Ask HN: What am I supposed to do after I’m “disrupted”? Work in video and CG

123 points by kranke155 2 months ago

I work in video / filmmaking / ads in London. Most of the work in this space is short form video for YouTube / Instagram and TV.

Now I am seeing the video generating AI (imagen video from Google on the front page) and I’m 100% sure a good percentage of the work will vanish. There’s loads of work that ad agencies will just hire an AI prompt guy to generate for ads. Big companies will still make ads, of course, but smaller gigs that keep the whole industry afloat? What about even 10 million $ shots with CG characters that will now become commonplace?

I’ve retrained before. I started off as an editor, then did VR video, now moved into CG. I’m pretty good at my job - I’ve worked on stuff for Dell and Apple, including stuff you’ve probably seen.

It’s funny to think I might have to retrain yet again. I didn’t expect image generation AI to be the next big leap. I was already moving into more storytelling content (ie documentaries) because that’s more defensible against AI. But I expected 3-4 years before video generation would just come out.

Now it seems like it’s happening so quickly I’m not sure they won’t have good stuff out in 6 months to a year.

So - HN - what do I do now? And what about the other fellas in my industry who will be out of a job? In my estimate, we are talking about tens of thousands.

To counter the obvious: I have learnt web dev at one point I thought I’d make the jump, even started learning React but I found the work to be mind numbing. I just love making images. But I feel like Pierre Auguste Renoir’s who was a plate painter in France and did a good living out of it - until the process was industrialised and he struggled (maybe for the rest of his life? I don’t quite recall).

To counter the second suggestion: AI prompt design is not image making as far as it would interest me. I also don’t think there will be a huge learning curve. Becoming a filmmaker on my standard requires about 10 years experience or an excellent school (of which there are maybe 10-20 in the world). I would imagine AÍ promoting will be done by the lowest paid interns available.

What do I do HN?

egypturnash 2 months ago

I am a 2d artist and I have similar feelings.

Are you as full of loathing for all the HN people saying “just integrate the AI into your practice” as I am? I like drawing stuff and I love that this pays my bills and I really have zero interest in becoming a “prompt engineer” instead.

I think a strategy of creating an image of AI art as cheap and tacky is useful. For how long, I don’t know. If we’re lucky then it’ll turn out that getting these things out of the domain of creepy claw hands is a lot harder than anyone thinks it will be, and there will be a lot of obvious tells for a long time.

It may also be useful to try and get your professional associations to bring some suits against these things for playing fast and loose with “fair use”. The legality of these things is debatable, and so’s where “fair use” should fall - personally I feel like nobody posting work on the internet anticipated their stuff being scraped and fed into a giant neural net designed to take their job. Make this shit a lot pricier by demanding that it be built on art explicitly licensed for machine training.

Figuring out where the intersection of “art you like to make” and “art the AI sucks at” lies is worthwhile. If your passion is realistic painterly work then you’re fucked, what do you enjoy doing that isn’t that?

  • exolymph 2 months ago

    > I like drawing stuff and I love that this pays my bills and I really have zero interest in becoming a “prompt engineer” instead.

    I'm not sure how to say this in a non-dickish way, but most of us have to do stuff we don't particularly enjoy in order to make a living. I get that it sucks from your vantage point, but like... I'm sure there were stablehands who loved horses and had no interest in becoming mechanics. Shit happens.

    I'm a writer and equally in danger of automated replacement, but so it goes. Maybe I'll end up curating and editing GPT7 output instead of drafting everything myself — I can live with that. It's not like my paid work was written for fun in the first place.

    The art I make for my own satisfaction, I expect to continue crafting word by word, and I think people will continue to appreciate that painstaking expression of the human spirit. Just not in a commercial context.

    • shakabrah 2 months ago

      The problem with your example is that it assumes there is a place for him to go to. Stable hands becoming mechanics. That is the key concern with automation replacing jobs is that it is a zero sum game.

      • jacobn 2 months ago

        The danger is less with automation and more with the speed of automation.

        It's hard to retrain. When the change happens between generations there's a natural progression with parent: stable hand, child: mechanic.

        When it happens 1-2-5 times in a person's career, then those are some really painful resets.

        Sure, some will swim. But the social contract with democracy isn't that "some" swim, it's that "almost everyone swims" (which we generally call "everybody", but that's a separate discussion).

        Long term and across society automation is absolutely positive sum. But short-to-long term for those on the short end of the stick it's clearly not.

      • chii 2 months ago

        > That is the key concern with automation replacing jobs is that it is a zero sum game.

        it's not zero sum, because the resources that used to be spent paying you now could be spent on something else. This increase in efficiency means more goods/services could be produced!

        Of course, that newly saved money would be spent on someone else, instead of the person being made redundant by automation. It is thus a societal responsibility to retrain/reskill that person, and the training perhaps also partially be paid for by the entity benefiting directly from the automation.

      • colinmhayes 2 months ago

        Lump of labor fallacy. Automation is not a zero sum game because it creates new jobs.

        • Uehreka 2 months ago

          I hear this a lot, that “automation creates jobs” chestnut.

          Whenever people try to support this argument, they either fall into the “not thinking quantitatively” fallacy by pointing out that “sure, 25 writers got laid off, but the company used to have no programmers, and now they have 2!” Or they fall into the “not explaining the mechanism” fallacy by giving examples from the past where “stablehands retrained as mechanics” without examining why that happened, and what aspects make 20th century mechanization and 21st century automation completely different in kind.

          • badpun 2 months ago

            > without examining why that happened, and what aspects make 20th century mechanization and 21st century automation completely different in kind.

            So, what aspects are completely different in your opinion? I don't see any fundamental differences. People's wants are unlimited, so the workers no longer necessary due to automation can move to fields where automation can't be applied. There will always be plenty of those because, again, unlimited wants. I mean, in Japan, people are already paying for artificial friends, who will go out for dinner with them. I think we'll have much more work in human contact and companionship in the future. Hopefully, much more doctors per patients and much more teachers per student than today. Etc.

            • Uehreka 2 months ago

              Part of the reason I think 21st century automation is different from 20th century mechanization is that when you mechanize jobs, that requires physical machines, and the number of factory workers and mechanics needed to build/maintain those machines scales linear-ish-ly with the number of machines needed. And so mechanized farming got rid of a lot of farming jobs, but also allowed more farms to be built, which required more and more machines, and thus created manufacturing/mechanic jobs.

              Software jobs don’t scale like manufacturing jobs. If you automate a particular profession’s work, they’ll lose their jobs, but meanwhile maybe now 10x more customers can afford the service they provide. But now, scaling the automating software to serve 10x the customers won’t require 10x as many programmers, maybe just a couple good devops people to tend the flock.

              You might then argue that customers will still find things to want from the newly freed up labor, but I also think we’re going to start being hard-pressed for categories of work where “the human touch” makes a difference, and also where there is room to employ large sectors of the workforce. Add in that customers “new demands” won’t necessarily correlate with the need for human workers, and it becomes easier to see a world where people keep coming up with new wants, and automation keeps swooping in and immediately satisfying the demand.

          • throwaway5959 2 months ago

            How many people work on farms as a percentage of the population now as they did 100 years ago? We still eat, but now almost no one farms. Most everyone is still employed. We’ll figure something out.

            • thot_experiment 2 months ago

              Ok but that's exactly the problem, the situation we've "figured out" is kinda trash. A bunch of rich people own all the farms and we gave everyone bullshit admin jobs because we can't admit to ourselves that almost nobody farms and we still all eat and maybe that means a good portion of the population could just chill out.

              • chottocharaii 2 months ago

                I would much, much, rather work an Admin job than work on a farm

                are you aware of how taxing that work is on the body ? How isolating it is ?

                • thot_experiment 2 months ago

                  What? I'm not comparing the two. The point is that we don't need to do the admin jobs, and we need fewer people to farm the same amount of food, so we can just split the extra free time and maybe some people don't even need to have a job.

              • chii 2 months ago

                > that means a good portion of the population could just chill out.

                so you're asking those people who farm (using huge machines and automation to do so extremely efficiently) to give you free food? Why would they want to do that?

                • drpyser22 2 months ago

                  The people producing the food get paid. A third party might pay for the feeding of those who cannot pay. Or money accumulated might get redistributed to enable everyone to afford it.

        • shakabrah 2 months ago

          These are some bold claims. Id like to see some evidence.

          • dragontamer 2 months ago

            There are more bank tellers today in USA than at any other point, despite the growing number of ATM machines.

            https://www.aei.org/economics/what-atms-bank-tellers-rise-ro...

            This doesn't always happen mind you. But it shows that your (and my) economic instincts are piss poor. We can't just assume what the future holds.

            -------

            Another few examples:

            3D animation has killed a lot of tweening artists (the people who smoothed out animations for Disney Films like 101 Dalmations or Sleeping Beauty). But 3d animation created the need of modelers, texture artists, riggers, and more.

            Automatic Drum machines didn't kill drummers either, but allowed for more music to be made in general.

            The only thing that automation "killed" recently was Lawyers, as online webpages that auto-generated common forms removed a ton of jobs that Lawyers used to do. IIRC, Lawyers are in somewhat of a decline because of this.

