Today, I could be a robot. An imaginary character on social media, with AI forming her bones, binary code making up her skin, marketing visions running through her blood vessels, and carefully calculated strategies inhibiting her brain.
8 years ago, when I started this blog, that would have been much less likely, though not entirely unthinkable.
Like a child playing with a plastic dinosaur, an adult or teen might play with a fictionary character, and even grow the game into a multimillion dollar business. Take Miquela for instance, an avatar modelling for luxury brands and posing with celebrities, gaining adoring comments from real humas.
You could argue that influencers have long ago become brands, losing their personalities to whatever sells, so is it really such a stretch to create an influencer from scratch? In a sense, isn’t that what the Kardashians were doing, the difference between Kim and Miquela breaking down into flesh and code?
Last week, I attended a webinar about social media trends, mainly because I’m deliberately very much outside the social media scene. I wanted an easy brief on what was new. What I learned was not what I’d been expecting:
- A large number of Finnish Gen Z’s consider themselves content creators
- A 10-15 sec video clip is now considered a long video in advertising and carefully crafted 6 sec clips appeal to younger audiences
- ChatGPT can produce entirely natural advertising copy or product information in just seconds, or even create a book or university essay
I still have over 20 years left before I can retire, but I’m no longer considered young, especially in the digital marketing field that I work in. Taking into consideration my age and the fact that AI can do my job quicker, plus there’s a surplus of content creators, the webinar left me with a web of new thoughts. Which is what I would expect from a good webinar, except that the thoughts weren’t particularly uplifting.
Following the webinar, our Friday afternoon virtual coffee break at work was spent chatting amongst colleagues who had already tried AI apps. As I’m always moaning about my employer not investing in good photos for our digital campaigns, I played around with creating images with the help of AI. I was having a bit of fun and dreamed up some images that I was quite happy with, as long as I didn’t try adding humans. Humans seemed to always come out nightmarishly distorted.
We also discussed the idea of creating ad copy with the help of AI. If I modified the text created by AI, would that make it more of my own? Would it be okay to just use the AI-generated text as an inspiration and would anyone ever know?
So far, I’m still proud to be crafting every word myself, using nothing but my weary brain cells. But maybe some day I’ll feel like a fool for doing so, at least in the work context. And while autogenerating images or words erases the creative process, I hear those AI apps are addictive once you get started. It’s an interesting concept worth some more thought.
Art: can it be original, if it was generated by AI? AI uses the Internet as its source… but human artists use real life as their muse, so where is the line between inspiration being okay and not okay? I’ve added plenty of article links to this post, but here’s one more, about the man who won a contest with an AI image. I must admit that I love the image.
Obviously, at the core of everything, there’s the matter of proprietary rights. Someone somewhere is certainly already using AI to do half a day’s job in seconds, and then slacking off, but I will be waiting for copyright lawmakers to catch up first.
Waiting and doing things by the book is a generational thing, I realise. Or maybe a gender thing? Or maybe it’s just me. Is it silly to always keep doing things the hard way? Am I too slow to adopt a new tool and take initiative in updating the way I work? Is it old-fashioned or merely prudent to await approval from some form of authority?
My kids are not at school yet and they still dream of traditional jobs. A policeman, a fireman, a doctor. Xrays and planets, oceans and animals, construction sites and legos, all the things that awaken a little boy’s curiosity. But my colleague, who plans to retire early and makes me wonder how, said she had asked her 8-year-old daughter the same question. The girl had replied that her dream job was to become a youtuber or an influencer, so she would only have to work a few hours a day.
Even the internet has changed a lot in 8 years. And so I wonder what work life will be like for my kids’ generation. Hopefully, they won’t have to work until they’re 90. I hope that girl gets her wish, and my kids, too.
Meanwhile, my blog is an old-timer in a sea of ever-growing online content. I’m probably going to try ChatGPT and Midjourney when I get the chance. But I won’t be posting the outcome here – the content here will still be manually laboured and original. Free for a robot to plagiarise. (Tip: Apparently, watermarking your photos can help you opt out.)
Happy anniversary, dear blog, and hang in there, because you’re not retiring just yet!