SASS
Here’s Socrates side-eyeing the Egyptians who invented the written word.
Almost 2500 years later, I think it’s fair to say Socrates wasn’t wrong.
But I think it’s also fair to say that his understanding of what inventing the written word unlocks is incomplete.
This dissonance is annoying af!
It’s an unknown known that we just have to navigate 🤷♂️
me trying to emotionally process the everpresentforever
3 NOTES ON THE PRESENT
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the AI tool-ish things Creators can play with right this second:
Plus every single tool out there that already exists is integrating AI into their creation workflows as we speak
I use the word play on purpose.
Not just because the next big thing will start out looking like a toy.
(Even though it will)
But because these frontier AI tools are still running through their paces.
We don’t really know their strengths and we sure as hell don’t fully understand their weaknesses.
Genuine play is how we explore the limits of today’s AI thoughtfully and reflect with empathy on their drawbacks.
There are real Creators gout there right now getting hurt (and losing income) because of the proliferation of these tools.
Do I think artists with unique styles and protected intellectual property are being improperly replicated by generative tools?
Do I think artists should get compensated somehow and have control over when their IP is used for commercial gain?
How do we do that?
To be completely honest, I’m not sure yet.
When it comes to text generation, I’m even less sure.
Creators rarely discover their voice in a vacuum.
I certainly didn’t.
Influence and imitation are huge parts of creative development.
Fortunately, modern copyright law generally understands that!
Today, Adobe doesn’t get sued into oblivion whenever somebody replicates a prominent artist’s work or violates a trademark using Photoshop.
The person who made the infringing work gets in trouble.
Granted - we’ve never before lived in a world where everyone could violate copyrights with just a few taps on a screen, but we do now 🤷♂️
And I’m confident we’ll stumble our way into systems and structures that work better for both fans and Creators (eventually).
What have AI Content Tools forever changed already?
I mean… it’s gotta be Faceless Channels.
Faceless channels are a catch-all term for YouTube channels that don’t have a personality at their core.
There are short and long form versions of faceless channels, they exist on every platform, and at best they produce genuinely engaging content that helps you explore a topic you’re fascinated about.
At worst they’re just a weird AI voice reading you a Wikipedia article.
Faceless Channels are appealing to aspiring Creators for two reasons:
You don’t have to attach your face to something on the internet. This is an extremely rational response to the ramifications of connecting your visage to a machine that could put you in front of billions of strange humans and their collective mental issues.
They seem easier than a normal YouTube channel somehow (especially if you believe the Creator guru industrial complex)
The new dropshipping 👀
And I get it!
At a glance, it feels like a reasonable take.
Of course… after a few months of publishing video after video, the harsh reality of scripting, writing hooks, editing, and idea generation sinks in pretty hard.
But this is just the first wave.
We’re already seeing innovation with narrative techniques like 1st person POV storytelling by AI generated characters, co-written plotlines with chat tools, and the remixing of old classics with AI idea variants.
I think people will always love watching other people, but I’m personally very excited for all the new stories that are only getting told because AI tools are enabling Creators who would’ve never gotten it out there otherwise.
We’ve mostly talked about creating content so far.
But we’re also at the frontier of creating experiences.
It’s easy-ish to imagine today’s content as better, faster, stronger, funnier.
We’re watching this happen in real time!
It’s a bit harder to imagine the things we haven’t done before.
Take Delphi - they’re making “AI Clones” of popular figures.
(I’m assuming with permission, but I have no idea if they asked)
We can see a DrDisRespect gaming coach.
Maybe a Casey Neistat videography buddy.
Definitely a Taylor Swift songwriting partner.
We can already get a list of facts and generic advice from a thousand different places.
But once you add some risk-taking Creators and play the tape out, we might see these “personalities in your pocket” spill over the walls of their programming and get fans excited in a way previously impossible!
That said, most of these tools today are straight up a bad compromise between too boring and fully unhinged.
As long as we remember that everything we try here will suck at first…
We might eventually find ourselves somewhere pretty neat.
3 THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE
86.3% of my experience as a Creator is kludge.
Kludge is the stuff that doesn’t get me fired up.
It’s the random notes when I have inconvenient bouts of inspiration.
It’s transferring those notes into a better spot.
It’s staring at those notes until I think of a better way to say it.
Eventually it’s running out of time to stare and desperately writing something.
Sometimes it’s hacking and slashing that writing into something usable.
And it’s definitely taking what’s usable and trying to jam/record/edit/shove it into the million different places on the internet that I post on so I can get some crumbs of distribution for my ideas.
If I’m very lucky, at some point during this process I’ll experience the 13.7% of creative flow that energizes the mostly kludge that results in creation.
AI Tools help me reduce some of this kludge today (mostly through organizing my notes faster).
I often wonder what tomorrow’s tools will help me do.
The AI Transition won’t be easy.
A lot of people say they absolutely hate what he’s doing right now…
His content isn’t meant for me (as an audience) so it’s pretty hard for me to judge if there’s been a real dip in quality.
Ultimately, I think a lot of the audience concerns are pretty valid, but there is also a ton of froth around this discussion.
And no matter what you or I think of it, his channel metrics do still sorta seem to be going up 👀
Technology is just a set of tools.
And tools don’t care that you’re mad at them.
Fighting technology has never really worked out as a long term growth strategy.
Accepting that is tough - especially since I really respect fighting for what you believe in (I’m literally a military veteran lol).
But I also think understanding history is important too.
And history suggests that while some people are out fighting against the new toy…
There’s always a group of people learning how to use it to grow faster
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See you next week,
p.s. I can’t believe I missed this last year, but this Yellow Claw set (and the bit) is a productivity BANGER…