            So it just goes to show that no one really can predict these things.

            • princeb 2 months ago

              > 3D animation has killed a lot of tweening artists (the people who smoothed out animations for Disney Films like 101 Dalmations or Sleeping Beauty). But 3d animation created the need of modelers, texture artists, riggers, and more.

              together with the previous comment on mechanics and stablehands, i wonder how many people in history grew up training and wanting to be a mechanic, only to be told, sorry we just don't have that many automobiles in the world, we need more stablehands. i wonder how many people went to do fine art in school only to be told 'look you have good skills and all but we just need more tweening artists'.

              • chii 2 months ago

                the pace of technological progress is fast - but not so fast that people being trained in art must move within a year!

                I think retraining to an adjacent field is definitely possible - the only thing i see disagreements in is the cost, and who bears that cost.

          • zajio1am 2 months ago

            The evidence is that despite constant growth of productivity since industrial revolution, unemployment is still low and not 99.99%

      • KerrAvon 2 months ago

        This discussion usually ends up in "well, let's do UBI"-land, as if that's possible if Republicans get anywhere near control of congress.

    • 0x20cowboy 2 months ago

      > I'm a writer and equally in danger of automated replacement

      Don’t forget about musicians and junior software engineer work…very soon.

  • tengbretson 2 months ago

    This really resonates with me. I used to enjoy working as a 35mm film projectionist. Now that everything is digital the opportunities for making money doing it have basically disappeared. Am I supposed to be excited that now I can just push a button and focus more of my attention on selling popcorn?

    Fortunately I enjoy writing code.

    • galdosdi 2 months ago

      Hey, I did that too in high school and college! I think I must have been one of the very last ones (late aughts). What a cool and fascinating piece of machinery the "modern" (now obsolete) three platter tree and "brain" system is, isn't it?

      I still remember splicing together There Will Be Blood and enjoying looking at some of the beatiful still frames.

      My boss at the time spliced together Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse, and somehow fucked up and spliced an entire reel out of order... and nobody ever noticed (because Grindhouse was full of intentional fake projectionist mistakes, being an homage to an old era). He ended up noticing on his own on the second day of showings and fixing it overnight!

    • colinmhayes 2 months ago

      I don’t think you’re necessarily supposed to be excited about your job.

      • HeyLaughingBoy 2 months ago

        Perhaps not, but it certainly makes life a lot more enjoyable.

      • yoyohello13 2 months ago

        Why not?

        • aeze 2 months ago

          It's ideal to be excited about it, but I don't think it's the expectation.

  • lbarrow 2 months ago

    What's the difference between a human artist walking around in the world, seeing images and videos (many of which are under copyright) and then using those images as inspiration, versus an AI being fed millions of images and videos as part of a large training set?

    I am not a lawyer but I don't really see the "it's not fair use" argument.

    • _dain_ 2 months ago

      > What's the difference between a human artist walking around in the world, seeing images and videos (many of which are under copyright) and then using those images as inspiration, versus an AI being fed millions of images and videos as part of a large training set?

      What's the difference between retelling someone's story orally, and using a printing press to make an exact replica?

      What's the difference between writing down a conversation from memory, and recording that conversation?

      What's the difference between making a nude painting of someone, and taking a nude photograph?

      What's the difference between going out in public among human beings, and going out in public where there's a facial recognition camera on every corner feeding everyone's movements into a centralized database?

      What's the difference between the grandma who knows everyone in the village, vs the social media company that knows everyone in the world?

      Social customs evolved in a context of fundamental, sharp limits to human cognition and skill. When technology smashes through those limits, those social customs don't work anymore. Copyright law didn't exist in a world where you couldn't copy things mechanically. If you apply the old rules naively, you end up with a nasty world that nobody wants. So we have to invent new rules to limit how people use the new technology, otherwise people get exploited and life becomes intolerable.

      "What does copyright law say about this" doesn't even make sense as a question. Copyright was invented before AI was. The question should be, "what would a society someone would want to live in, say about this?"

      • somesortofthing 2 months ago

        > What's the difference between retelling someone's story orally, and using a printing press to make an exact replica?

        But that's not what's happening. You can't "crack open" a model to find the bitmap of a piece of training data. It's not there any more than a painting you've seen is "in" your brain. A model sometimes creates things that look similar to existing pieces if it got a ton of copies of the same image, for the same reason that most people's artistic rendition of a tree is going to be more accurate than their rendition of an anteater.

        The entire AI art debate is a symptom of the fact that society is structured such that labor-saving technological advancements can harm more people than they help, and it's baffling to see otherwise intelligent and ideologically similar people fixating on this single, relatively minor technology rather than the much more consequential, broader issue of the fact that automation always moves wealth into the hands of a smaller and smaller group of people.

        • orangecat 2 months ago

          the fact that automation always moves wealth into the hands of a smaller and smaller group of people

          This is very much not a fact.

          • kranke155 2 months ago

            That was a fact during the industrial revolution and it’s quite possible it will happen now with the digital revolution.

            The average height of Englishmen actually went down during the industrial rev. presumably due to malnutrition. New histories of the period think of it as potentially as one of the few times we know where there was an enormous economic boom alongside a general collapse of quality of life.

        • _dain_ 2 months ago

          >But that's not what's happening. You can't "crack open" a model to find the bitmap of a piece of training data. It's not there any more than a painting you've seen is "in" your brain. A model sometimes creates things that look similar to existing pieces if it got a ton of copies of the same image, for the same reason that most people's artistic rendition of a tree is going to be more accurate than their rendition of an anteater.

          In other words, a technology that has never existed before and doesn't follow any of the categories and schemas we dreamt up to organize the world. So we need to make new rules.

    • Wistar 2 months ago

      There's a whole lot of unapologetic artistic theft of others’ work that has contributed to the creation of new art.

      • etrautmann 2 months ago

        why do we even call it theft or pretend that any artist arrived at ideas without inspiration?

        • someweirdperson 2 months ago

          For humans the inspiration can be something else than the medium to use. Watching reality can provide inspiration for creating a video. And I'm pretty sure that's wher most inspiration comes from. It cannot for AI. Of course in a world where everything exists AI doesn't need inspiration from other sources.

          • cma 2 months ago

            It can for AI, it is consuming and mixing in training trail cam images, etc. that weren't composed shots.

            • P5fRxh5kUvp2th 2 months ago

              That's not at all what the other poster was saying.

              • nonima 2 months ago

                Then what was it saying? It said that humans can take inspiration from outside art, from the real world. You can do the same thing with AI by training it on pictures from the real world.

                • P5fRxh5kUvp2th 2 months ago

                  Bill Clinton has stated he was inspired to be president after a trip to the white house in his youth.

                  People have been inspired to write about subject matter because of their experiences.

                  AI takes lots of things that currently exist and mixNmatch.

                  It's not nearly the same thing.

                  • chii 2 months ago

                    > It's not nearly the same thing.

                    why not? Just because people take in experiences slowly, via senses, doesn't mean that an AI isn't replicating that learning via a fast method.

                    • P5fRxh5kUvp2th 2 months ago

                      Do you believe that GPT-3 is going to want to become president after visiting the whitehouse?

                      If you answer no, then you must necessarily admit it's different.

                      It can do a lot of things, but in the end it's still just a glorified function.

                      • drpyser22 2 months ago

                        Always back to the same debate then. Why aren't human minds glorified functions, that perhaps deserve their glory a bit more than current state of AI? Obviously they're not currently equivalent. But obviously there are similarities.

                        • P5fRxh5kUvp2th 2 months ago

                          A gocart and a sedan have a lot of similarities, but only one of them is legal to drive on the highway.

      • micromacrofoot 2 months ago

        That could describe the entirety of art history.

    • Jevon23 2 months ago

      If I can take copyrighted images and feed them into an AI, why can’t I take any code I find online and ignore the license terms and feed it into a compiler? How do you justify the existence of something like the GPL?

      • Poppys 2 months ago

        This is three separate arguments:

        Is it ok to scan copyrighted works. I think Google Books' win at the Supreme Court shows that yes it is.

        Is it ok to process them down to the rawest information?

        Is it ok for people to generate content from the raw information (and ok for them to charge for it)?

        The last two I don't have an answer for, but I understand the fear of artists and the anger that their hard work is being shovelled into the monster that is going affect their work. But also more broadly the make-up industry, the lighting industry, studio spaces, lens makers, paint manufacturers, etc etc etc.

      • chii 2 months ago

        > why can’t I take any code I find online and ignore the license terms and feed it into a compiler?

        a compiler is not transformative. You translating a book into another language doesn't make it a new work.

        But an AI that takes billions of images, and uses it to synthesize something different and new, is fairly transformative under my eyes, and deserves new copyright. Unless the AI generated image is largely composed of a small number of works, i don't see why anyone should have copyright ownership of such an output!

        • iExploder 2 months ago

          its actually exactly the same thing, the ai doesnt "synthetize" anything, its following its programming and data based on training sets

          if anything I would argue that human taking code from multiple places and making it compile into something more useful is much more synthetiz-ing than AI...

