You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about the effects of AI. Many people are excited about its aid to society from writing CVs to creating social media content calendars. Others are concerned. A main concern for many surrounds the subject of creativity. One can easily hum a new tune or have an idea for an illustration, novel, or movie. However, transforming those into a tangible, shareable format has been, up to now, a complex task requiring years of learning and practice. Not anymore. With Generative AI, it is possible to do this within minutes. 

This means that AI widely opens the doors of creativity to almost anyone. One conversation worth having is the impact of this on the creator economy. As today, the creator economy market is worth $60 billion per year, and it’s expected to grow at a rate of approximately 9% until 2024, reaching $75 billion.

Due to the introduction of AI, we won’t always need creators to make content because AI has the ability to generate content automatically, which could disrupt traditional content creation methods. Savvy programmers could control automated AI-generated content in various topics and media, creating massive content farms and generating income that would make Disney blush.

Another worry is the algorithm. AI algorithms are increasingly used to personalize content recommendations, which can help creators reach a wider audience.  But with AI, curation, and creation could be handled by the same machines, generating on-demand content that perfectly matches viewers’ cravings. A Tik Tok on steroids, where creators are now automated machines rather than humans.  This could also lead to a concentration of power in the hands of a few big platforms that control the algorithms and leave human creators out on the bench.

One main issue of concern that is already heavily seeping into the creative world is the issue of copyright. AI can also help enforce copyright law by identifying and flagging instances of infringement, but it could also create new challenges for copyright law as AI-generated content blurs the lines of originality and ownership. The current state of US copyright law, which refuses to grant copyright protection to computer-generated content, essentially lowers the value of all creations by allowing for the production of cheap, easily replicable, and non-copyrightable content.

Recently, we wrote a piece on a graphic designer who was commissioned for a job but got rejected days later. The client openly told him that they had chucked a bunch of work references into an AI to generate a similar result for free. The designer received no credit nor compensation. 

The long-term winners remain platforms that facilitate the discovery and distribution of content.  It is ironic that despite having moved from a one-to-many to a many-to-many model of content creation and consumption, we still have a gatekeeper/chokepoint that centralizes all content and viewership. And while the internet seemingly offered promises of diversity and chances for everyone – especially in content creation- it still follows the traditional superstar model, wherein relatively small numbers of people earn enormous amounts of money and dominate the activities they engage in.  Case and point: At YouTube, over 90% of YouTube subscriptions come from less than 5% of the channels.

What is currently included in the creator economy is a large bucket of very various, almost unrelated activities. A podcaster is rarely if never, a photographer or an Onlyfan creator. Most have just one niche, demanding very specific skills. With generative AI, this might change as repurposing is one of its strongest attributes. If you are a substack writer, you can now easily use the same text to generate photos, videos, and even soundtracks, all with one click, and thus extend your distribution options to multiple platforms. In a way, this is liberating for creatives.

While machine-powered competition will increase, individual creators will also benefit from increased reach and visibility. Question is, where will the audience be in this cacophony of content?

Categorized in: