Illustration: Cheyne Gateley/VIP+
VIP + Guest Column: Sure, AI will cut jobs, but it will create more and open up a host of once-unforeseen opportunities.
Hollywood is no stranger to anti-aging efforts on and off screen, so these entertaining and mostly harmless deepfakes have been widely accepted as positive technological advances. But with the advent of AI programs including ChatGPT, Midjourney and DALL-E, whose speed and results are both mesmerizing and somehow terrifying, alarm bells are ringing among the creative sets of entertainment.
Indeed, there are legitimate and urgent concerns to have when it comes to AI among creatives. There’s the practical matter of preparing to retrain those whose jobs may be eliminated, as well as figuring out how to properly compensate the artists whose work fuels the AI engines.
It is true that AI will eliminate some jobs, but it will also create new ones. But realistically, at least in the short term, we don’t run the risk of ChatGPT replacing the screenwriters or inventing the next Harry Potter. And DALL-E is not Salvador Dal.
But technology can and should benefit the industry by making things more efficient, increasing fan engagement, and potentially opening up opportunities for creators, all of which will work to increase revenue. Here are four ways creators and artists can start thinking about taking advantage of the opportunities ahead.
1. Switch to machine learning to eliminate repetitive tasks
Creative careers aren’t necessarily always creative. But machine learning can help increase creative time by dealing with monotonous tasks. With a simple set of parameters and suggestions used by machine learning engines, we can focus on fresh creativity while the AI takes care of the backgrounds and routine objects in the scenes. For big studios, this would free up resources to develop new intellectual property or come up with new takes on existing IP.
2. Take advantage of predictive learning
Writers can use predictive learning tools in two ways to spend more time writing and reach a wider audience. The first way is to think of an AI engine as a supercharged focus group. Instead of filling screening rooms with people to gauge reactions, AI engines can use the power of the Internet to more accurately predict how content will play across a wide variety of audiences. They can also make suggestions on how to improve or better tailor your work for a specific audience based on key story elements such as character, setting, plot, and themes.
3. Use AI technicians to complete Origin artists
A big concern for the truly creatives among us is making sure we are fairly compensated for our original artwork, as well as any derivative pieces of AI that result from it. The issues of ownership and what I would call original DNA need to be addressed because the extensive use of original art will benefit both the industry and the artists.
And as the derivative use of art increases, the monetization potential for any creative work can be expanded because the use cases for that work become exponential. We need to think about all creative input to AI engines the same way we think about the use of music. Every time an original piece of music is sampled or used in a mashup, commercial or film, the artist gets paid every time.
Makeup with artwork, literature, and other similar content will be accurate attribution so that the creators or source artists get a percentage royalty of any transaction based on the percentage they contributed to the derived artwork the final.
4. Find new ways to increase fan engagement after the curtain closes
From a consumer perspective, AI can be used to create new experiences for fans. While we’ve all experienced the frustration of interacting with a chatbot in a customer service environment, we might have a different reaction if we were interacting with our favorite characters in a fandom community. AI chatbots that take on the personalities of our favorite characters can offer franchises a new way for enthusiastic enthusiasts to extend their interaction with IP.
Imagine giving fans the ability to have one-on-one conversations with their favorite characters in real time. This could lead to an even deeper and more personal connection with the characters, making them feel more relatable and relevant in a way that has never been experienced.
In short, there is indeed great potential for AI to benefit people and the industry as a whole creatively and financially. And we need to flip the script and ask not how AI will harm artists, but how can we use it to empower artists and enrich their careers so that no one is left out.
And as with most new technologies, we need to make sure there are some guardrails in place when they’re being used. We have a collective responsibility to help prepare everyone in our industry for the changes ahead.
John Attanasio is CEO and co-founder of story studio Web3 Toonstar, as well as an alumnus of Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, where he developed franchise properties including Harry Potter, DC, LEGO, Looney Tunes and Shrek.
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