July 17 2024

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Robots taking over the world is a conspiracy, right?

I mean, we control computers… they don’t control us, right?

We are the creators of our own destiny, right?

Well, creative people… it’s time to wake up and smell the computing. ‘Cause AI is about to take your job… and they don’t have a conscience or any sort of remorse. They are a robot.

AI is no joke, maybe some of the movies back in the day were pretty campy… but by no means is it funny today. In fact, it’s outright scary. We have been teaching computers to learn from us, our skills, and abilities. We did this, of course, to enhance our timing, bring in more revenue for ourselves, make the world bigger and better, all while feeding the beast. What we didn’t know was that we were teaching it how to do what we did, but faster and cheaper.

Every single bit of data we give to the internet is now at AI’s disposal. There are no rules against taking code and personal information we give up for free daily. There may be some rules against stealing branding, designs, songs, some artwork, and movies…but everything else is really up for grabs. And heck, we actually don’t know where AI is grabbing it all yet. AI is pulling a Napster, except there is no one to sue.

It took us 20 years to establish a way to make money off music through the internet; before that, it was just called stealing. The battle was fought for years and concluded with “you may use this, just give us credit,” or a streaming site that gives artists cents on the dollar. Looks like computers won that fight, and we just went along with it.

Your personal property, your creative ideas, your unique approach to everything… is put on the internet. And believe it or not, you’re the one who did that! You gave up all your assets to the AI god, and now it is ruling with everything the world has given it. That is annoying, right?

But so are taxes. Remember, the government said that wouldn’t last forever? Now it takes most of your income, and we’re just cool with it. Why? Well, we let it happen for one, and now we have no control over it.

That’s why creatives have to get in front of AI before AI gets in front of them.

Think about the ad age, when advertisers had floors of talent to come up with great ads for clients. They had a copywriting floor where taglines, headlines, company values, and strategies would be created. An art floor where illustrations, color schemes, and photography would be produced by creatives. They had a sales floor where the big decisions would be made on how their clients’ money would be spent. They had a full marketing floor where ad buys would be discussed, brand identities would be developed, and so on!

That sounds like a huge operation, and it was destroyed by a very small, personal computer. A computer and a Carhartt toque-wearing, coffee snob that’s younger than your pet. Sure that’s the current status and we’re used to it; it opened up doors for the small guy to do some stuff for big clients while making great money. But it did change an industry, and only over the last 20 years. I’m sure lots of agencies closed their doors because they didn’t see it coming.

Right now we can see the future, AI is open-sourced. We’re in a beta world with AI right now. The web was created (or made public to users) in 1983… but no one really used it to their advantage like we do today, until around 1993. So it took ten years from the creation of the platform to then be open-sourced and free to use.

That’s where we’re at with AI today.

Overall, the pattern shows that these new technologies are 10-15 years away from eating your lunch. Lots of legal issues right now, lots of content it can pull from without permission, etc. It’s free or cheap, but I would guess we’re about 24 months from seeing everything lock down, cost more, legalities stepping in. That’s when people like us need to either own an AI business, work in an AI business, or create unique content in the AI space. Otherwise, we’ll be in a factory somewhere making widgets. Don’t believe me? AI won’t take your lunch first, the big corps will that own the AI…and then AI will take them over.

Sounds too nuts right?

When the owners of google said, “Invest in us” in 1998… everyone laughed at them. That’s because they saw the web as a playground, not a threat. Do they think the same way today…I don’t know. It’s bigger than them and it’s almost a scary place. Google isn’t a service website anymore, it’s a data trap of everyone’s personal and professional information from around the world; in one place. That didn’t take long. So think strategically about what’s going to happen 10 years from today… and how you can be the guy or gal that said, “I believed in it and knew it would change an industry. so I jumped in” That’s where I’m at, and that’s why I’ve jumped in!

When all this fuss started in AI, I tested it. This was only 2 years ago. I tested it’s skills, and they came up pretty short. So very short, I chuckled to myself. Fast forward 600 days, and I’m creating ads, illustrations, photo-realistic mood boards, 3D renders, and client concepts in a fraction of the time it used to take me.

Yes, you can say I’m part of the problem, using “everyone else’s graphics around the world” to create what I want. But don’t forget, these are low-res, sometimes wacky outputs that can’t actually be used. It still needs us, a creative. AI also has a look, so you have to know how to manipulate it enough and make it work within the designs you need so people can’t point it out easy.

To test it and test my abilities along with it, I created 6 ads for some of my clients over the years. I created 6 ads in 6 hours. This was from start to finish using Midjourney and Photoshop. I couldn’t believe how great it was. The prompts resulted in some defects for sure, 8 fingers on one hand, two arms, no teeth on some. You’ll see the issue in the first couple of prompts you do, trust me.

But overall, the final product looked pretty darn good if you have an eye for details and the ability to fix it up. What I didn’t expect is for the results of the AI generated images to give me further ideas in order to enhance my ads. Because there are no limits, you can think bigger. No budget limitations on AI, there are no talent issues, there are lenses you can afford, lighting you could never get before, gear you don’t have to lift!

What these renders showed me, and the work I’ve been creating with AI’s help since… is exactly this; AI is working for me and I can tell it what to do. So work with it now, so that you can understand how to control it as it gets better, so you can ultimately sell it. Otherwise it will outsell you.

Computers steal millions of jobs per year; it’s been happening since the late 60s and it’s ramping up daily. That’s not a new trend, but what’s scary is that these computers may soon not need an operator. So make it that they do, and make it so that you’re that person.

Ideas are one thing computers can not produce, nothing unique from your brain, for you clients can just come to life. But everything else is really up for grabs. So get in front of AI, before it gets in front of you.

Todd Neilson






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