      • cercatrova 2 months ago

        You can, why wouldn't you be able to?

    • _gabe_ 2 months ago

      What's the difference between a programmer looking at lots of open source code and github copilot looking at open source code? (And I'm talking MIT licensed code here).

  • alliao 2 months ago

    this reads a lot like what some painters said when photography hit, and they weren't interested in "painting with the light" as so many photographer would love calling it nowadays. Technology disrupts and it is neutral to taste. Seems like those who knew the way should probably try and instil better taste for the future generation; otherwise we'd be reinventing wheels with different tools for the foreseeable future.

  • pornel 2 months ago

    Questioning legality of the A.I. models won't save you, and is likely to backfire (I'm not saying this is good or fair, but rather prepare to be screwed either way.)

    In the worst case corporations will just rebuild the A.I. models from data licensed from stock photo sites, getty, etc. All you can get from this is a one-time bulk-discount payment, and then you will be paying them for use of the model in the next Photoshop.

    Plus there are copyright-abusing corporations that jump on any excuse to kill off fair use and scraping, so any attempt to legislate scraping may instead end up creating more Disney copyright and link-tax laws.

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    It’s ridiculous. There will be no integration - my job is just going to become less profitable and diverse. It’s beyond nonsense.

    I make 100k a year in London making CG. I don’t see how that will be available to me doing AÍ prompt work.

    • cercatrova 2 months ago

      If that's how you feel, then I assume you won't be adapting at all (as evidenced by your other comment [0]), so your 100k job will go too to the ones who do adapt. I'm not saying this to be mean, you asked the question, people answered and it seems you don't like the answer. What are we supposed to do about how you feel?

      [0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33099182#33100703

      • kranke155 2 months ago

        It’s not about how I feel - it’s about the potential obliteration of my way of life. The people who will make money out of this transition will be AÍ engineers, not image makers. I will bet you 1 ETH and place it under a smart contract bet if you’d like.

        • cercatrova 2 months ago

          Then perhaps you'll have to do what the vast, vast majority of humanity has done for thousands of years, work jobs they don't like to put food on the table. Working in art is a luxury reserved for only the highest echelon of people, like Michaelangelo or Leonardo. The rest of us are not so lucky.

          • kranke155 2 months ago

            Lol. So I work hard and scrounge for 10 years and get to work for Apple eventually after fighting for life and now “I’ll have to work jobs to put food on the table”

            You’re crazy if you think many artists I know don’t outwork 99% of the population. Condescending and inappropriate. Many artists I know are the most hard working people I’ve ever met - because making it in this area is fucking hard. And a lot of the laziest people I know are well paid data scientists. I don’t blame either of them. But your comment is just a lazy ridiculous preposterous idea. Read the biography of Patti Smith and tell me she didn’t work hard. Such a presumptuous comment.

            • badpun 2 months ago

              I don't see anything about laziness in OP's comment. Any one who knows anything about "creative" fields knows that people in them usually work very hard and often for not that much money, compared to people in other high-skill fields.

              BTW I'm sorry you might be getting disrupted. It truly sucks.

            • cercatrova 2 months ago

              You worked hard, so what? That doesn't mean anyone has to pay you. I could roll a boulder up a hill all day, that doesn't mean anyone would find value in what I'm doing.

              And if you think the vast majority of the human population in history, subsistence farmers, didn't work harder than virtually every artist in existence, I'm not sure what to tell you. Being an artist for a living is absolutely a privileged position for 99.999% of the world's population.

          • yrgulation 2 months ago

            I beg to differ. Art isnt just fancy paintings for pseudo intellectuals to show off. Art is a good looking app, a nice looking car, a cozy feeing house design or kitchen furniture, an ad that communicates vision, and so on. Art is emotion which ai cant create. Sure it can randomise visuals within the constraints of what it has “learned” but it definitely cant create human emotion. No amount of micro-dosing can convince the world it is going to completely replace artists or indeed programmers.

            • chii 2 months ago

              > it definitely cant create human emotion.

              nor does the art that humans create - the emotion comes from the human viewing/experiencing a work. The "source" that work is perhaps irrelevant, if the human viewing it is being evoked.

        • yrgulation 2 months ago

          Personally i find ai created content utter shite. Even copilot’s autocomplete feels like a toy, let alone that it needs to be fed with new content all the time in order to stay up to date. If not where will it steal its dataset from? Itself?

          • kranke155 2 months ago

            I find it shit now. I’m not sure what I’ll think 5 years from now.

        • jmpeax 2 months ago

          You would use a smart contract to settle a bet rather than hiring an arbitrator?

          • kranke155 2 months ago

            Seems easier and cheaper.

            • jmpeax 2 months ago

              So, you're not worried about the potential obliteration of the arbitrator's way of life?

    • egypturnash 2 months ago

      Yyyep. This whole situation fucking sucks.

      Moving somewhere less expensive than London and doing your current work remotely might be an option, everything’s become less focused on going into the studio to work after the ‘rona. Lower your expenses and start playing with personal work, your client history can probably get you some interesting gallery opportunities to give you a decent chance at selling Authentically Human-Made work to rich folks at an absurd price.

      I ditched your kind of career path a while back, I’m using the drawing skills learnt chasing the Hollywood animation dream to draw indy comics and furry porn. Makes less money but I can eke out a living in a much cheaper town than Los Angeles, and I pretty much draw what I want.

    • freetime2 2 months ago

      Have you seen the demo of Stable Diffusion integrated into Photoshop[1]? It seems like a very useful tool for an artist to have in their toolkit. And I think professional skills will still be in demand to blend everything together and create portions of the image from scratch - for many years to come.

      I think this is what people have in mind when they talk about integration. It doesn't seem ridiculous to me.

      [1] https://weirdwonderfulai.art/general/stable-diffusion-integr...

  • HellDunkel 2 months ago

    I work in CGI/design. We have had machine learning denoisers for some time but other than that ai has not changed cgi much. VR another hype, merely a distraction- the serious work is not VR. Now things like stable diffusion- lots of people toying around- serious tool for artists- not really. Do not worry. Develop your artistic skills and enjoy the journey.

  • unity1001 2 months ago

    Could building up on what AI creates not work?

    For each technological advancement we had in the past 200 years had made it easier to do things at a certain level. Which enabled people to do more things and more complex things. Which just pushed up the average level of what we create higher.

    Can't AI be used to handle what the artists had to spent more effort to create before, therefore enabling artists to create more complex works of art and therefore push the creative level up?

    • egypturnash 2 months ago

      From my original reply:

      Are you as full of loathing for all the HN people saying “just integrate the AI into your practice” as I am? I like drawing stuff and I love that this pays my bills and I really have zero interest in becoming a “prompt engineer” instead.

      • cercatrova 2 months ago

        Then you will continue to be disrupted. The cold hard truth is adapt or perish.

  • jemmyw 2 months ago

    I've been using these ai tools to help imagine some paintings. Previously I'd use image search.

    If you are drawing completely new images then I'm not sure how competitive these tools are. They're just serving a mash up of existing works. Sure they can produce something interesting, sometimes stunning, but usually not much better than what you could just find already.

    As for producing a physical painting, that has its own constraints of material and ability.

    • drpyser22 2 months ago

      I guess the issue is that for lot of commercial work, "good enough, cheaper" is more attractive than "better than most, at the right price". Of course that's not a rule always, everywhere, but at scale it tends to be.

      • jemmyw 2 months ago

        I agree there'll be a market for the ai stuff. It'll have to improve though. For example, say you get an illustration done and you say "yeah it's good but can you just modify it a bit and then I want 5 variations doing different actions with the same characters". The AI tools can't do that, they'll come up with completely different images for very minor prompt changes. And if the input set doesn't contain the desired action then they cannot generate it at all.

        For now I think it'll only replace some low level commercial stuff and perhaps add images where there were none before.

  • sircastor 2 months ago

    > It may also be useful to try and get your professional associations to bring some suits against these things for playing fast and loose with “fair use”.

    I understand your livelihood is being threatened, and that’s very scary. Can we please avoid using the legal system to kill nascent competitors? Surely there are better responses than this.

    • egypturnash 2 months ago

      Sure, I’ll just politely roll over rather than use the legal system. I don’t need to put food on my table anyway, it’s just a luxury, I have infinite time and money available to go learn to do something that pays more and makes me absolutely miserable. I’m not already constantly fighting the way all the social media sites have stolen the ability to serve ads alongside my work by building systems that suppress any post with an outgoing link, as well as posts with words like “commission” or “Patreon”. I can just bend over and take it a little harder when all these image generators based on megacorps scraping the entire internet for a use nobody thought of when defining “free use” make it harder for me to earn a living, and more importantly when they make it a lot harder for a beginner artist to get to that happy place where they get to spend the majority of their workday drawing, and enjoying the feedback loop of getting a little better and faster at drawing a thing every time they do it.

      Burn it all down.

      • Wolfbeta 2 months ago

        Who is supposed to feel sympathy for you not getting to stay in your flow state while making 100k?

  • _yasmeen 2 months ago

    >Are you as full of loathing for all the HN people saying “just integrate the AI into your practice” as I am? I like drawing stuff and I love that this pays my bills and I really have zero interest in becoming a “prompt engineer” instead.

