What is Generative AI, Why Has it Gained Such Popularity and, Honestly, What Do You Need to Know?

December 15, 2022

We are living through an early renaissance of generative AI platforms and they are, frankly, blowin our minds. What do you need to know about today’s top AI platforms and have can they supercharge your business objectives? Let’s dive in!

AI, or artificial intelligence, has been a staple of popular culture for decades. From science fiction novels and movies to video games and television shows, AI has played a definitive role in shaping our cultural imagination. In recent years the popularity of practical AI in popular culture has exploded, with AI creations making their way onto social platforms and beyond.

But what is behind the recent boom of generative AI, especially all over our social media feeds? Let’s dive in.

Let’s start with the basics of what AI is. Simply put, AI is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. In most AI tools, you can input text or use voice commands, and then are swiftly given relevant results and assistance. In little to no time, AI is used to help people get information or generate answers for creative and leisure pursuits. 

Some of the most well-liked pieces of media in pop-culture have taken inspiration from AI. For example, famous movie franchises like The Matrix and Star Wars have elements associated with AI. You can think of today’s generative AI as helpful as C-3PO was to Anakin in Star Wars. 

In essence, AI provides users an advantage in addressing their needs in both real-world and digital space. The World Economic Forum found that 6 out of 10 adults across over 20 countries expect AI to positively affect their lives in the next three to five years. And this is beginning in earnest with social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok becoming more interactive and personalized is due to AI-related features. 

Why are we seeing this uptick in interest and use of AI content recently? Let’s talk about the three ways AI is already positively affecting people's lives:

1. Rapid advancements in the field of AI itself.

In the last few years, we've seen tremendous strides in the development of AI technology, with companies like Google and Amazon investing heavily in AI research and development. As AI technology advances, it's only natural that our cultural fascination with technology will grow as well.

One of the most recent and notable advancements is the development of an AI Chatbot, named ChatGPT, that provides conversation inputs that mimic how people respond. You can type in questions like, “Write a blog post about the pros and cons of video editing,” and get a highly cohesive output in minutes. Something that could have taken you an hour or two to write, depending on how well-versed you are on the topic you are writing about.

ChatGPT works so well that it has gained over one million daily active users in less than a week, a feat that took Instagram and Spotify about 150 days to achieve. 

Why did ChatGPT gain traction so fast? 

People are already in love with the tool simply because it makes their lives easier. A trove of data researchers trained ChatGPT by gathering information from across the internet and other sources through 2021, so in return, its response to prompts is an easier, more efficient way for individuals to brainstorm, talk through something, or come up with preliminary versions of projects they are working on in half the time.  

And who doesn’t love having a little fun when they need a break by searching “Who am I?” or “Tell me a Joke” or, my personal favorite, “Write me a limerick about two ghosts falling in love” to see what ChatGPT comes up with? Try out the limerick hack; it honestly never fails to put a smile on my face.    

2.  Another factor contributing to the popularity of AI is the increasing influence of the technology in our daily lives.

As AI-powered devices like smartphones, TVs, and speakers become more prevalent in our daily lives, it's only natural that we will become more comfortable with AI entering our day-to-day through social channels too. 

One way that AI is entering our feeds is by helping individuals unleash their creative flair through self-expression. 

Have you heard of Lensa AI? If you don’t recognize the name, you probably saw your friend's AI-generated selfies (or tried it for yourself) and posted them to Instagram last month during the peak of the Lensa craze.

The app turns selfies into avatars that you can customize across 50 styles or time periods. All you have to do is upload 10-20 source photos, and the app combines those to create entirely new images. While the AI-enabled app has been around since 2018, its popularity is just now coming to light as people have become more comfortable with AI platforms and curious about experimenting with their looks virtually. 

3. AI helps to encourage creativity by easily producing work in various mediums, like photography, music, film, motion design, fiction, or painting.

Besides avatars, AI makes multimedia and art production achievable through the simple imputation of words. There is no need to complicate creation because you can use an AI tool to conveniently turn your visions, emotions, and thoughts into creative outputs.

A noteworthy AI image generator is DALL·E launched in January of last year. It quickly gained popularity acquiring more than 1.5 million users that collectively produce two million images a day using DALL·E. 

Owned by the same company as ChatGPT, DALL·E works similarly by allowing users to type in a prompt like “New York in the snow during Christmas” and get a few different generated options to choose from. 

Why has this AI image-generation tool become so popular over the past few months? The prevalence of AI tools blurs the line between having an artist's skill and being an artist’s idea source. Also, because there is flexibility to create and recreate non-exhaustively, the chance to produce unique and compelling content is high.

What is the allure of generative AI today? Why is it able to cut through all the noise on our social feeds?

Overall, the importance of novelty and AI’s ability to capture imaginations in today’s jaded, “we’ve seen it all before” era cannot be underestimated. The tools being rolled out hugely lower the entry barrier and allow people to expand their creative ideas further. They are, as a whole, intuitive for laypeople to use, fast and affordable. 

Down the road, however, the real power of generative AI might manifest itself in new markets. Who knows, maybe generative AI will usher in a new era of applications that we had never thought of before. I know many people are asking and wondering about AI “replacing” humans. I personally can’t see this future. You need the human element to write the prompts, give nuance and context and continue to push the technology until the desired outcome is achieved. These human elements are not so easily replaced. 

If you’re curious to talk more in-depth about these concepts and where we see the future heading. Offbeat has a top-tier team that has been engaged in innovative digital media content production for years. We are pioneers in launching virtual humans integrated with visual technology and work with cutting-edge media and formats daily. 

Interested in learning where your company can run a campaign in a world that is becoming more comfortable with virtual spaces? Let's talk.

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