By Johan Steyn, 22 February 2023
“In the smart technology era, we are producing things that can surpass us in their ability to create. Will we steer it to fashion a better world or will the tribalism that has plagued our species since time immemorial result in algorithmic creations that will divide or even destroy us?”
This quote is from an article in December of 2021 (“Artificial intelligence: our creation has become creator”). Artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is able to create in the same way humans do is not a novel concept. However, the ability of algorithms to create is exponentially expanding with the rapid advances of this technology.
Generative AI refers to machine intelligence that generates new knowledge rather than only assessing or acting on existing data. Models of generative AI can create content such as blog posts, code, poetry, and artwork. The next words are anticipated using complex machine learning models based on previous word sequences, while the next images are predicted using words describing earlier visuals. Conversational applications such as chatbots, code generation and marketing content creation are already possible with generative AI.
The capabilities and diversity of generative AI are increasing at a rapid rate. They are capable of ingesting numerous forms of media, including images, articles, emails, social media postings, audio files, source code and structured data. They can provide original content, translations, responses to questions, sentiment analysis, summaries and even films. These general-purpose content generators could be employed in a variety of business contexts, but marketing is now one of the most prevalent applications of generative AI.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT has caused a media frenzy over the past weeks and has brought AI front and centre in the minds of millions of people. It has resulted in a battle for AI dominance between Microsoft and Google as we have not seen before. This platform is, however, part of a larger ecosystem of generative AI tools that are taking our ability to create alongside our digital colleagues to new heights.
Here are some of the generative AI tools I have been experimenting with:
Compose.ai is a writing assistant tool to help users improve their writing. It is designed for a wide range of writing tasks, from creating effective email subject lines and social media posts to generating entire articles.
Pictory.ai automatically pulls out important points from the recordings you’ve made using Zoom, Teams, and Webinar. It generates high-conversion video sales letters that come complete with music, voiceover, and footage from stock libraries.
Runway ML is home to a multitude of AI tools that allows users to replace image backgrounds, motion tracking in videos, text-to-3D image creation and even audio file cleanup and regeneration.
Tome is a dream come true for the creation of presentations. Based on a user’s initial text input, it generates entire storylines from scratch and builds the slide deck in seconds. It also uses OpenAI’s DALL-E platform to add relevant and newly created images to the slides.
Legalise Decoder uses AI and natural language understanding to extract the key points in legal documents. This is a great tool for reviewing lengthy nondisclosure and other attorney-generated documents.
Space prohibits me from listing the host of other tools that have been blowing my AI-hungry mind. Technology has become a creator and its ability to generate helpful content expands daily.
• Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow at Stellenbosch University and founder of AIforBusiness.net