    I wish it were that simple. As a person who genuinely enjoys being a data scientist, and practices all those skills in a project I create on my own: the industry says otherwise. Integrating a technology into your practice that takes nuance out of it, just really means that managers and c-suites are going to expect you to give more nuance to your choices (which they deadlocked you out of). ML DevOps for the last two years are just me integrating more services.

  • anothernewdude 2 months ago

    Frankly, it's because copyright has been so draconian, that I think this the rise of AI is so good.

    Finally people will get culture back. We won't have to appeal to corporate giants to have access to movies, images and music.

notjustanymike 2 months ago

Auto-generated content has a tendency to raise only the baseline in industries. For web development first it was Dreamweaver, then WordPress templates, then SquareSpace and Wix. Bootstrap came along, then Material and a thousand other prepackaged design languages. While these advancements reduced the income from building mom & pop restaurant websites, the demand for high-end curated sites never really changed.

Just focus your efforts on continuing to produce quality work, those clients never dry up.

  • markdown 2 months ago

    > those clients never dry up

    As someone who used to work in web dev, they most certainly do and did.

    And you have an ever growing pool (worldwide) of workers who are jostling over that dwindling supply of gigs.

    • yrgulation 2 months ago

      Web dev as in building websites has been dead for a quite a while. Web dev as in building web systems is alive and kicking. I fail to see how a complex webapp can be written in no code. A wordpress kind of app, sure. A complex web ui for a complex backend nah.

      • markdown 2 months ago

        You missed my point and are stating the obvious. The problem is that that is a just a tiny tiny tiny fraction of all websites. The vast majority of websites are websites. Which leaves all web devs fighting over the few web app gigs.

        • notjustanymike 2 months ago

          I've been the hiring manager for web app gigs for 10 years, and not once have I had a surplus of qualified candidates.

          • Cheezmeister 2 months ago

            Could this be because your pipeline for app gigs is drawing from the candidate pool of `all web devs` who were qualified for web dev but aren't yet for web app dev?

            Sounds rhetorical, but I ask sincerely.

    • can16358p 2 months ago

      Yup, I second that.

      Many places that I've worked with are now considering using a zero code website creator instead of actually coding, and for many scenarios it just works perfectly, cheap, and flawlessly. Of course it's not for everything especially if there's customization and server technologies involved, but it's very big to create disruption.

    • arcturus17 2 months ago

      Meh. There’s plenty of work to go around. At the low end, companies are rebuilding their websites all the time, whether it’s on Webflow or whatever. At the higher end, there is plenty of integration work, enterprise apps, etc to be built. Competition is fierce but there is opportunity if you specialize properly and build the right relationships.

    • earthboundkid 2 months ago

      I would be surprised to learn that the absolute number of web devs today has gone down since SquareSpace came out. Yes, the $500 website is dead, but there’s still tons of work for tons of people.

  • smallerfish 2 months ago

    AI hasn't really come for programming yet. Copilot, imperfect as it is, is proof that the problem can be approached.

    I think junior software engineers could realistically be obsolete in 5 years. Imagine a software architect being able to prompt: "write a rest API that exposes user data from system A to internal system B", and have a complete API dumped out, with tests, ready to be deployed.

    • navane 2 months ago

      If junior software engineers are obsolete in five years, where would we get senior software engineers from in fifteen years?

    • notjustanymike 2 months ago

      Sounds a bit like Zapier. Love that tool.

    • badpun 2 months ago

      Maintaing code written by such AI must be truly nightmarish...

      • smallerfish 2 months ago

        Imagine that it only had black box testing - you can verify the ins and outs, and don't care about the middle. The AI's responsible for the entire codebase for that particular API.

        I don't believe this will scale to all software anytime soon, but the type of thing that junior engineers work on is vulnerable.

robertlagrant 2 months ago

Some excerpts from your website in the future:

"We use AI to optimise our early-stage iterations"

"AI is great for generating initial concepts. Here are some of ourfavourites, and some that didn't turn out so well!"

"Did you know AI can reduce our turnaround for clients by up to 50%?"

In other words: it'll help. It won't replace you.

  • rossdavidh 2 months ago

    ...which, by the way, is how most automation turns out. I've worked in semiconductor manufacturing and software, and in both cases the automation that was at one point predicted to eliminate jobs, just made the people more productive, which made them more valuable, and instead of fewer jobs there were more, because more could be done by each person (so the range of applications that were economical to do was increased). So "it'll help, it won't replace you" is not pie-in-the-sky thinking, it's the most likely result, because it's what normally happens when automation improves.

    • yehAnd 2 months ago

      It made them appear more productive. The machines just did the once basic work. Numerous studies have been conducted to quantify which technology made workers more productive. They all ended up with models too complex and variable to be practical.

      Society just needs to accept a whole of our social truism is politically correct LARP to the drum beat of a financiers profit memes. What are a bunch of rich elders going to do if billions quit dancing like jesters for coin? Fight us from their far off estates?

      800k sworn LEO in the US working for a paycheck, not fealty to a billionaire. The public has all the advantage but isn’t allowed to know it. Communal health is the future of work whether outsider financiers accept or not. We’ll just flood the inter tubes with AI media and crash the value of their copyright constraint system if they don’t like it. I have zero obligation to do-nothing daddy deep pockets who can point to a contract I wasn’t a party to. I don’t believe such people are worth coddling with my agency.

      • nindalf 2 months ago

        Did you generate this comment with GPT-3?

        • rossdavidh 2 months ago

          Ok in this case it did not make him more productive...

      • redanddead 2 months ago

        expand on communal health, sounds interesting

  • dan_mctree 2 months ago

    Artists which use AI and become more efficient will drive up supply of art and decrease its price. Additionally, some people who need art might just skip the artist entirely now, leading to less demand. This means some artists may no longer be able to make a living. As in, they're effectively replaced.

    • orbital-decay 2 months ago

      Or it will enable things that are currently impractical due to the amount of manual work involved - driving easy to produce stuff out, again.

      • badpun 2 months ago

        We might be seeing AI-generated ilustrations instead of stock photos in web content. I for one would really prefer it.

        • robertlagrant 2 months ago

          Yes. I can see this being a killer (or killer app) for content libraries more than for replacing artisans.

  • micromacrofoot 2 months ago

    Or you could have the same turnaround and half the employees, guess which is cheaper.

    • hackeraccount 2 months ago

      Imagine you have a company. You can get your work force and double your gross or keep half your employees and leave your gross unchanged.

      Which would you pick? Keep in mind you don't have to go through the headache of actually hiring people - all you need to do is not fire them.

      • micromacrofoot 2 months ago

        Employees are my biggest expense by a wide margin. I could drop half my staff and increase my net overnight. I'm not going to double my customers nearly that fast so I'll be burning through payroll in the meantime... especially considering customer acquisition is going to get harder than employee acquisition over the next year.

        • hackeraccount 2 months ago

          Businesses die of indigestion more often then starvation.

    • robertlagrant 2 months ago

      It's even cheaper to not have any employees at all, if that's your goal.

      • chii 2 months ago

        but then you'd have no output to sell, and no business to be had.

        • cercatrova 2 months ago

          They actually make an interesting point if we assume they meant no other employees than oneself. If I can make something entirely on my own with the help of AI and sell it, such as my own movie from Stable Diffusion text to video, then I'd make quite a lot of profit. It's no different than one person software companies, just extended to other forms of creation.

  • yehAnd 2 months ago

    It will help content producers avoid hiring to achieve good results.

    I’m using AI to aid development of a game engine with a baked in model to replicate and help the user evolve the game world style, and rules, to their curiosity and tastes. Games will be even easier since familiar experiences are heavily constrained through painstaking play test. Game world generation parameters are finite. Even the art work we appreciate most is often constrained to a handful of style patterns; consider how flat web design was suddenly everywhere with only colors differing. Whole lot of the same goes into game asset production.

    Gabe Newell called content creating AI an extinction level event for multimedia business. Of course politics as usual will be leveraged to create private monopoly of such technology unless open sourced.

    Our best bet is such software is open source and thus aristocrats cannot lock it up behind artificial scarcity and copyright maximalism.

    • kranke155 2 months ago

      Extinction level event is precisely what I am looking at.

      It’s funny to me that even here in HN people don’t get this at all. They fall behind simple truisms “automation only increases jobs”. It’s almost as if they’ve forgotten Trump got elected because vast swathes of America were deindustrialised and that led to a collapse to the quality of life in those regions.

      On research that I’ve read, automation has definitely decreased the number of industrial jobs in America. Those people, some in large numbers, never found other jobs that were as well paying.

      But like David Simon always says “American distopia doesn’t sell in America”.

      • robertlagrant 2 months ago

        People theoufht the same with advancements in agritech 150 years ago. If 30% of the population isn't out in the fields, they'll be unemployed forever. Turns out we invent new jobs all the time.

        Whether they're worth taking Vs doing something more similar to your current job but for a bit less money is an individual's choice, of course.

        • kranke155 2 months ago

          The average height of Englishmen actually went down during the industrial revolution (presumably) due to malnutrition.

