A.I.’s impact on yesterday’s creative business models

Interest in A.I. has exploded thanks to OpenAI’s recent release of ChatGPT. If you’re an artist or creator, this is a huge event, and it’s right of you to pay attention. Tyler Cowen writes:

ChatGPT excels at producing ordinary, bureaucratic prose, written in an acceptable but non-descript style. In turn, we are likely to better understand how much of our society is organized around that basis, from corporate brochures to regulations to second-tier journalism. The rewards and status will go down for those who produce such writing today, and the rewards for exceptional originality are likely to rise. What exactly can you do to stand out from the froth of the chat bots?

I’ve already seen this trend take place in content marketing; a couple of years ago, a friend’s co-founder would use an A.I. writer to generate text based on a long tail keyword, edit it with Yoast, and start ranking for very non-competitive search terms.

By contrast, the most exciting content marketing doesn’t appear as that; they appear as graphic novels (see Postman’s API First World, PDF). Mere quality doesn’t quite describe the shift here; it takes dialing up originality and surprise. In other words, more creative doing.

If you can’t find a reason to get excited about making it, nobody else will be excited to read it.

A note on freemium:

One current common strategy is to give away a lot of writing, or images, for free on the web, and use the resulting publicity to build an audience for more commercial outputs, such as books and lectures and artworks. In the future, that may be asking for trouble, as the bots will copy you and in essence you will be training your competitors for free. It will work only if you can produce charisma and celebrity, two traits that will rise in importance.

This non-digital, limited edition, style of placement has taken place in the recording arts; consider Wu Tang’s now famous Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, or Ryan Leslie taking his music away from platforms and gating it behind his own paywall.

See also a business model blending creativity and expertise, pricing, in magnitudes, and less marketing, more teaching.

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