I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords
Hello! Ryan here — SRH Copywriter and human. A few months back, Welsh football club owner Ryan Reynolds dropped an ad for Mint Mobile that was “written” in part by ChatGPT. As you know, ChatGPT is a search engine, chatbot and text-generating AI that can quickly churn out all kinds of content — blogs, social posts, sonnets, scripts, screenplays, songs, Reddit AMAs, novels, etc.
The Mint Mobile ad is brilliant, but not because it was written by AI. The script is … fine. Cute even. The ad works because the prompts Reynolds gives ChatGPT are exactly what the ad is trying to sell us. We stick around to see what the AI will turn it into, so we see and hear the message twice. Then we share the ad because ChatGPT is the cool new toy everyone’s freaking out about. Am I freaking out? Heck yeah! I’m also super curious … and maybe a little jealous.
More recently, French DJ David Guetta asked ChatGPT to write a verse in the style of Eminem. Then he fed those lyrics to an AI voice generator to make it sound like Eminem. It wasn't Em’s best work, but I couldn’t tell the difference. And that? Is terrifying. Or incredible. Or silly and inconsequential. It’s something.
Inspired (is that the right word?), I dove into the world of ChatGPT. I gave it some prompts for a limerick about squirrels, lyrics to a pop song about love in the style of Taylor Swift, and a three-minute Ted Talk in the style of Brené Brown. That sort of thing. The AI spit them out.
Here’s the limerick:
In fall, squirrels start to prepare,
Storing nuts with a diligent flair,
They gather and stash,
To create a big cache,
So they won't go hungry, that's their affair.
Here’s a bit of that “Taylor Swift” love song:
You walked into my life, unexpected
But now my heart is connected
I can't help but smile, feel so alive
Every moment with you, feels like a high
You're my sweetest dream, my fairytale
I never knew love like this could prevail
My heart beats for you, can't you see?
I'm lost in your love, please set me free
You make me feel like a million bucks
With you, I know I'm in good luck
I love the way you hold me tight
Your love shines brighter than the moon at night
And here’s part of the TED Talk:
For many of us, vulnerability is a scary word. It conjures up images of weakness, exposure, and shame. But the truth is, vulnerability is the birthplace of courage, creativity, and connection.
As a researcher, I've spent years studying vulnerability and shame, and what I've found is that the people who are able to embrace vulnerability are the ones who are able to live wholeheartedly. They are the ones who have the courage to be themselves, to show up authentically, and to connect deeply with others.
But embracing vulnerability isn't easy. It requires us to be willing to take risks, to be uncomfortable, and to be honest with ourselves and others about our fears and struggles. It requires us to let go of the idea of perfection, and to accept that we are imperfect, flawed human beings …
Is any of this good? The limerick is fine, except when it isn’t — I don’t know what “diligent flair” means, but it kind of works. The last line is clunky, though. The “Taylor Swift'' song is generic and terrible. I can see Brené Brown delivering a much better version of this TED Talk … mostly because I already have.
To be fair, my prompts could’ve been better, but overall these seem more negotiated than created. More importantly, they were cobbled together from billions of other things on the internet, so good doesn’t really have anything to do with it; IP law does.
ChatGPT, at least for the moment, seems useful for ideation, as long as it’s a jumping-off point for something better. So this is a thing. Now what?
It’s possible that generative AI will help us become more productive so we’ll have more time to do all the things we really want to do like raise fainting goats on our hobby farms. (How is your hobby farm, by the way? How are your goats? Good, I hope.) Of course, the “three-day workweek, live your most actualized life” narrative that Silicon Valley leans into whenever they shove a disruptive technology into the world has always been wistful bullshit. I love my job, and if I get to be better at it and do more of it, I’m good with that.
But maybe I’m being wildly naive. Maybe generative AI will be the death of all creative work forever, and eventually the internet will be nothing but bots generating content for other bots while most people live in a world that looks depressingly like “The Last of Us” but without zombies. Then again, bots don’t buy anything. And yes, robots have replaced a lot of people who were gainfully employed in factories, but Ford still employs around 186,000 people. Google exists, so do librarians.
We will have to learn how to wrangle AI and get the best out of it. AI isn’t curious about anything, yet. It can be culturally biased and factually wrong, and we’ll still have to watch out for that. And you’ve already seen those Dall-E and Midjourney images with bizarre hands and weird faces. ChatGPT kinda sometimes does that with words. As creatives, we’ll also have to get more human and personal. Say what you will about TSwizzle, but she’s been able to craft her style and voice over the years, and no one else sounds like her.
Brands have to do the same thing, and the best ones already do. But we all know what boring is. We all know what samey-samey looks and sounds like. We ignore it every day. Not to get all Captain Kirk here, but where is the humanity at the heart of your brand? Who are you? What do you believe? What jokes do you love to tell? How are you different? What do you bring to the world? What’s your voice? That’s what your audience will connect with. ChatGPT may or may not help us get there, but that’s where we need to go.
Ideally, generative AI will augment our creativity in the same way Google has become a second memory. ChatGPT will definitely disrupt the world of search, but what if Google’s Assistant could help you find every bit of information you could possibly need and help you transform all of it into something entirely new. Imagine Siri as an actual collaborator, Alexa as a mentor and coach.
If AI can help us unlock wild, engaging, powerful new ideas and change the game in ways we can’t yet imagine, that’d be great. A better, more creative future assisted by AI and powered by human curiosity would be pretty sweet.