          New histories of the period think of it as potentially as one of the few times we know where there was an enormous economic boom alongside a general collapse of quality of life.

          Ir could be we are looking at something similar at the moment with the digital revolution.

          Yes eventually we all retrain and the effect will be nil, but in the in-between time, a lot of people might suffer immensely.

          • robertlagrant 2 months ago

            I used that giant example a bit comically, perhaps. We're not talking about rapidly retraining a huge, illiterate, agriculture-focused workforce, with utterly game-changing technology.

            We're talking about things that can be eased into, by white collar workers. And the numbers affected are nothing like the industrial revolution's either.

            • kranke155 2 months ago

              Im not sure for how long that will hold up if we end up automating all vehicle driving, image generation and robotising large parts of our workforce.

              • robertlagrant 2 months ago

                Driving is certainly a more significant workforce than image generation, but that seems to be a completely separate area of research.

                • kranke155 2 months ago

                  Certainly. What I mean is - I didn’t expect image generative AI to get good this quickly. Before DallE I didn’t expect it to happen at all - I had no idea it was possible until it happened and I was forced to face it.

                  Driving seems like a tough nut to crack, but what if we suddenly start obliterating multiple areas of human employment one after the other? Ones we haven’t even thought of?

spyder 2 months ago

AI for long time will be just another tool to improve your production. It will probably reduce the more repetitive boring part of the work. Quickly generating content will let you try out a lot of ideas faster and seeing the different results will inspire you more. Some of the simpler work will probably go away but most likely it will be replaced by other work that currently is considered more complex but becomes easier and cheaper with AI so more customer can afford it.

AI+human will produce better results than just AI for a long time but you have to learn how to use it.

One of the interesting possibility will be to train your own AI on your private creative work/dataset so others could not have it if they don't have access to your private dataset, and it would produce your style better than some general AI. There will be services that will do it for you as for example Emad from StabilityAI already mentioned they will provide something like that.

But yeah, if AI keeps improving the end game is a little scary.

madsbuch 2 months ago

Add these technologies to your toolbox.

It is not easy to do "prompt engineering". Keep in mind that most generated material looks awful -- there is a huge selection bias going on.

The outputted stuff needs to made production ready also, distribution, etc.

If anything, the emergence of these technologies should greatly expand. You will have a new customer base that was not available before, and you will be able to deliver new products.

  • TillE 2 months ago

    > Keep in mind that most generated material looks awful -- there is a huge selection bias going on.

    Yeah. Look at machine translation - it's gotten pretty good, in some limited cases it's perfect, but it's also frequently just clueless, and for anything serious you absolutely need a real human translator.

    I think these AI tools will improve, but I'm extremely skeptical that it's going to improve by like an order of magnitude any time soon. It will still require extensive tuning, heavy selection, and accepting that you probably can almost never get it to make exactly what you want.

    • earthboundkid 2 months ago

      I have a childcare provider whose first language is Spanish but also speaks English well. In texts, she’ll frequently use Spanish, and then I can just push a button to translate it. The translations are usually good, but sometimes bad. I think overall, I wouldn’t use machine translation in a scenario where I would use a translator before, but I would be more likely to work with someone who doesn’t speak English perfectly. So, it’s net increasing the demand for translation because the transition costs for small translation work is lower.

  • adamredwoods 2 months ago

    Agreed, we're still decades away from solid results. I compare this to automated driving: Truck drivers and cab drivers are still in business.

    Another example is the uncanny valley of CGI people: at what point was it acceptable to audiences, and at what point was it excellent?

    • OJFord 2 months ago

      > I compare this to automated driving: Truck drivers and cab drivers are still in business.

      It's pretty early to declare that a victory for human drivers isn't it? I'd be worried, if I were them.

    • bulbosaur123 2 months ago

      > Agreed, we're still decades away from solid results

      You spelled "two years" wrong.

ativzzz 2 months ago

The only constant in life is change. There is no guarantee of stability or order in life, despite the human desire to carve it out where it doesn't exist. You can either embrace that change, or fight against it.

Embracing the change means learning the new tools and adapting your job around them. Fighting against it means lobbying the government to create protectionist laws for your industry to prevent new technology from disrupting you.

The former is easier if you are more flexible and open minded. The latter is easier if you have a lot of money and are well connected. Neither is inherently easy, which is why most of us just complain instead.

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    This is the least BS comment I’ve seen here. Thanks you’re right, change is inevitable. I just dropped this here as a challenge if you will, but the overall feeling seems to be “you will actually make more money” or just “become an AÍ prompt person”. The first I don’t think is true and the second doesn’t interest me honestly. I trained in my craft so I could become a craftsman, if you will I’ve always wanted to become a monk who would make copies of books, not a printing press operator.

    • ativzzz 2 months ago

      I don't think craftmanship will ever go away. Better tools allow us to make more stuff and bigger stuff and more complex stuff - AI will be just another tool that creatives can use.

    • iExploder 2 months ago

      it used to be that only taxes and death would come for us all, now AI is in on it as well,

      maybe you could consider joining the machine on a project that feeds the AI with unique new art, I imagine the models will need to be updated or re-learned with "license friendly" art at some point, might be a nice way to go out with the bang..

orbital-decay 2 months ago

No offence, but all this moral panic induced by a spectacular AI demo looks really myopic. It puzzles me how many creative professionals are unable to see their edge somehow. The main value of your work is always conceptualization, even if you see yourself as a pixel pusher (if that's the case, it's most likely wrong), and it's not easy to master.

Maybe you're just not aware of the current state of these tools, and their potential in near future? It's really easy to fall under impression that it advances at light speeds but once you take a deep dive to be aware of the limitations, you'll be much less impressed.

You won't be out of your job. You will have a powerful tool to create with, though. Visual content generation based on text will always lose to compositing, just because of its inefficient nature. "Prompt engineering" is a nonsense gimmick. AI-powered tools won't "replace" you, ever. They will make possible things that are impractical right now due to the sheer amount of manual work involved. (30's animation style comeback, anyone?). You'll always be able to create something with 10x value, compared to a non-pro.

Just keep your nose to the wind, as changes won't be immediate. Embrace it and learn how to use it, to be ahead of everyone. Or at least be aware of your surroundings.

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    Because you’re not a creative professional you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

    Here’s the truth about creative work - most of is trash. You make a lot trash. Unimaginative, boring trash. You use that to pay your bills. The creative stuff that people love and share on Instagram is 10% of the work.

    The stuff you don’t share nor do you talk about is 90% of your income.

    The problem in this forum is people dont have experience with creative work nor do they understand the economics of the industry. Not their fault they don’t have to.

    But here’s the reality - the stuff you love so much and consider creative work is the 5% that those artists made the right decisions and were allowed to make them and everything went fine.

    A lot of the work is drudge work. Like an illustrator starting out will make cheap card illustrations or whatever. And then in his 5% of time he will make the amazing personal stuff he posts on artstation. You love and share the stuff on artstation - but his income is mostly coming from shitty card illustrations that will never be on his portfolio.

    Due to HN being clearly unaware of the economics this is being repeated here a lot - just do super high super creative stuff and you’ll be fine.

    The problem is there isn’t enough of that work to begin with! If you’re working for a good company you know you can place the final work on your portfolio because the creative brief will be good and executed well - Nike, Apple, Squarespace - some people (including myself) will actually reduce our day rate because we know it’s great fun to work on it plus it will be a value add on your portfolio. That’s how competitive it is to GET high end high credit work. The idea that we can all migrate to that is a wild fantasy.

    • navane 2 months ago

      > 90% of the work is sludge, trash, unimaginative, boring trash. This pays the bill for the 5% you're proud of.

      So; learn prompt engineering to do the trash job, which will free up a lot of time to put in the 5% you're proud of.

      • chii 2 months ago

        The OP's argument is that prompt engineering to produce the trash won't pay the same, and so they will suffer an economic decline.

        • kranke155 2 months ago

          The idea that prompting images will pay the same as taking 2-3 days to produce an image through a skillset that takes half a decade to a decade to build up… seems pretty much incredible to me.

          There is an upper limit to how many images in still or moving form the world needs. We’re operating at that limit already - entry level jobs in the arts are often not paid or extremely poorly paid, signifying that demand for the jobs outstrips supply.

          Basically there are always more aspiring film directors in the world than there are actual film directors - meaning the field is ultra competitive. Same with YouTube creators and other artists. The idea that making it easier to produce images will somehow make more work - it won’t since we already exist in an visual content oversaturated environment (there is now more content than anyone will ever watch). What it will do is collapse the incomes of artists.

          • orbital-decay 2 months ago

            Almost everyone who perpetuates this panic seems to be talking about prompting. Typically, that's how you spot people who either:

            - didn't spend much time around those ML-powered tools

            - aren't artists

            Or both. That's why I encourage everyone to do the actual study of what's available with those tools, and get some intuition of what works and what doesn't, to realize that text to image (or text to video) isn't going to change anything. You won't be a "film director" until we have something that can pass for AGI, and probably even then. When trying to do it with text only, you'll end up writing and tweaking a weird essay, wasting a lot of time and not getting what you want. Content generation from text is always going to suck compared to combined compositing and ML techniques by someone with actual hard skill in arts. "Prompt engineering" is a gimmick.

