ANAHEIM, Calif. — While workers across industries reckon with whether artificial intelligence could make their jobs obsolete, many digital content creators have openly embraced a future they see as both inevitable and exciting.
Seth Martino, who describes himself as a fatherhood and fashion content creator, said learning more about AI tools was a top priority as he navigated panels at VidCon, the annual conference for digital creators, fans, executives and online brands.
“It was just like AI hit the ground running and people are really working hard to capitalize on it so they’re creating all these apps around AI, but there’s people that are still like, ‘Wait, what does it do and how do we use it?’” Martino said. “I want to ride that train, too, and so I want to learn the most powerful way to use it effectively.”
As an explosion of generative AI tools sweeps the world, digital content creators are especially eager to explore these new technological innovations.
During one VidCon panel, hundreds of creators raised their hands when asked by the moderator how many of them were incorporating artificial intelligence into their work. Later, when asked how many were worried AI may one day take their jobs, just about every hand in the room dropped.
YouTube videos about generative AI tools have received more than 1.7 billion views this year alone, according to YouTube’s 2023 Culture & Trends Report, and 60% of more than 25,000 viewers surveyed said they were open to watching creators who use AI to generate their content.
Kevin Allocca, head of culture and trends at YouTube, said public interest in such tools has accelerated dramatically over the past six months.
Everybody is interested in this topic right now and what the implications can be
-Kevin Allocca, head of Culture & Trends at YouTube
“Everybody is interested in this topic right now and what the implications can be,” Allocca said. “There’s a lot of interest in how it can help with workflows and translations and that type of stuff, which is a little less central to the viewing experience, but a lot of people are trying to figure out what it means for their particular form of creativity.”
That sentiment rings true for YouTube livestreamer Myth, whose real name is Ali Kabbani.
Kabbani said while it’s fun to play around with how AI can generate content — by self-cloning, for example — the most powerful AI tools for creators right now appear to be those that simply boost productivity by shaving down time needed for more tedious tasks, like video editing.
These tools also lower the barrier to entry for aspiring content creators, he said, because they no longer need to learn video editing or hire an editor to start producing content.
“People that are getting into content creation, now more than ever, are going to be more competitive because of that,” Kabbani said, “and they’re going to have a better chance of becoming more solidified content creators because of that.”
Liam Trumble, creative director of social agency Superdigital, said AI can also help creators with the business side of things, like negotiating with brands and drawing up invoices. But he cautioned that such tools can only aid, not replace, human minds.
“It’s not perfect in its current form,” said Trumble. “And this honestly is a blanket statement I would say for most AI in general: it has to be looked at with an outside set of eyes and nothing is ready to ship right out the door.”
Samir Chaudry, cohost of "The Colin and Samir Show," said he’s encouraging all his team members to use AI in their day-to-day jobs. He said tools such as Descript, AutoPod and Midjourney have made it possible to expedite the post-production process so that everyone can spend more time focusing on tasks they enjoy — those that rely on human imagination.
Chaudry said it's understandable that people will be uncomfortable wading into uncharted territories, at least until the world moves toward a healthy balance of regulation and freedom to explore.
But he said he's more optimistic than most about how AI might shape the future of human interaction.
“My prediction is that I think we’ll see a rise in live performance. I think stand-up comedy will be more interesting to watch. I think plays will be more interesting to watch. I think collective human experiences like going to the movies will be more interesting,” Chaudry said. “In a year or two when a lot of stuff is altered or generated by AI, we will value human perspectives in a way that we maybe have lost touch with.”