Artificial intelligence (AI) has continued to disrupt the creative sectors in the last few months. When OpenAI unveiled its video generator Sora, everybody wondered what this would mean for content creators. Are we in the middle of a big paradigm shift? This new chapter also involves not-so-gracious inventions, as the proliferation of deep fakes prove. 

Will these downsides of the AI big shift cause audiences to seek refuge in subscription-based platforms? This is a space where trust in creators has remained intact, as Stuart Meczes, Creative Director at Contnt, a pioneer in the creator economy, suggests. He also argues that Sora means a new frontier in media, where challenges and opportunities will converge to redefine digital entertainment.

We sat down with him and discussed the different perspectives emerging on the impact of AI on content creation. The conversation highlighted the importance of content platforms regulating AI-generated content and emphasized the need for education among creators and fans. Additionally, the evolving dynamics of creator-fan relationships were explored, underscoring the value of authenticity and choice in subscription-based platforms. 

Art persists alongside new tech 

At first it is easy to be skeptical about the value of new tech, yet a renewed sense of optimism has to prevail. Stuart remembers when the Kindle was introduced and people declared it the end of printed media, but today the physical book is still in good shape. For him, storytelling holds timeless appeal. 

“While AI-generated books may become trendy, they lack the depth of human creativity. Despite initial fears that AI would overshadow traditional art, we’re witnessing a resurgence in appreciation for both. Artists now use AI to enhance their work, not replace it entirely. Sora’s technical prowess is undeniable, but ethical concerns arise when misused,” says Contnt’s creative director.  

Deepfakes and data manipulation are already prevalent issues, he suggests. “But the demand for reliable content will promptly shift away from AI-driven platforms towards more authentic spaces. This underscores the need for robust AI detection mechanisms. People will naturally gravitate towards spaces where authenticity is valued, signaling a potential reevaluation of our relationship with AI,” adds Stuart. 

Reflecting on the history of art, each new medium, like photography, caused significant disruptions. Yet, traditional forms like portrait painting persisted, evolving alongside new trends like surrealism and cubism. A similar evolution may occur with AI’s integration into content creation. History suggests that traditional forms endure, adapting to new technologies rather than disappearing entirely.

“Whenever new technologies emerge, they inevitably bring a period of disruption. This disruption is actually beneficial as it fosters innovation and prompts us to reassess things from different perspectives. Then comes the settling period, where everything finds its place,” comments Stuart.  

The authenticity question

Delving into the question of authenticity, what does this mean for content platforms in general? Navigating the terrain of trust-building amidst the proliferation of AI-generated content could be tricky. Some users might be comfortable with AI generating entire books, but there comes a point where novelty wears off, and the question arises: what purpose does it serve? What exactly is the role of AI in this context? These are the questions that content platforms must grapple with as they seek to maintain trust and relevance in an evolving landscape.

For Stuart monitoring is key. Content creation platforms bear the responsibility of utilizing their own AI capabilities to monitor the content uploaded onto their platforms, he says. “Additionally, clear labeling is essential. Users may not always accurately identify whether their content is AI-based or merely assisted by AI in the editing process. Hence, content platforms must ensure transparent labeling and flagging systems.”

But we had to agree that the humanistic dimension has to be considered. Education and empowerment are vital, not only for creators but also for fans. Both parties need to recognize and understand AI-generated content. Creators should feel valued for their unique contributions and not feel pressured to rely solely on AI-driven trends or “clout chasing.” Sustainable creativity stems from traditional values rather than fleeting trends.

What’s the point of AI creation?

Amazon is already overflown by books written by AI. Is anybody reading them? It is hard to imagine that they will become top reads for readers worldwide. The creation question is more important than ever. 

“It’s a profound question: what truly matters?” Stuart asks himself. “Beyond mere experimentation, there’s a pervasive drive for financial gain through AI and other shortcuts. This pursuit reflects broader societal issues, where the ethos of “work smart, not hard” has sometimes evolved into a culture of taking shortcuts at any cost. However, AI, like any tool, is most effective in the hands of those who understand how to wield it. For entrepreneurial minds dedicated to their craft, AI can facilitate remarkable creations. Conversely, for those solely focused on quick financial gain, AI may exacerbate existing ethical dilemmas. While it’s a complex issue, through our content efforts, we endeavor to mitigate these challenges to the best of our ability.”

Some may view AI as a shortcut to success, but it’s a matter open to debate. Nevertheless, it raises an interesting question: Will there come a time when content is clearly labeled as AI-generated or human-created? 

To label or not to label

Content platforms have to decide if and where they may draw a firm line when it comes to AI-generated content. Is it better to prohibit AI-generated content altogether, or adopt a policy similar to Amazon and other platforms, requiring users to disclose if AI was involved in the creation process?

“Firstly, we want to emphasize that we will not permit AI personas on our platform. These AI-generated influence models contradict our core principle of fostering genuine interaction among users. However, we are open to allowing AI-assisted content and generated comments. In a subscription-based platform, users have the autonomy to choose what they engage with, and we respect that. While it’s true that AI may play a role in creating certain content, we want users to have transparency. Therefore, we ask users to label AI-generated content accordingly,” says Stuart. 

The concept of “third places” is something that Contnt also wants to push. By fostering dedicated communities around specific interests or genres, such as gaming or chess, they are aiming to move away from the generic experience of mainstream social media platforms. Instead of being lumped together based on hashtags, they are building communities where like-minded individuals can gather, interact, and share their passions.

It’s about recognizing a significant shift away from the influencer-driven, trend-focused content that has dominated social media in the past. Today, audiences are growing weary of the superficiality and immediacy of such content. Approximately 70% of influencer posts are now swiftly scrolled past by users. 

“AI struggles to replicate the authenticity and depth found in human-centric activities. People want to witness genuine singing, storytelling, and other expressions of human creativity—not artificial imitations. This preference for authenticity ties back to the idea of building communities based on genuine appreciation rather than fleeting trends,” Stuart comments. 

The key distinction between traditional social media and subscription-based platforms, suggests Stuart, lies in one word: choice. “On platforms like TikTok, for instance, while the algorithm may tailor content to your preferences, you lack control over what you see and whether it’s authentic. You can’t opt out of viewing AI-generated content, for instance. In contrast, subscription-based platforms empower users with autonomy and choice. You actively choose which communities to engage with and whether to interact with AI technology. This reflects a growing desire for authenticity and choice among users,” concludes Stuart.