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Last newsletter (which you can read here), I had a bit of a rant about AI images. I’ve got a couple more thoughts to add about the growing use of AI and how it relates to creativity.

I’ve been thinking about a Hollywood blockbuster vs a film which is a singular vision. Two obvious examples are a Marvel film and a Tarantino film.

Both can be commercially successful but they come from a different place. The blockbuster is entertaining but in the end its calories consumed for the pleasure of it. There is nothing wrong with that and I devour Marvel movies until I’m lying on the sofa bloated and groaning. 

I’ll watch a Tarantino film to see a singular vision brought to life. The film would not have happened without him. It doesn’t always mean it was good but I can see his sticky fingerprints all over it and I appreciate the craft that’s gone into it. 

A great big budget CGI driven movie can be a thrilling and amazing experience. the culmination of countless hugely talented creators and artists. But too often can also feel cold and lifeless. 

I believe the difference between an emotionally charged adrenaline fuelled thrill ride and a turgid two hours of lifeless action sequences is the human element. The investment of the creatives involved and the latitude they’re given to strut their stuff, makes the difference. We’re seeing the downside of so many CGI heavy films stretching the talent thin combined with crushing get it done deadlines.

I’m sure AI will become a standard go to tool for generating huge amounts of CGI for film. Will it be a distillation of what’s gone before that appears to hit all the numbers but is fundamentally just a formula with the human element removed leading to ever diminishing returns creatively?

I think it’s going to get a lot tougher for people like me who play in the very commercial end of the pool. On the surface we will seem more replaceable and our skill more replicable. But as the human element gets removed, the output will become more formulaic and cold.

On the upside, I do believe the emergence of AI has the potential to vastly expand the creative capability for artists and storytellers across all fields. Creators who can use it as tool to shape their vision and generate more content than they would otherwise be able. 

So we could get beautifully crafted low budget films with production values that would never have been previously possible.

I guess the question for all creators is, are you driving the artistic creation or getting a cup of Earl Grey and a digestive biscuit* while the AI makes a bunch of decisions for you?

*For those not in the know, this is the ultimate tea and biscuit combo (now that’s controversy).