Recently I went and played with a few AI apps. Early days, sure. But it did cause some reflection.
Two fronts: One marketing communications and second, drumming – two things I know a bit about. Maybe just enough to make me dangerous … or wrong!
I remember when the “desk top publishing” craze hit, and a lot of folks started doing their own designs. They were mostly horrible, bad fonts and lots of “shading!” I am NOT picking on these guys, but …
Lots has improved since those early days and you might be able tell the difference between professional and amateur marcom – maybe? (I am talking about you Regina Tourism!*) And certainly the proliferation of “templates” made it somewhat better, but let me get into that later.
A fella I met said at the time… “Yes, desktop publishing is horrible, but it will raise the bar for professional typesetting!”
Maybe? I may have missed that trend. It certainly was not blatantly clear to me. And we entered what I call the “Era of the Amateur.” As in, “Hey, how hard can it be?” “It” meaning advertising or copy or marcom … you pick.
In fact, I started to write a book years ago because of that but it stalled because I could not find an industry where the ‘era of the amateur’ had not diluted it. If it is everywhere … well, big whoop on my book idea!
And drumming. More specifically drum machines. They were invented way, way back (1931) and became more popular when the prices were within reach starting in the 70s.
AI is similar to drum machines. AI spits out pablum, similar to a drum machine. And the AI word-pablum is hard to separate from amateur writing, or content or storytelling. And all the graphic templates available, Adobe, Spark, Canva, Pixlr et al. Pablum. Much like stock photos. In certain industries the “globe” and the “hand shake” well, that says it all. If you are anywhere near the insurance business you know what I mean. Progressive ones use the images of “crossing the finish line!”
Amateur is the operative word here. Will it get better? Sure. Drum machines and recording software are now pretty amazing like VSTs* in music software lile Logic or Pro Tools and no doubt AI will become more sophisticated but is it writing? Are drum machine tracks really drumming? That is a topic for a dozen musicologist papers and theses! No matter how good you can program drums it still does not have the “real feel” of a drummer. A musician. Lke AI does not have the style, emotion of a writer. Yet. Yes, I added yet! Who knows?
In marketing everyone goes on and on about content marketing and the importance of storytelling. And the writers allegedly are the Gods of words! Like great drummers were. but we as a society, music lovers in this case, are not rebelling nor protesting music made by machines. It is first and foremost cheaper to produce. Full stop. In marcom I have heard it said … “I’ll do the copy, how hard can it be?” In AI it will become far more prevalent. In music the producers and other musicians do not have to hire drummers anymore in many cases. Yes, some of the top groups may still use them but … “Hey how hard can it be?” Obvioulsy not that hard based on the umpteen million selling records with drum tracks made by machines. Some genres were created through the adoption and use of drum machines!
As we saw in the music biz the drummer is now completely devalued. No one cares. Well, we drummers do and some of us (Like me!) adopted that technology early but it did not replace the income we used to get going to a studio and playing real drums on tracks. Technology and progress. Yay. (I did not jump up and shout that BTW!) And, I am not saying we should go back in time. Technology progresses and we must realize change is inevitable.
Will AI replace writers? No. But it will replace a lot of writing “gigs” and the “How hard can it be?” crowd will flock to it like moths to a flame. (Yeah, once again I am talking about you Regina Tourism!**)
The Era of the Amateur.
One more time with no feeling!
* VST plugins generally run within a digital audio workstation (DAW), to provide additional functionality, though a few standalone plugin hosts exist that support VST. Most VST plugins are either instruments (VSTi) or effects (VSTfx), although other categories exist—for example spectrum analyzers and various meters.