            That's not because those tools currently suck at understanding the natural language, although they do and will for years to come unless there will be several major breakthroughs in NLP, or the hardware will be a couple orders of magnitude more capable (as Google Parti demonstrates on their landing page), at which point it'll be much more transforming than just leaving artists without jobs. And it's not because the tools are limited by the dataset in what they can do (any concept not seen during training is guesswork, and it's very poor at it; for example SD sucks at dynamic posing). That's because text is just a poor medium to explain your intention and to control the result, even if you have a human on the other side. For still pictures, smart photobashing with style and concept transfer (finetuning the model on your own visual language) is where it's at, and for that you need actual understanding of visual arts - dynamic posing, anatomy, color theory, and generally artistic studies of how the world works. The AI tools will be developing in that direction.

            Sure, a digital painter will replace a brush with something smarter, becoming more of a technical artist, but what's wrong with that? It already happened with 3D CG imagery 30-40 years ago, the doomsayers were also there, except we didn't have social media to amplify the panic. But the reality is it's always been an insanely complex and skill-demanding field. ML image generation is just another, higher order tool.

            >There is an upper limit to how many images in still or moving form the world needs. We’re operating at that limit already - entry level jobs in the arts are often not paid or extremely poorly paid, signifying that demand for the jobs outstrips supply.

            Currently, most visual entertainment is very much limited not by demand, but by the amount of work required. Japanese animation turned into a huge industry (and calcified into a more or less uniform visual language, compared to 90's) because it was cheaper to produce and dominated the world with tons of content, not because it's visually appealing more than other styles. Low resolution pseudo-pixelart dominates indie gaming because it's cheaper to produce with limited manpower, not because everyone buys the lo-fi/retro aesthetics. The ML-powered tools have a great potential to break these limits.

            As an example, consider the particular niche which is believed to be disrupted immediately by Stable Diffusion - commission artists making custom character portraits for roleplaying sessions. SD can readily make passable fantasy portraits for this purpose (save for precision), but it needs a lot of work for that, and people still end up paying artists to do this work. This is not going to change for many years, at least. Moreover, the demand is also shifting to other styles, views, and poses with some thought put into it by a human, or potentially to animation/interactivity. The expectations are rising.

            Visual entertainment is mostly driven by novelty.

  • cercatrova 2 months ago

    Ever is a very long time. Let's not dismiss it out of hand. We've already reached this far in 10 years from AlexNet, who knows where we will be in 10, 20, 30 years at this rate.

    • wombatpm 2 months ago

      Welcome to the leading edge of the Singularity.

dougmwne 2 months ago

Perhaps in the short term you do nothing. It will be many years before this moves from “toy” to “tool”. The industry is made up of humans and humans adapt at human speed. You don’t have to outrun the AI bears, you just have to outrun your colleagues.

Perhaps this will just make your job easier and not impact your ability to make money. Maybe you will make even more money.

And if at some point the industry dries up completely, you will move on and do the best you can. We all will.

  • freetime2 2 months ago

    I agree. The Imagen videos are incredibly impressive, but they are also cherry-picked examples and there are noticeable quality issues. Similar to what we have seen with self-driving cars, I expect it will take years to go from an impressive tech demo to the kind of tool that can reliably deliver the kind of quality, versatility, and specificity needed for professional applications.

    So at the very least the parent probably has time to do a bit of soul searching to decide and prepare for their next undertaking.

cercatrova 2 months ago

Create an agency of one (yourself) and use the AI tools. Profit from the margins between the cost of the AI (likely near zero as time goes on) and what you charge customers.

This is not without precedent. DesignJoy is run by a single designer who makes over $1.5 million a year by himself, doing contracts for 20+ clients at a time [0].

[0] https://www.indiehackers.com/post/broke-the-1-5m-arr-mark-as...

dexwiz 2 months ago

I am not an ad person, but to me they always contain a specific subject (thing, place, etc). If you are making an ad for widget XJ900, you don't want it to actually show the XK800. What's harder, trying to prompt the AI into generating content on your specific subject, or just modeling/filming the subject with current methods? Which is harder to incorporate client feedback? So far, slight tweaks in prompts can produce radically difficult results. Paint back can help, but we'll see.

I have yet to see a stable diffusion output that is high quality work. They often lack any compositional sense, and all the lines are weirdly wavy. It's like someone trying to do realism but with the motor skills and spatial awareness of a toddler. The picture that won the state fair awards looked really terrible on further inspection. Basic composition elements like the horizon line or the giant circle in the middle were all skewed, and not in an attractive way. Any elements beyond the central figures are just noise. I see that story as more about bad judging than anything else.

Stable diffusion has its own version of uncanny valley, and it may be a long time before we can cross it. The people who decree stable diffusion as the death of human art don't often to have a firm grasp on artistic or design fundamentals.

  • toast0 2 months ago

    > I am not an ad person, but to me they always contain a specific subject (thing, place, etc). If you are making an ad for widget XJ900, you don't want it to actually show the XK800.

    Depends on the widget. There are lots of categories of widgets where you just want to show happy people. Or if you're advertising a brand rather than a specific product, you may want to show happy people with a logo, but the products don't need to exist.

  • shostack 2 months ago

    Inpainting and outpainting are two techniques that come into play here.

badpun 2 months ago

I'm not so sure it will be that easy to exactly control the output of the AI algos. This is not that important when doing art for art's sake but, for commercial purposes, if you can't make that can of coke slightly bigger or more redder, or have the teenage in the picture hold it slighlty differently (all as per client's feedback), the tool might be a failure.

  • rory 2 months ago

    I think it's more likely that people are simply thinking of the AI algo as doing too much, rather than this kind of tool becoming a general failure. There will likely be many, many steps before, during, and after AI image / video generation that will need a highly skilled human in the loop to produce a great result.

NotHereNotThere 2 months ago

While I think humanity is bad at predicting what the future will look like (where's my damn flying car..), _my_ prediction is that AI video generation will not be a major disrupter to ad agencies / film makers.

It's a nice experiment, but I really doubt the level of artistic direction required to meet specific customer requirements will ever be replaced by "AI"

  • ALittleLight 2 months ago

    I think it probably will within a decade. Just to use still images, the tools that have come out with stable diffusion already allow a lot in terms of generating variations, inpainting, fixing faces, etc. Give these tools time to mature, models keep getting better and bigger, and hardware keeps getting better - you are absolutely going to replace still images "soon" and if you can do still images, video won't be far behind.

    The guy who needs an image will write a prompt and paste it in to some tool. The prompt goes to a language model that's been fine tuned on those websites that share prompts and image-gen creations. The language model spits out nine variations of the original prompt that it thinks will improve the output. The nine generations plus the original prompt produce ten variations from the next gen, or next next gen, diffusers. The original guy put in his prompt and gets back a grid of 100 examples. Does he like any? Maybe mark a few, refine the prompt, mark a few more, get variations of the ones he's marked. Expand one or two, edit something out, add something in, generate another thousand variations, and he's got something really good.

    If this process gets fast I think you'll see a few minutes from a non-expert can produce better illustrations than professional artists. I don't think this means that everyone will be a professional-artist-equivalent - just like anyone could deliver a pizza but not everyone is a pizza delivery driver. What it will mean is that getting professional artist output will become something that anyone could reasonably pick up and do if they do a small amount of learning to get the hang of the tools. Plus, just like you might deliver a pizza to your friends or family, if you needed to you could produce high quality art.

    • cercatrova 2 months ago

      This already happens, this is exactly how Midjourney (which used Stable Diffusion under the hood) works. You write a prompt, it spits back a grid of images and you mark which ones you like, then it iterates until you decide on your output image.

kyleyeats 2 months ago

People like you will do 10x the amount of work in the future. So we don't need about 90% of you.

For this I think you should try to be one of the 10% that's left. You're on HN and you're really early in this AI image generation game.

  • simonw 2 months ago

    I wonder about that. Sometimes when technology makes people 10x more productive society responds by increasing the demand for what they can do by a factor of ten.

    One example: I'm running an early-stage startup. If an explainer video for my product will cost me $20,000 I'm probably not going to commission one. If it costs $2,000 then maybe I will.

    • bombcar 2 months ago

      This is a huge part of it, and if you can ride that wave, you can be the person charging $10k for what everyone else is scrambling around trying to charge $2k.

      • kyleyeats 2 months ago

        Yeah it's really like the 90% are in a race to the bottom and the 10% are in a new field.

        • kranke155 2 months ago

          Yeah like I said the thing is becoming an AÍ prompt person doesn’t interest me in the least. I trained to be a craftsman that’s what interests me.

          • simonw 2 months ago

            I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

            I've seen plenty of talented, experienced artists on various AI subreddits who are incorporating prompt-driven images as a small part of their overall work.

            A relevant example: Newgrounds banned AI art: https://waxy.org/2022/09/online-art-communities-begin-bannin... - but they included this exception:

            > There are cases where some use of AI is ok, for example if you are primarily showcasing your character art but use an AI-generated background.

