July 26, 2023

How big-time creators are using generative AI

Look around and you’ll see all sorts of other interesting ways successful creators are putting AI to use — to collaborate in new ways, reimagine history, and make weird sandwiches.
July 26, 2023

How big-time creators are using generative AI

Look around and you’ll see all sorts of other interesting ways successful creators are putting AI to use — to collaborate in new ways, reimagine history, and make weird sandwiches.
July 26, 2023
Anna Held
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From Descript’s latest survey, we know the creators who are using generative AI have more followers and make more money on their content than those who don’t. So how are the big creators — those with thousands of followers on various platforms — using AI tools? 

For now, most say they’re using it to augment their processes and save time — which we expect from any new technology — and based on our research, they’re also using it to bolster their creativity. 

But look around and you’ll see all sorts of other interesting ways successful creators are putting AI to use — to collaborate in new ways, reimagine history, and make weird sandwiches. Read on for some ideas that may not have occurred to you.

Creating art lost to history

AI is not constrained by the laws of physics. It can render images from places that are impossible for us to get to, times before there were cameras, and even voices from those no longer with us (which here at Descript we consider unethical). 

Chinese photographer Kim Wang uses Midjourney to create photorealistic images of historical scenes in China from the 1980s and ‘90s. According to MIT Technology Review, Wang wanted to recreate what her city of Hangzhou looked and felt like before it became a bustling tech hub.

“For our generation, I feel like there’s a massive leap from 1995 to 2023,” Wang told MIT Technology review. “Now is a completely different era, but I kind of want to go back to that era.”

image
Kim Wang via Midjourney

AI can also help us speculate on what life will be like in the future and get clarity on the past. TikTok channel @what.if_ai uses AI to imagine what life would be like if major historical events had happened differently — things like, what if Mexico had invaded the US? The creator uses ChatGPT to write scripts and Midjourney to create visuals, according to Rest of World.

AI can also give us access to lost history. Through the power of AI, we’ll be getting a final Beatles album featuring all members of the Fab Four. Paul McCartney was sold on the power of the technology after watching Peter Jackson use it to produce the documentary Get Back. But this is no AI Drake: The album only uses AI to clean up a previously unusable demo recording from John Lennon. Once they had his voice, it was mixed with recordings from today to create the final product.

Sharing their experiments with genAI

We’re in the earliest days of a new technology, and part of the fun is in kicking the tires and seeing what it can do. Some creators are finding success in making content about that experimentation alone.

For example, if your channel is about making sandwiches from historical recipes, why not try a sandwich conceived by ChatGPT? That’s what Barry Enderwick did for his 300,000-follower TikTok account SandwichesofHistory. Every Friday, Barry does a “sandwiches of future history” where he asks the AI for an unusual sandwich recipe. The result? Combos like the egg, avocado, and chocolate spread sandwich that he says was surprisingly good. (It can’t be any worse than the very real raisin-beef sandwich.) 

Barry isn’t the only one relying on generative AI to tell it what to make. NYT Cooking is producing a series pitting ChatGPT against its own staff, comparing AI recipes based on the work of one of their recipe writers to actual recipes from the same writer. 

Outside of the food world, artisans and creators of all stripes are asking ChatGPT to replace one of the major functions of their work and see how it does, from fiber artists asking it for knitting patterns to a singer-songwriter asking for lyrics to a song called “Sexy Bus” (it did a serviceable job in both cases).

Creating content about using generative AI taps into an essential curiosity around the technology that elevates content that might not have gone viral on its own. After all, there are a million terrible sandwiches not reaching the audience of “sandwiches of the future.” 

Another way creators are building AI-driven content is by educating their audiences on exactly how to use it. While a majority of creators have used AI, it’s still a new and evolving technology. Creators like personal finance influencer Charlie Chang are creating content tailored to how their audience might use generative AI. It’s paying off — Charlie’s ChatGPT tutorial has 1.68 million views. Creators are even building or pivoting their channels to focus on AI. Matt Wolfe’s YouTube channel with 369 thousand subscribers covers AI news, tips and tricks, and experiments using genAI tools.

