AI's Galloping Evolution And The Adaptation Challenge

May 14, 2024 09:25 AM By Paul Boucher

So yesterday brought another iterative development that is genuinely another leap in the AI technology changing our lives, and livelihoods.

This is the latest version of ChatGPT, ChaptGPT 4o, the “o” in the name standing for Omni.

This is not an either/or reflection.

One of the most talked about new features is the new voice interaction within the software and how natural it can sound when interacting with a human. Remove the human interaction, and once again the AI voice can sound mechanical in short order.

To my eye, that single aspect continues to point the way forward for creatives of all stripes, although my context today is voice acting: “without human interaction…”

The way forward is a narrow bridge to a future where humans make themselves an indispensable enhancement to pure AI.

So, as always in a sustainable business for small vendors like individual voice actors, the challenge is to have a “value” conversation, as opposed to a “price” conversation.

For creatives of all stripes, how do you express the value you bring as the enhancement to AI being used? How does your contribution make the result exceptional, rather than momentarily startling?

How can you quantify that value? What makes your value a compelling business proposition? What does it bring to the table that the tech by itself cannot? How do you pitch it?

All this evolution has me thinking about these questions. I don’t have any definitive answers. I will be testing my thoughts in real-world situations with clients and continue to have conversations with them to learn more. I encourage other creatives to do the same.

My feelings are also informed by an interesting exchange with one of my eLearning clients last week.

He confirmed what we’ve been feeling and seeing in the industry. A lot of low value, low-stakes eLearning is being automated by AI voices. That’s not to mean that all of this learning, processed (it’s not being narrated, only humans do that) is of low-quality.

It used to be painfully obvious when this sort of learning landed. It was awful to listen to, and “off” in a way that became obvious after listening for short lengths of time.

As the technology gallops through its evolution, that’s changed.

This particular client said “out loud” what a lot of people on the voice acting side of the industry are fearing: that many clients are clamouring for “automation” rather than human choices on the narration side.

That’s due to a large number of factors, and although cost and profitability are high on the list, there are others. Speed. Simplicity. Consistency. All things in which the tech can easily notch wins against humans.

It’s also due to clients wanting to be perceived as being on the bleeding edge, so they will “overuse” the new toy, and there will be an inevitable “correction” as the technology finds its place.

The client also mentioned a new term – which led me further down this path to thinking that there’s a high-value role for humans in this specific field – “meta humans.”

For a meta human to exist, there must be a human base. At “this point” in the technology’s development, like many other AI attempts at “purely synthetic” creation, if something is purely based on a synthetic base, the quality of the creation degrades very quickly to a human eye or ear - from a human perspective.

In short, humans are essential to the equation. It’s up to us humans to make our case convincingly to the other humans.