I just spent my evening talking to an AI, and one thing's for certain: Everything's going to change.
Well, here we are on this fateful evening. I finally sat my butt down with an AI and started up a long overdue conversation. I've been putting off this momentous meeting, for a few reasons:
I'm proactively luddite by nature -- I have a general dislike for screens and digital gadgets
I've been busy with some more urgent projects (now, I see the fallacy in this distraction)
I've been scared to look. Haha, but really... I've been scared of what I might learn...
I'm fairly connected in tech community -- as connected as one can be living in a tiny surf town on the western-most edge of Canada. I've been hearing murmurings and conversations about AI-incoming for a while now. These last few months, especially with the release of art-generating AIs, it's been a fairly constant back-of-mind I-need-to-do-a-deep-dive-research-session. Turns out, however, I didn't need to dig deep at all.
All I needed to do was sit down and start a conversation. Naturally, I started with a curiousity about how AI is going to change my specific industry and working-life as a creative. Here's how that conversation went:
Okay, fine, it didn't start like that. Here it actually is:
How is AI going to change the working landscape for filmmakers and content creators?
Any other filmmakers/creators out there (who know the workflows well), prepare for your brains to be blown out and your socks to fly off your stinky, hairy toes. (sorry for the visual)
Also, the AI is best read in a posh, British Accent, for effect.
It is difficult to predict exactly how quickly artificial intelligence (AI) will change the working landscape for filmmakers and content creators, as it will depend on the adoption of AI technologies by the industry and the extent to which they are used.
One potential way that AI could change the working landscape for filmmakers and content creators is through the use of automated or semi-automated tools for tasks such as content creation, editing, and post-production. For example, AI-powered tools might be able to analyze footage and automatically identify and select the most relevant shots, or use machine learning algorithms to generate custom music or sound effects for a film.
Another way that AI could impact the film and content creation industry is through the use of virtual assistants or digital "talent" that can perform tasks such as voice acting, motion capture, or even entire performances. While these technologies are still in the early stages of development, they have the potential to revolutionize the way that films and other content are created, potentially changing the roles and responsibilities of filmmakers and content creators.
Overall, it is important for filmmakers and content creators to stay up to date with the latest developments in AI and to be open to incorporating new technologies into their workflows in order to stay competitive in an ever-evolving industry.
Are you flipping kidding me?!
Did you just process how many jobs were just unceremoniously BOOTED from the creative industry in a few swift sentences? It's a lot to take in.
I continued my conversation with the AI and was astounded at the possibilities. Literally, jaw on the floor.
I just have one reflection I'd like to share with you today. And that is that, yes, AI is going to radically change the way we work and live -- in time, with adoption. Yes, many jobs will become obsolete. But, contrary to how I thought I'd feel about the latter statement, I feel excitement. A sense of new possibility. Like the introduction of other technologies before it, AI is going to reduce a significant portion of the laborious aspects of creation. This opens up our time further to focus on the creation. And, I hope, give us more time to get back to living -- not chained to some desk.
However, that reflection comes with one key caveat: A word of caution to specialists. There is a popular school of thinking, that specialization is a precursor to success. It's the reason we begin to specialize in high school, and are expected to do so throughout post-secondary. Specialists are often rewarded in the workplace -- paid well to do the jobs few can do. But, times are rapidly changing. It's no myth that our current education systems are flawed and antiquated. Expensive degrees don't prepare graduates for the world that awaits them anymore. Technology is changing the workplace. And, we must all learn to be adaptable.
To increase adaptability, we must move towards generalization, ie. broader knowledge and skillsets. Today's world, and the future, may more readily reward the generalist. As AI technologies give the ol' boot to various professions and specializations within the workplace, generalists -- those with multiple skills, who manage projects, have both soft and technical skills, are creative thinkers, etc. -- will thrive.
“Extreme specialization has been the greatest disaster of the modern academic world. It has created narrow Mandarins, ignorant of the universal nature of reality, incapable of connecting concepts from different fields to bring everything together in one ultimate, unified subject. [...] It’s about connecting everything.”
― David Sinclair
I consider myself a generalist, and AI is exciting to me because it gives me more autonomy and speed as a creator to actually create something. I don't have to spend as much time on the labour. If, on the other hand, I was only interested in one specific act of creating something, such as sound effect levelling (no shade at sound designers, I love you guys). And, I liked to do that one action over and over, and (what's more) most of my income came from this action... Well, then I might be in trouble.
Yes, it's necessary to be skilled to make things of any value. But, we’re not machines. If you live your life and do your work like a machine you’re going to be replaced by a machine. Or, worse, become one.
If you live your life and do your work like a machine, you’re going to be replaced by a machine. Or, worse, become one.
This conversation about generalization vs specialization goes much deeper and farer than AI, touching on the very essence of what it means to be human. There's so much to be said about it, my mind's nearly screaming with the desire to derail this article and get philosophical (anyone up for an afternoon cup of existential tea?). But, it'll have to wait. A tantalizing thought for you to marinade in in the meantime.
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none." But, there's another quote I like that has value here:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.”
- Robert Anson Heinlein
Thank you, Robert, for so eloquently explaining what humans are able to do. As though we're a bunch of aliens having just landed on Earth and are wondering what these pink, fleshy monkeys are up to.
Though, if it's alright with you, Robert, I wouldn't mind taking a stab at that description myself. Just so the aliens are clear what year we're in and that we're talking about modern-day, creative professionals here...
Specialization is for insects.”
- Elena Jean
Alright, to sum up this little reflection and caveat. In the context of AI and the impact on the working landscape for filmmakers and content creators (and all professions, really), it's important to be well-rounded and have a diverse set of skills. AI might swoop in and take over certain tasks, like content creation or editing, but there're many aspects of the work we do that requires a "human touch" (artistic flair, style, character, spunk, darling).
Though, I should mention, that when I asked AI if directing a film or storytelling would be difficult for AI to replicate, it said: "At least in the near term". Yeesh, let's cross that bridge when we get there, shall we?
Anyways, specialization is boring. From one generalist to another... Assuming you're part of the elite, human generalist club too (most people are, by nature, since humans are generalists by nature.)... By employing tools and machines to do specific jobs that you can’t do or won't do, you have more time to do what you love (in my case, lately, writing and surfing). We weren’t born into this world to just sit and do one thing over and over again... Such as re-linking media files to a Premiere timeline (*shudders in filmmaker*).
There's a lot more to talk about here. These are just my immediate, reflexive reflections. For now, I'm excited to learn more and to learn how to leverage AI in my own life. And then, and as you may have noticed, the documentarian in me is excited to explore more of what all of this potentially means.
Had to share. Catch you in the next meandering thought train from my brain. As always, stay curious ;)