AI Generated Content

AI Generated Content: Are Content Creators Under Threat?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of many things, including the production of AI generated content.

Everyone is aware that Artificial Intelligence relies on machine learning. This is possible through the use of Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), algorithms which are modeled after the human brain.

More recently, AI has been able to create visual content such as images and videos through Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).

Artificial Intelligence currently plays a very active role across many industries. From cyber security to finance to eCommerce, many of us are impacted by or interact with AI every day. Of course, the importance of AI is only set to increase in the future.

This article will focus specifically on the AI generated content. Besides exploring what we know AI is can achieve today in 2019, discussion of its possible future impact on content creators and society as a whole is also important.

AI Generated Content in 2019

AI generated content

Through GANS, Artificial Intelligence can currently create life-like images of non-existent humans. It can also synthesize voices, music, video and text. Interestingly, it can already edit videos and use the data from a single photo to create a full 3D animation of a person.

It is important to note that a key limitation of AI-generated content is that it is not capable of creating original content like a human can. Instead, AI relies upon a pool of existing content in which to synthesize new content.

The internet, of course, is a major source of such content. It is mind-boggling to think about how many photos, selfies, videos, voice recordings etc. are being uploaded each day. If you are particularly interested in AI-generated or manipulated content, the “r/MediaSynthesis” subreddit is an excellent place to keep up to date with advancements.

While this artificially generated or manipulated content may not be 100% perfect in the present, it lays the groundwork for future learning. And of course, the whole point of machine learning is an improvement.

The telltale signs of AI generated content may vanish altogether in the future. Currently, images of non-existent humans created by AI feature telltale signs such as asymmetrical facial features, as well as odd teeth, clothing, and backgrounds. As improvements in artificially manufactured content emerge, the measures used to identify them must also advance.

Impact on Content Creators

AI generated content

AI generated content presents both positive and negative implications for content creators. For artists, AI may be able to help lighten the load with the generation of backgrounds for longer projects like graphic novels. AI can also perform tasks like adding colour to artwork – saving time and effort.

Graphic designers and web designers may find that AI generated content poses a future threat. Companies like Grid  offer websites that design themselves – encouraging clients to ditch human contact for automation. Fortunately, many clients at present would likely prefer a human professional to cover their graphics/web needs due to customization. However, with advances in this technology it could become a greater player in the industry.

Online Influencers may find artificially generated content problematic from a public relations standpoint. Creepier members of a fan base or individuals with a grudge may create defamatory content using AI. As Influencers make a living by sharing parts of their lives on the internet, the data needed for an AI to carry out such tasks is plentiful. An AI generated Influencer is an interesting inevitability.

AI is also being used to generate stories and written content. What AI is currently achieving in this regard is impressive, it lacks the nuances possessed by humans to create compelling content. It is unlikely that AI will be responsible for writing the scripts to Hollywood blockbusters and penning award-winning novels in the future, but who knows?

Copywriters are more at risk. In the future, businesses and advertising agencies may prefer to opt for advanced AI to create a stream of relevant content at a cheaper cost. Future AI that can create excellent copy may affect freelancers in this field.

Open AI launched a particularly impressive text generation algorithm earlier this year called GPT-2. Interestingly, the algorithm can write an entire fake article from a headline, complete with fake quotes and statistics. There are also fake news fears over the algorithm, with the system reportedly potentially too dangerous to release.

AI is also able to synthesize music – while it may not bring anything revolutionary in terms of sound, artificially generated music could become its own genre. By synthesizing existing music, AI could create similar music to old bands – perhaps even new music albums could be created and released long after a band’s time. AI could also manufacture chart music by drawing on data in existing songs.

On the plus side, AI generated music could provide a stream of cheaper, copyright free music for content creators and businesses.

A darker impact on society

AI generated content

Fake news is already a recognised problem within modern society. Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) will make a complicated issue even murkier. In the future, video evidence will not be enough as it could be tampered with.

Not just by having footage spliced and selected (which anyone could do now), but by having entire objects removed or generated. The background could entirely change, as with any people present and what they say. It will become incredibly important to verify the validity of content online.

“Deepfakes”, which are images of people are superimposed on different images and video by AI, have already hit the headlines. The threat of shady individuals manipulating AI to create pornography, fake videos and impersonate public figures has been well communicated. Celebrities, politicians, business people and even everyday members of the public will likely be at risk.

Fraudsters could rely on the technology to blackmail or trick their way into acquiring vast sums of money. For high profile figures, reputational damage could be immense.

Fortunately, cyber security companies are taking this issue seriously. The Financial Times reports that AI is being used to detect deepfakes and AI manipulated content by such companies. Mechanisms to verify media are also in the works, and will likely play a huge part in verifying the validity of content in the future.

The presence of bots on social media is not a new thing. However, with the ability to synthesize content there is the possibility such bot accounts could attempt to be legitimatized through fake media such as images and video. Potentially unscrupulous businesses could use these fake accounts to add weight to customer reviews, employee testimonials and opinions shared online.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are an impressive feat, but are responsible for making the legitimacy of content more confusing in the future. Deepfakes have the potential to spread misinformation through impersonation. Fortunately, cyber security companies are acting now to develop mechanisms of identifying AI generated or manipulated content.

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence will likely revolutionize many industries. Content creation is of course one of these aspects impacted by AI, although AI generated content will have a ripple effect on social media and traditional media.

Such artificially manipulated content has the potential to both help and hinder content creators. Some creators such as artists and animators may find that AI helps them by creating assets helpful in production. For others, AI generated content may add extra risk to their profession. Defamation and misinformation are the two most dangerous aspects of ill intentioned generated content.

Regardless, AI generated content or manipulated content is set to improve with time. The saying “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” rings true. Although in the future this will likely extend to visual content also.