            • bombcar 2 months ago

              Exactly. Craftsmen adapt to new tools. People are still handbuilding furniture with hundred+ year old techniques but there are skilled craftsmen utilizing CAD-driven tools, also.

              • kranke155 2 months ago

                There’s a big difference between being a book copying monk and a printing press operator. I trained to be a monk.

  • pornel 2 months ago

    Or we may have a Jevon's Paradox, and we'll just use 10x more instead.

Aqueous 2 months ago

I think you maybe getting ahead of yourself. It’s one thing for AI to produce art that roughly aligns with a prompt, which is as you well know right now what it is capable of. It’s another to fulfill the exact vision of what a person wants. That requires a much higher level and more detailed and more intuitive understanding of what the expectations are and what the vision of the director is. AI is not capable of that level of understanding yet, as far as I know. I suspect it might turn out like the issues we are encountering with self-driving. Autonomous vehicles may be able to deal with 99% of all driving situations right now but that last 1% is the killer. That last 1% is the reason self-driving isn’t good enough. Furthermore, while the first 99% may have taken only 20% of the total time to adoption to solve, I suspect that last 1% may take the remaining 80% before self-driving gains widespread adoption. Just as it could be many years before we can fully rely on self-driving technology to cart us around, it could be many years before AI really starts to supplant human artists, before prompt engineering becomes enough of a precise art to no longer need people who can exactly translate a vision into a visual work.

Of course, feel free to print out this comment, hang it on the wall and throw darts at it in a much fewer number of years when my prediction turns out to be totally wrong. It's really just based on an intuition.

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    This is true but the problem is I’m in my early 30s. I have to start planning now for what’s my next profession, and I hope I pick one that won’t get disrupted…

yrgulation 2 months ago

If anything the number of jobs will increase. Simply because technologies such as what you describe are enablers. Suddenly everyone and their cat will want good looking ai generated videos. But someone will need to make that little tweak that makes them look good. For instance, i wouldnt be able to produce nice content regardless of how many ais you throw at me simply because i dont have an eye for it.

But suddenly john in marketing is able to create a few amateurish sketch videos, crappy and naive, but they will lead to ideas for proper videos that he can collaborate with someone like you to turn into professional content. Similarly you will be able to iterate ideas faster and thus keep clients happy.

Its the same with web development. The more libraries the more tools and the more automation the more jobs out there. John in marketing or Sandra the ceo are now able to experiment with mockups, show them to stakeholders and gain their attention much quicker. As a result there are more funding and more product development leading to more tech jobs.

Therefore, enabler tech like this will lead to growth.

smm11 2 months ago

Everybody in the world is carrying a camera with them full-time. I'm still dodging pro photographers shooting weddings, graduates, and teens every time I ride through the park.

simonw 2 months ago

I suggest becoming an expert user of generative AI systems. You can start by exploring Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, then move on to video systems once those start becoming available.

Effective prompt design is a very deep subject, and one that is changing all the time.

My optimistic version of all of this is that people like yourself will be able to continue doing the work you are doing today... but better, and faster. You'll be able to produce higher quality work because the generative AIs will be able to speed up a whole bunch of the more time-consuming tasks for you, allowing you to spend more time on the creative and editorial side of things.

I believe people with genuine skill, talent and taste will produce better work with the assistance of generative AI than people that do not have that existing background.

I might be wrong! I hope I'm right.

givemeethekeys 2 months ago

Learn the new AI tools and market yourself as an AI video production consultant.

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    Not a job I’m interested in tbh.

    • rory 2 months ago

      Are you genuinely asking for advice on what to do? It seems like your options are embrace the new tech, find a niche where you can outcompete it, or find a new way to support yourself that you like better. HN can't tell you which of those to choose.

      Personally I think there's a good chance you're overestimating the the extent to which your day-to-day job will actually change by incorporating AI. Machine learning was supposed to take over data science years ago, but data scientists are in more demand than ever, and their work often doesn't involve too much actual machine learning.

      • kranke155 2 months ago

        I am just answering what seems to be a common suggestion, which is become an AÍ prompt person. I have two objections to this idea 1. I don’t think this is a well paid job with a moat of a skillset Thats built over years of experience - I assume there will be a race for good UX/UI in AÍ generation of images. The other thing is it doesn’t interest me simply because I don’t see it as a craft of imagemaking. Making a good image means knowing about composition, lighting, detail, texture. AÍ imagemaking doesn’t compare really to spending 10 hours agonising over lighting a shot which is what I love.

        Also I asked the question a bit as a challenge yes I do have my own ideas on what I’ll do.

        • rory 2 months ago

          > AÍ imagemaking doesn’t compare really to spending 10 hours agonising over lighting a shot which is what I love

          I sympathize with you a lot here.

          But it's not really a new problem that great art usually doesn't have commercial value commensurate to effort or quality.

          • kranke155 2 months ago

            No absolutely not. It’s just the first time that I’m looking at what I do for a living and thinking it’s just not going to exist in 10 years - not in the same way and potentially not at all. I’m in my early 30s, and this is my career. I have some suspicion that there is absolutely no way I can retire on my profession as it will simply cease to exist. Which is a curious problem.

            It’s bizarre to me. I’m 33 years old and I still used 16mm and 35mm film at film school. When I was there people were still saying “digital cameras will never be the same”.

            Then RED cameras came out and the world slowly moved to digital filmmaking. Then I saw things moving towards CGI and what it once took Pixar 10 hours to render I can do it in better quality on my laptop in 10 minutes these days. I enjoyed that, I thought that was awesome. There’s still skills involved. You have to light the scene even if it’s virtual. Virtual cameras work the same way. I take pictures on medium format film for practice.

            Now it’s like - everything I’ve ever done in my life can be done by a ten year old and a sentence. It’s … frightening, awe inspiring. Many things at once. Almost overwhelming. It makes me think we’re at the end of an epoch, because it seems to me that we’re about to automate almost everything.

            • badpun 2 months ago

              > No absolutely not. It’s just the first time that I’m looking at what I do for a living and thinking it’s just not going to exist in 10 years - not in the same way and potentially not at all. I’m in my early 30s, and this is my career. I have some suspicion that there is absolutely no way I can retire on my profession as it will simply cease to exist. Which is a curious problem.

              Realistically, making images by hunching over a computer for 10 hours is not a profession many can retire in anyway. Like coding (or, perhaps even more so, because the pressure to deliver is actually muc harder), it's a young man's game. People burn out mentally or even physically - carpal tunnel, back pain, neck pain or just lower energy levels due to age can prevent you from putting in the required hours. Realistically, if you stay in the industry, in 10-15 years you'll move into management or high-level consulting anyway.

  • MonkeyMalarky 2 months ago

    If you can't beat em, you might as well join them.

brudgers 2 months ago

Get out of the race to $0.

Develop business relationships.

Good clients are mostly insensitive to price.

That’s what makes them good clients.

Good luck

  • kranke155 2 months ago

    Hmm not sure I follow. I have great clients and they do ask for high end work - but often what keeps me afloat is the trashy low quality stuff. A few times a year I do the high quality high end stuff.

    You’re right that really high end work will continue, most likely unchanged, for at least a decade (maybe). But I’m not so sure really - things are moving so fast.

    • brudgers 2 months ago

      Sorry for not being clear.

      My point is on the quality of clients, not the quality of the work product.

      In the future, clients who prioritize cheap will go on fivrr and get 500 AI alternatives to choose from if they can.

      Or down the block to a lower priced competitor later this afternoon if they can.

      Good clients want you to stay in business because they want to work with you again.

      • kranke155 2 months ago

        This is possible. I like that idea.

illwrks 2 months ago

For any large company (with a brand team) these tools will only ever be a starting point to get a general direction. It might remove some initial back and forth working through some basic things that a junior might do. The output might then be used as a prompt for the creative agencies they work with. The brand is the sacred and I doubt anyone would take the risk with anything that isn't 100% controlled (photoshoot, CGI etc)

For the smaller companies, the mom and pop ones mentioned elsewhere in the thread, this will probably kill any creative work from them.

Also, consider going in-house into a large corporate. They usually have marketing and comms teams, if not external facing then internal. Then when these tools mature you could leverage them to knock out internal work at tighter deadlines.

whoisjuan 2 months ago

Learn how to write. It's as simple as that. These models will require well-crafted prompts to produce the desired outputs.

Your way to get ahead of this is to learn how the models transform a prompt into a video or image. You will quickly realize there's way more nuance and need for precise terminology than the shelf examples you're seeing.

These models are only as good as the prompts they receive. Someone needs to write those precise prompts. You are way ahead of everyone else because you already understand the concepts, terminology, and process of video production and CG.

  • Uehreka 2 months ago

    Yeah, but what happens when GPT-3 starts writing better prompts than humans? People are talking like that’s not going to happen, just like a few years ago people wouldn’t have foreseen how far AI Art would come. I feel like putting bounds on where AI will go next is a bit of a fool’s errand.

    • whoisjuan 2 months ago

      You still need to prompt GPT-3 with something. Stacking two systems won't improve the outputs if your original input lacks precision. Garbage in, garbage out. Granted, GPT-3 requires way less precision to generate something useful, but you still need to pass the proper context.

