Having worked in media for the best part of 35 years already (yeah, started doing radio and writing really really early on) I feel I’m good at adapting to new tools, new possibilities and new challenges. There’s always a competing format, a new technique, new impulses and new inputs to take into consideration. But I’ll admit I’ve felt a wee bit overwhelmed over the past few weeks and months.

I am, of course, talking about the ever-expanding world of generative AI.

As we continue to develop and advance in the field of generative AI, it can be overwhelming to think about all the possibilities it affords. With this technology, we are able to create entirely new and unique content, ranging from text and audio to images and video. This opens up a vast array of possibilities for industries such as art, media, and entertainment, allowing for the creation of never-before-seen works of art and media. Additionally, generative AI has the potential to revolutionize fields such as healthcare, finance, and education, by providing personalized and effective solutions to a wide range of challenges. While the possibilities are endless, it is important to carefully consider the ethical implications of this technology and ensure its responsible development and use.

Even ChatGPT itself recognizes some of the inherent challenges with generative AI.

You cannot have escaped noticing how people around you publish new kind of content regularly, how new artwork and new pieces of narratives and stories crop up everywhere. How ballet institutions use Midjourney to create their artwork, how graphic novels from hitherto unknown authors (and increasingly belonging to the one-man-band category) are released with stunning frequency and how your friends’ profile pictures suddenly look like they’re drawn by someone from Studio Ghibli.

Generative AI is here to stay. But unlike many other revolutions before this (and I’m seeing a lot of parallels being drawn with the impact of the introduction of tools like Photoshop, for instance), this one is evolving at the speed of light in comparison. The tools are multiplying and getting better and better on an almost daily basis, and what was impossible last week is not only possible but most likely outdated this week.

I’m seeing more and more concerted efforts in place from artists and creatives anxiously seeing their artwork being used as training material for AI tools. How these concerns and fears can be resolved now that the cat is out of the bag is beyond me, but I understand their concerns. Where there’s usually been a gradual phasing out of obsolete skills over years and decades (this just as a comparison, I’m not saying the skills of artists are obsolete!) when new technologies have been introduced, this is now happening over weeks and months.

Myself I’ve been using this for a number of work-related things, from creating artwork for scenes where no archive material has existed to testing out AI as a research tool. For me, I would have had no opportunity to hire a researcher or an artist to create impressions of scenes from the past, so this has just meant more hours working for me and – hopefully – a better end result when it comes to the overall quality of the projects.

When feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities afforded by generative AI, it can be helpful to take a step back and focus on the specific task or problem at hand. Rather than trying to tackle the entire field of generative AI all at once, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This can help to clarify your goals and priorities, and make the task feel more manageable. Additionally, it can be helpful to seek out the advice and support of others who are also working in the field of generative AI. This can provide valuable perspective and insights, and help you to feel less alone in navigating the complexities of this technology. Finally, it is important to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance, to ensure that you are able to approach your work with a clear and focused mind.

Thanks, ChatGPT – somewhat generic advice, but relevant to be sure.

So – after a thrilling five months in generative AI, I still would encourage everyone who hasn’t done so to familiarize themselves with these tools. It’s not just for the creative industries of course – I’ve tried generating complex agreements which have been if not perfect then at least very good templates, I’ve generated imagery that have sparked new inroads into narratives I’ve been working on… no matter where you find yourself professionally, you need to take a look at where these tools are going, just so you can have a feeling for how it will impact your own professional life.

Best of luck. We might need it.

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