The Coming Glut of AI-Made Content (Comment of the Week)

Much interesting conversation on whether we’ll pay for entertainment content created by AI — including, ironically but inevitably, a couple comments from Spam bots — with longtime reader Nadeja pointing to a coming glut of AI content:

I think buying content that is mostly made by AI will eventually have no point. The smarter the AI gets, the less human input and effort is needed. But goods and services are valued because of scarcity, which means that people want them more than they are available. Creative content, even though it can sell infinite copies, is still valuable because only a few can produce a good book, let alone a Nebula prize book or an Oscar-worthy movie.

If everyone can create content by just asking an AI, then it becomes common and effortless like drawing a stick man. It’s like selling ice to penguins in Antarctica or paying for bottled air when you can breathe for free.

Nadeja asks us to consider a near-ish future point where we can ask ChatGPT and its successors to generate quality entertainment content:

Imagine one day asking an AI to create a love story movie for you: ‘GPT-N, please make me a romantic film with […]’ and it says: ‘Sure, here is a masterpiece for you, get ready to cry’. And everyone can do that. Then, the scarcity value of creative content would decrease, and so would its price and appeal.

So where would be the scarcity and value to pay? If it’s a service, you would pay the monthly fee to the few companies that provide such AI service. If it can run locally, you would pay those few companies that produce hardware capable of running such AI locally.

1. I think art has a value also as shared culture, other than entertainment.
2. Artists also use art to express themselves.
3. Despite industrialization and digital art, handcrafted item can still be appreciated. So grab your canvas and brushes!

Yes to all three points! To illustrate point 1 and 2 with a recent example, consider The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once. A commercially and artistically successful Oscar-award winning movie, it’s hard to imagine a program like ChatGPT creating a script exactly like that, since it’s such a uniquely personal expression of the creators’ background — both of the Daniels’ relationship with their mothers and kung fu/science fiction movies, and particularly Daniel Kwan’s history as a child of Asian-American immigrants. And is also uniquely resonant in the culture for that very reason.

Then again, I can also imagine a script like that of Everything being produced by ChatGPT — but only if The Daniels were specifically feeding it prompts. But in that case, people would probably pay to see the movie only if the credits said something like, “Story by The Daniels & ChatGPT.”

Image credit: A24.

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