      I think you're right, though. It's hard to speculate how these things would turn out, but I think it's reasonable to assume that we will still need some relatively sophisticated human input to produce the best results out of these systems.

ttoinou 2 months ago

If you were able to retrain in the same industry on different jobs 3 times, learnt web development, you are reading HN / are tech literate and are aware of the coming changes in the industry such as Deep Learning : don't worry. You're on top of the rest of workers in this industry. You will eventually find your new niche skills, and even if you don't, being on top of your current field you have a few years runaway ;)

zeofig 2 months ago

A lot of people are telling you to Deal With It. I would argue that people are way too hyped about these AI developments. It looks cool and it can generate something interesting, but can it really generate what you need? Can it make something good enough to work like an ad (or whatever) made by people who know what they're doing? Maybe sometimes, but usually the answer is No. Will it do that soon? Nobody knows for sure, but I think a lot of techies are too optimistic. What the AI does is an interpolation of existing image data. It doesn't know how to draw what you really want, and it can't reliably produce output that's usable (let alone "good") for highly specific purposes. And any real application of CG/videography is highly specific. It's easy to imagine all of that is the next step, but I think that's a lot harder than what the AI does at the moment.

galdosdi 2 months ago

> There’s loads of work that ad agencies will just hire an AI prompt guy to generate for ads.

I am really skeptical of the idea that soon, working with image AI will involve purely prompt writing. I bet it will involve some prompt writing but still plenty of original art creation, and even more photoshop combining, as now.

Think about how much more time a modern employed artist spends fucking around with photoshop tools, as opposed to literally having their pen on their wacom tablet. It's just a continuing trend in that direction -- or at least that's my educated guess which could be wrong.

syntheweave 2 months ago

In a broad sense, we can think of the economy in terms of resource inputs to society and the dependencies that result in goods and services. This is the kind of thing you can plot out, industry by industry, with Wardley mapping.

Now, clearly, resource extraction jobs aren't going away. The methods change as we go from "ape poking at insects with stick" to "hydraulic fracking", but someone has to have some oversight of the process.

But everything leading to a resulting experience fulfilling some human need is subject to change with AI in the picture, because we can imagine machines in the loop doing all the processing, moving, coordinating, and final delivery. Experiences that used to be jobs don't have to be anymore.

And therefore the whole social contract of industrial economies is subject to a gradual shift towards indifference: if I have some land, some machines, some access to raw materials, I don't need a job, or to sell things, or to run an organization. But, counterbalancing that, there still have to be voices coordinating and controlling access to those things, because there are too many ethical dangers involved in making it completely permissionless.

What financial systems(hence money, wages, etc.) do in controlling access is a way of assigning credit, so that you gain general permissions to stuff. If you do things that persistently assign credit to yourself, without also turning it into a reassignment of credit that makes enemies(power-monging etc.), you survive in any economy.

The role of anything artistic in that is, broadly speaking, going to be one of storytelling and aesthetic presentation of information. And I think the key insight to take from the tools we're getting is that direct prompt engineering is going to be taken for granted; but prompt engineering as a layer on top of or beneath a more specialized skillset will still produce distinguished results.

That is, if you can glue a little bit of API code together, you can create a job where 90% of your creative time is still spent in a more hands-on mode, but then you send it through the machine as the last step. The trick is in not getting too dependent on someone's platform control play in the process.

kube-system 2 months ago

Find the weaknesses of AI generated imagery and do the things that it can't.

  • Wolfbeta 2 months ago

    Become a human Generative Adversarial Network.

    Reductio ad absurdium.

hackeraccount 2 months ago

I understand you're not interested in learning a new tool set. That totally sucks especially when it at least appears orthogonal to what you currently know (not to be a dick but I would underline appears).

As a related thought, if not an upside, did you read that story about the guy who outsourced his job to China? He worked for some telecom and just hired out whatever they wanted him to do to randos overseas and basically ended up doing nothing other then going to meetings that set up scope.

I believe he was fired but - end result aside - it's not hard to see how this might fit into your situation.

tenebrisalietum 2 months ago

Human language is inexact and context sensitive. This means the precise meaning of words in communications is unique to the time, place, and members of the communication.

Because of this, there will never be a 100% reliable "text prompt to AI image" generator. Someone will have to get to know the AI and figure out how to make it do what is wanted, or modify it to get what is wanted.

Kinda the same way Google and other information repositories have not made researcher's jobs obsolete.

earthboundkid 2 months ago

Current AI puts out weird output that is not suitable for publication. There will be working fixing it for the foreseeable future.

macawfish 2 months ago

Same feeling as a software developer. Programming as we know it will be completely transformed before the end of the decade.

t0bia_s 2 months ago

AI wouldn't steal your job. I guess your clients require specific taks, nothing that can be precisely done by AI. Sure, it can help to speed up creative process, but if AI generated images/video is enough for your clients, than nothing new and innovative is made.

  • anothernewdude 2 months ago

    > than nothing new and innovative is made.

    But will people notice?

    • t0bia_s 2 months ago

      Those, who pay for innovations, specific tastk and actual art... Of course.

nitwit005 2 months ago

It seems fairly hard to predict to me. There have been huge improvements in computer art generally, but that seems to have come with rising demand and quality expectations.

If prices for this sort of art does fall, demand will also increase. It's hard to guess how big that increase will be.

ffwacom 2 months ago

AI as it stands is a massive legal liability for companies as it interpolates between plagiarised images.

The image gen projects are extremely unethical and immoral IMO as they rely on scraped data created by artists to ‘train’.

nbzso 2 months ago

My practical advice: Plan for your future from a blank state of mind. Reduce all unnecessary expenses, invest into more self-sufficient survival.

The race between semi-pros and professionals is marketing driven, same applies in AI situation, AI will not be as good as the best in the business, but clients/corporations will use the AI argument to lower the reward for professional labor.

This is normal. This is the Surveillance Capitalism. And is the direct result of the lack of ethics behind the tech overlords. They simply don't care. And now their social position of demigods and keepers of "the knowledge" will give them the ultimate power over peoples imagination and thoughts.

So be it. I cannot stop this. And the "adaptation" argument is utter nonsense. But I can move into the woods and live a simple and happy life. I can create my own paper and paints from surrounding materials, and I will paint for myself and my friends.

The majority of the next generations will have no problem to be controlled by AI. Corporations will package this as a "progress" and people will swallow it willingly.

So what? It is a choice, a minority will refuse to live in AI induced comma and will search for human touch, human emotions, human produced reality.

asadlionpk 2 months ago

I would say add these AI tools to your toolbox and use them to get things done quicker.

  • yamtaddle 2 months ago

    Right—the ones who survive in the industry will be the ones who use these tools to increase their output 5x or more (while someone who's only good at the prompt-crafting part and isn't an expert at image manipulation might only hit 1x-2x the pro's prior output)

CelticBard 2 months ago

Being proactive is always a good thing. Use the AI as a tool in your process.

tayo42 2 months ago

Doesn't this art need to be trained on original human art? Eventually the styles being copied by ai will get stale. AFAIK these ai image generators aren't actually creating new styles

kache_ 2 months ago

Unfortunately, it seems that technology is showing no signs of slowing down. If it's any solace, you're only the first set of victims, and the rest of us will soon follow.

mixmastamyk 2 months ago

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

However, I don't think it'll replace much or even a lot of work, especially where a minimum level of quality is desired.

freedude 2 months ago

It probably depends upon you.

Is AI a tool or a trap?

Can it make some of your jobs iterate more quickly and weed out the cruft or heavy lifting?

Or is it only something that gets in your way of production?

It is up to you.

krapp 2 months ago

If you can lift at least 35 pounds and pass a drug test, Amazon is always hiring. I also hear trucking and paralegal are booming fields.

bobsmooth 2 months ago

Become a plumber. It'll be a while till robots can replace you in the trades.

  • KMnO4 2 months ago

    You’re telling a highly creative person to pursue an unstimulating job that they’re not passionate about.

    • ALittleLight 2 months ago

      This kind of comes across like you're implying there are different classes of people and our kind are too good to be plumbers. If you're worried about AI taking your job, then taking a job that AI can't do seems like a pretty reasonable response.

      • pessimizer 2 months ago

        The upper-middle class have a god-given right to make a very good living expressing their creativity and opinions.

    • bobsmooth 2 months ago

      There are millions of people working unstimulating jobs they're not passionate about. Why is the OP special?

    • 10u152 2 months ago

      Perhaps, but jobs are what you make of them. I know a guy that does floor polishing and epoxy floors. Not a very creative job but plenty of work.

      Him and his crew spend a lot of time together. They have deep discussions about philosophy, art and ethics while spreading smelly goop around concrete floors. I bet they go home pretty intellectually satisfied from doing epoxy floors.

    • hackeraccount 2 months ago

      When I do plumbing it's both creative and very stimulating; at least to the senses.

cwkoss 2 months ago

Working on ads is a profession with significant moral hazard: thought manipulation is inherently antisocial. Being disrupted out of the industry could end up being a blessing for your mental wellbeing.

quinnjh 2 months ago

Be valuable :)