Helping dissimilar creators collaborate together

Jeff Duncan, CEO of the talent agency Ingenuity Live, represents TikTok creators Luca Schaefer-Charlton and Johnny Valentine and Netflix reality TV star Chloe Veitch. Jeff knew the three could benefit from a collaboration together, but when he tried to come up with ideas, he got stuck. So he went to ChatGPT, prompted the engine with context on all three creators and the goals of the content itself, and asked for collaboration ideas. The ideas resulted in multiple successful videos.

"If you can give artificial intelligence some level of understanding as to what you're trying to accomplish, the content creators can use it in order to make themselves more effective in what they're trying to do,” Jeff told Mashable.

Of course, most of the ways creators are using AI aren’t as flashy as funny song lyrics or famous influencer campaigns. It’s the practical, boring, but absolutely necessary stuff: brainstorming, scriptwriting, title generation. The stuff creators need to do so they can do the things they want to do.

Writing a first draft

Regardless of what type of content you create, you have to write. Even if you’re not scripting, you’re writing titles, YouTube descriptions, podcast show notes, Instagram captions. You don’t want to be too creative with these tasks because there’s a risk you’ll veer away from the goal: giving the audience a clear idea of what to expect when they click into your content, within the parameters of the algorithm. 

Clear scope, high volume, and repeatable task? Sounds like a job for generative AI.

Fashion influencers Tanisha Cherry and Joseph Arujo told Insider that they use ChatGPT to generate emails more quickly than they’d be able to write them on their own. They write the prompts, then only have to fix a few sentences before sending. 

Instagram captions and other content types work the same way. ChatGPT has “read” more posts than one person could in a lifetime. Even if it doesn’t nail the perfect quip on the first try, creators can use the options created as a jumping off point. Creator and social entrepreneur Jade Darmawangsa even uses ChatGPT to write the first draft of her legal agreements — though she says to always have your lawyer take a look.

Creators are adding ChatGPT to their writing tech stack to draft everything from scripts to brand emails. Salha Aziz, who creates UGC videos for brands, tells Insider that she prompts ChatGPT to find brands that fit her niche, then uses the research it provides to show she’s done her homework in finding the right fit.

AI is changing the world of creators in exciting ways. Whether it's writing emails faster or creating strange and wonderful content, AI is helping creators work more efficiently, create better content, and level up their human creativity.

Anna Held
Writer, editor, and content strategist based in SF. Work can be found at Vox, Wirecutter, New York Magazine, and other publications.
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How big-time creators are using generative AI

From Descript’s latest survey, we know the creators who are using generative AI have more followers and make more money on their content than those who don’t. So how are the big creators — those with thousands of followers on various platforms — using AI tools? 

For now, most say they’re using it to augment their processes and save time — which we expect from any new technology — and based on our research, they’re also using it to bolster their creativity. 

But look around and you’ll see all sorts of other interesting ways successful creators are putting AI to use — to collaborate in new ways, reimagine history, and make weird sandwiches. Read on for some ideas that may not have occurred to you.

Creating art lost to history

AI is not constrained by the laws of physics. It can render images from places that are impossible for us to get to, times before there were cameras, and even voices from those no longer with us (which here at Descript we consider unethical). 

Chinese photographer Kim Wang uses Midjourney to create photorealistic images of historical scenes in China from the 1980s and ‘90s. According to MIT Technology Review, Wang wanted to recreate what her city of Hangzhou looked and felt like before it became a bustling tech hub.

“For our generation, I feel like there’s a massive leap from 1995 to 2023,” Wang told MIT Technology review. “Now is a completely different era, but I kind of want to go back to that era.”

image
Kim Wang via Midjourney

AI can also help us speculate on what life will be like in the future and get clarity on the past. TikTok channel @what.if_ai uses AI to imagine what life would be like if major historical events had happened differently — things like, what if Mexico had invaded the US? The creator uses ChatGPT to write scripts and Midjourney to create visuals, according to Rest of World.

AI can also give us access to lost history. Through the power of AI, we’ll be getting a final Beatles album featuring all members of the Fab Four. Paul McCartney was sold on the power of the technology after watching Peter Jackson use it to produce the documentary Get Back. But this is no AI Drake: The album only uses AI to clean up a previously unusable demo recording from John Lennon. Once they had his voice, it was mixed with recordings from today to create the final product.

