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👋 Hellooo! We’re The Z Link, a global Gen Z-led social media agency that helps brands reach our generation. The Digital Native, written by our Trends Reporter, Shaurya, takes a deep dive into niche internet micro-trends and subcultures, and analyzes them so you don’t have to. For any feedback, questions or suggestions, just reply to this email! <3
It’s truly a field trip for my fellow tech bros, we’re talking about the AI revolution (I don’t want to see mansplaining in these comments 🤨). Good lord save me and my creative comrades. The movies warned us but we never listened. Let’s take a deep dive into what our future may look like.
Brief history of AI (in pop culture)
AI has dazzled pop culture for decades now. All dystopian futures have AI and maybe they have a point. George Orwell with 1984, Fritz Lang with Metropolis, and I want to add season 2 of The 100 to this list of dystopian predictions. Especially The 100, it warned us.
Creating man-made systems of higher intelligence has been a phenomenon that has been around since, well since the time of Gods. Greek mythology mentions Talos, a giant bronze robot that guarded Crete. We also have the Turing test, that’s based on whether a machine could have an intelligent text-based conversation with a human without the human being able to tell it’s a machine. The 50s and 60s saw the human vs computer chess revolution, and AI progress hit a snag in the 70s and 80s, because of unrealistic expectations set by the decades prior.
The boom in AI: origins of the boom
While AI has been around for a long, loooooong time, the boom with chatGPT and softwares threatening me out of a job (😸😸😸😸) has been fairly recent. So this very new boom happened because of ChatGPT which is basically a chatbot. You can talk to it. People use it for all sorts of things — writing their academic papers, creating new recipes, and I have to believe there’s someone out there being vile with it.
Not only do we have chatbots, we also have AI generating images, which raises a lot of security and employment concerns and rightfully so. I mean ChatGPT, Midjourney and DALL-E are coming after the things I’m good at — writing and art. What am I supposed to do? 😭 But to be fair, when I tried AI art it didnt go very well so I just ended up making everything manually… AND BETTER MIGHT I ADD. Sorry I’m very passionate.
So the reason for the boom was obviously because it makes things a lot more approachable and accessible. For small business owners who are just starting out, chatbots like chatGPT help with copywriting, captions for posts, and AI image softwares help with posts and the visuals of the brand. For creatives, it could help with visualising sets that might be out of budget or “too extra”.
Impacts on the concerned industries
Let’s talk about the worries we’re all facing — AI replacing us. News outlets have already started the fear-mongering with headlines like “OH YOUR JOB AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE OBSOLETE” like bae chill, you’re not Mojo Jojo why are you talking like a supervillain? But they’re not too far off with their predictions; some of the more tedious computer work can be automated, but there’s so many industries where a human touch will ALWAYS be needed. An AI software will not necessarily keep up with all the latest trends in real time. Let’s get into it.
Social media: As much as people want to believe ChatGPT can do everything for you… it can to an extent. I mean you still need to make the content suggested by AI but it can help you with captions, SEO, trend forecasting, and so on. But do I recommend it? I know I’ve expressed my aversion to AI for creative industries but that’s because I think you still need an expert for many things. I would recommend it for research, but not beyond that; our company (ahem, ahem, The Z Link) does a far more sophisticated job. 😉 But we get it, sometimes you don’t have resources so, AI. It won’t be as accurate but it’s an amazing starting point. (Just beware of ChatGPT’s tendencies to include completely made-up quotes, sources and data from time to time).
Graphic design: Well, so Adobe’s come out with its generative fill and it has been a hit from what I can see. It helps with mockups and image replacements and it does it quite well. The general consensus seems to be that it cannot replace what people make, only enhance it. I’ve tried to work with AI, and numero uno, it doesn’t make what you want exactly, and dos, what it does make often looks dead and lifeless. AI needs to be spoon-fed with a platinum spoon to work, and the many intricacies make it more difficult to work with than actual humans.
Music: This one’s interesting because it seems to be replacing artists, with how many AI covers we’ve seen. It seems scary and so creepy, so uncanny valley, because it sounds so human but also not. AI does help with playlists though. You can use it to add to your own curated playlists or have it recommend a playlist for you. I don’t think it should be used further than algorithmic purposes.
That’s all the observations I’ve made so far, but I’m very sure there’s more out there and I’d love to hear what you have to say about your industry being impacted by AI.
What the people think
I FEEL LIKE OPRAH BUT OMG PEOPLE’S OPINIONS TIME !! And I generally ignore those because I’m delusional and I’d like to stay in that state of delusion but not this time. So over on the Z Link Instagram account, we did a couple of polls on our story and here’s what all you lovelies had to say. 86% of Gen Zers believed that AI will enhance, not replace, their skills. This question was directed at creatives and I was surprised at first, but I understand. Like I said earlier, AI art is soulless and also I wholeheartedly believe that if AI does become dominant in creative industries, due to the general attitude towards novelty, human-made things would just go up in value. We’re not getting replaced lads! 😩
As for how many people have experimented with AI, 47% said they’ve only done it a little, 40% said A LOT of experimentation and 14% said none. I’ve heard the opinion that AI is just the next big buzzword like VR and bitcoin. But will it maintain its charm or lose it like other huge industry trends?
But what do the people think about where AI is headed? 59% said they’re excited to see where it’s headed and the rest are concerned/worried about it. 95% of the people also think that AI can positively impact their lives, while 5% didn’t think it was beneficial. And while everyone is excited to see where it’s headed, I’ve seen a lot more concern. When there’s a pros and cons list and the cons list is longer, usually that’s when you dump an ex. The cons included: use of AI in military, clients assuming that we can deliver work faster, bias in AI, lack of ethics and regulation, and people’s ignorance.
So is AI bad or good? That’s for you to decide. For me, it hasn’t worked too well so far and I’m not exactly sure how to incorporate it into my workflow to reap the benefits, but I’d love to keep learning about it as it develops. Let us know what you think!
Any questions/suggestions as to what we should cover next? Reach out to us and we’re always here to chat!
— Written by Shaurya, Trends Reporter at The Z Link
Connect with Shaurya on Instagram where she shares great content and lives her best influencer life as a fashion student in Paris. And she writes all of these great issues too. What can’t she do??? 🧐 Thank you for reading!