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Opinion: AI Won't Take Your Job.

ChatGPT took the world by storm at the start of last year and finally gave everyone a realistic taste of something that had been the question posed by so many science-fiction and horror stories; what does it look like if the robots took over?

So much of human labour could now be done in a matter of seconds. Need to write a proposal? Ask ChatGPT. Need information on a topic right now? Ask ChatGPT. Want a concise list of how to execute a plan? Ask ChatGPT. It seemingly had a solution to everything we needed. 

It was hard to know what the general consensus was to this new tool, excitement or fear? It was kind of both. Suddenly it makes life so much easier. I remember having to write-up application forms and personal statements - so long as I was able to provide appropriate details, I could almost instantly have 500-word statement that was well structured and entirely relevant. How exciting. 

On the flip-side, I work in a job that can at times require hours of fine-tuning, checking over and ensuring no mistakes are made. If a computer can do what I do with frightening accuracy and make what I was asked to make 10 times over in a fraction of the time, at what point do I become obsolete in my role? This way of thinking has created a shift in the way designers, film-makers and anyone who is facilitating in any industry, think about how they approached their work. That mind-set being, it’s the people who can work alongside the AI and use it as a tool to better their craft who are going to find more success. 

This is an approach I most certainly took, and it proved unbelievably effective in simplifying and streamlining my workflow. In my photography jobs last year, the same issues consistently arose. Those being around the lighting of a room, things that would clutter the photo or provide a distraction. Before, some of these could prove to be a horrific labour that took hours in photoshop, trying to be innovative to seamlessly remove window reflections. Generative fill meant I could do that job effortlessly. Better still, it could enhance my creativity, and allow for more play with my photos. I’m not ashamed to admit I very much enjoyed generative-filling hair onto bald men and playing with contexts to turn a businessman into a cowboy. It was an easy laugh and brought fun back into the work at times. 

I spent a lot of time trying to understand the details of generative fill, and explore the right ways to interact with it. There are some YouTube videos on my channel that are dedicated to playing with the AI, learning how to prompt in the right way, and how I could implement this feature into my creative-work and video content. Ideas I had in my head seemed so much more possible now, and learning how to use AI the right way meant I could turn them into as much of a reality as I could ever want. 

But in my work as a videographer and editor, no AI really seemed to come near to being able to produce video in the way a professional with a camera could. Videos looked more like a string of randomly generated images than anything else, each frame responding to a different prompt. Maybe there was something that gave it a bit of coherence, but nothing felt groundbreaking at all, and it just looked dumb. 

So I heard about SORA recently. 

SORA is OpenAI’s latest product that is taking prompts to produce high-end, cinematic quality video-work. Just by looking at the website’s landing page, it does a good job. Details are fine, camera movements are swift and every detail appears to be accounted for. This even includes facial features. 

One of the biggest issues Star Wars exposed was the way in which the so-called “uncanny valley” meant that computer simulations could never reach the unreal complexity of the human face. In SORA’s rendition of Marc Maron, that issue doesn’t appear to exist at all. In fact it probably provides a level of detail that is almost uncomfortable, I cannot imagine how Mr. Maron feels about it himself.

This one certainly feels like more of a threat. 

In his podcast “The Rest is Entertainment,” Richard Osman and Marina Hyde discussed the impact of this new tool on the wider film-industry, where he states the middle-ground of the film-industry will basically be wiped out. 

This “middle-ground” being any sort of facilitator. The compositors who create animations of the scenes to visualise a storyboard before shooting, the camera-operators who know all the technology and how to best mitigate the technical issues. These kind of roles will be easily wiped out by a technology like SORA because they mitigate, or essentially remove, any technical challenge a producer or director faces when manifesting a vision. 

They spoke about how the TV-Advertising industry could essentially all be AI-driven in the future, meaning an entire industry faces risk of redundancy. 

It’s easy to look at this stuff and think that it’s just scare-mongering, and maybe it is, and maybe and it won’t be so bad. It’s definitely true that, with the rapid development of technology, there are giant unexpected trends towards analogue technology, i.e. film-cameras and vinyl players and the like, but when you look at the film-industry as a business, especially when you have revenue giants like Disney and Netflix who are always looking to compete against each other, any chance to remove facilitators and produce premium content in a cost-efficient / generally economical way are going to taken up no-question. 

So what does that mean for anyone in a creative industry? Will the career ladder go? Is this the end of everyone’s hopes and dreams to “make it” in the industry now the robots have taken over? I don’t think so. 

There’s no denying that this will make the hard-work of background jobs so much easier, and yes the facilitators will suffer, but the business landscape will always need a creative around to help them thrive, because people have one talent that AI will never be able to have, the ability to create genuine human-connections.*

The idea of supporting small and local businesses has been crucial to keeping communities alive around the world. Bigger businesses will be able to provide you a coffee, food, or any factory-made device you want. We undeniably live off mass-consumerism, but we also like to reject it. We’re naturally drawn to the personality of an item over one without a story, because we’re attracted to sentimentality. I firmly believe the rapid developments in AI will only exaggerate this issue. 

What that means is that people will want to connect more, and the importance of having a communal space will become of paramount importance to people. How do we connect to businesses and people though? Stories. 

Stories allow for people to relate, and provide the backdrop for relationships to begin. The businesses that have the most interesting stories tend to be the most attractive, and therefore drive in the most customers. It’s purely based around the sentimentality, or a great movement that people can get on-board with. These customers aren’t just looking for a singular product, they’re looking to engage more with the brand and the people. 

What that means for creative people is that the ability to effectively craft a story through their medium is going to be what makes them thrive for businesses. Whether it be your ability to craft your own story, or finesse the narrative of others, it’s the style and personal-craft that will come above the ability to facilitate a function for a company. 

This sounds blindingly obvious because it is. A homemade burger will always trump the one you bought at McDonalds (I suppose subject to cooking ability), because there’s a sentimentality attached to it and it can build a relationship. 

Just some food for thought (I am a very clever and funny guy for ending like this). 

*If AI can create genuine human connections, I’m sure we’ll have more to worry about than just our job security.


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