Sharing their experiments with genAI

We’re in the earliest days of a new technology, and part of the fun is in kicking the tires and seeing what it can do. Some creators are finding success in making content about that experimentation alone.

For example, if your channel is about making sandwiches from historical recipes, why not try a sandwich conceived by ChatGPT? That’s what Barry Enderwick did for his 300,000-follower TikTok account SandwichesofHistory. Every Friday, Barry does a “sandwiches of future history” where he asks the AI for an unusual sandwich recipe. The result? Combos like the egg, avocado, and chocolate spread sandwich that he says was surprisingly good. (It can’t be any worse than the very real raisin-beef sandwich.) 

Barry isn’t the only one relying on generative AI to tell it what to make. NYT Cooking is producing a series pitting ChatGPT against its own staff, comparing AI recipes based on the work of one of their recipe writers to actual recipes from the same writer. 

Outside of the food world, artisans and creators of all stripes are asking ChatGPT to replace one of the major functions of their work and see how it does, from fiber artists asking it for knitting patterns to a singer-songwriter asking for lyrics to a song called “Sexy Bus” (it did a serviceable job in both cases).

Creating content about using generative AI taps into an essential curiosity around the technology that elevates content that might not have gone viral on its own. After all, there are a million terrible sandwiches not reaching the audience of “sandwiches of the future.” 

Another way creators are building AI-driven content is by educating their audiences on exactly how to use it. While a majority of creators have used AI, it’s still a new and evolving technology. Creators like personal finance influencer Charlie Chang are creating content tailored to how their audience might use generative AI. It’s paying off — Charlie’s ChatGPT tutorial has 1.68 million views. Creators are even building or pivoting their channels to focus on AI. Matt Wolfe’s YouTube channel with 369 thousand subscribers covers AI news, tips and tricks, and experiments using genAI tools.

Helping dissimilar creators collaborate together

Jeff Duncan, CEO of the talent agency Ingenuity Live, represents TikTok creators Luca Schaefer-Charlton and Johnny Valentine and Netflix reality TV star Chloe Veitch. Jeff knew the three could benefit from a collaboration together, but when he tried to come up with ideas, he got stuck. So he went to ChatGPT, prompted the engine with context on all three creators and the goals of the content itself, and asked for collaboration ideas. The ideas resulted in multiple successful videos.

"If you can give artificial intelligence some level of understanding as to what you're trying to accomplish, the content creators can use it in order to make themselves more effective in what they're trying to do,” Jeff told Mashable.

Of course, most of the ways creators are using AI aren’t as flashy as funny song lyrics or famous influencer campaigns. It’s the practical, boring, but absolutely necessary stuff: brainstorming, scriptwriting, title generation. The stuff creators need to do so they can do the things they want to do.

Writing a first draft

Regardless of what type of content you create, you have to write. Even if you’re not scripting, you’re writing titles, YouTube descriptions, podcast show notes, Instagram captions. You don’t want to be too creative with these tasks because there’s a risk you’ll veer away from the goal: giving the audience a clear idea of what to expect when they click into your content, within the parameters of the algorithm. 

Clear scope, high volume, and repeatable task? Sounds like a job for generative AI.

Fashion influencers Tanisha Cherry and Joseph Arujo told Insider that they use ChatGPT to generate emails more quickly than they’d be able to write them on their own. They write the prompts, then only have to fix a few sentences before sending. 

Instagram captions and other content types work the same way. ChatGPT has “read” more posts than one person could in a lifetime. Even if it doesn’t nail the perfect quip on the first try, creators can use the options created as a jumping off point. Creator and social entrepreneur Jade Darmawangsa even uses ChatGPT to write the first draft of her legal agreements — though she says to always have your lawyer take a look.

Creators are adding ChatGPT to their writing tech stack to draft everything from scripts to brand emails. Salha Aziz, who creates UGC videos for brands, tells Insider that she prompts ChatGPT to find brands that fit her niche, then uses the research it provides to show she’s done her homework in finding the right fit.

AI is changing the world of creators in exciting ways. Whether it's writing emails faster or creating strange and wonderful content, AI is helping creators work more efficiently, create better content, and level up their human creativity.

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