Discover more from Smartphone Filmmaking
Will AI Write Our History in the Future?
We are at the precipice of evolution and it's just a matter of time that we find the story of all of us being generated by artificial intelligence.
Not everything is set in stone when it comes to the future, but if we’re on this path paying attention, we may find opportunities to change the direction of where we are heading.
What if? It’s something to consider what would happen if. At least up until it happens. But sometimes, it’s not that question that guides the narrative of the future. For me, and many others, it’s connections we make and deduce.
If we connect the things that are happening with the past, we can see a “chain” that creates a path. A path that leads into a possible future; what is truly possible.
When I started having conversations with filmmakers, for my new podcast in late 2017, I began to share my thoughts (although not publicly) about AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Marketing agencies tend to jump on every trend for their clients. They want their clients to succeed. You find them promoting their clients’ products and services. When it comes to entrepreneurship, some of these things are new to the public. It’s important for the agencies to market them as trends before they actually trend.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, NFTs, etc. All these trends are incomprehensible to most people, but they’ve become trendy—even to people who don’t know what they are, or how they work together, or what differentiates them from each other.
For the record, I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic. But I want to share my perspective on how I believed AI would turn into something that affects all humanity. This is not something I suggest should happen. I think there is a danger to all of us because of what the internet has become, with all its misinformation. It’s not all social media.
What I shared with my colleagues, I also shared on the Clubhouse app, back when I was more involved hosting, and participating, in audio discussions that were somewhat private.
‘I think that AI…’ I began to say, ‘…is going to grow into something powerful. So powerful that it will find a way to be at the center of the internet. Somehow in the future, when all is said and done, it will write and tell our history based on the internet and its archives.’
When I would say this to people, I was not speaking to people who were not at least somewhat integrated in the tech world. I was surprised to not hear a reaction. But I have my own.
I am passionate about storytelling. I believe in the power of storytelling, where ordinary people possess the ability to tell incredible stories that can help the world be a better place. We connect through our stories. My opinion, and that of many others, is that filmmaking is the most prominent and powerful way to share stories.
In the film industry, there exists a small number of film directors, writers and studios who possess the power of creating and distributing films for the masses, compared to all the filmmakers who are making films hoping to get Hollywood and media recognition for their films.
In 2007-2008, I realized many people were getting tired of watching the same type of films and stopped going to the theater. They claimed the cost was too high and the movies were all the same.
It was at that time, that I began to think about launching the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego. It was the first film festival exclusive to films made for the cinema screen shot with only mobile phone (cell phone) cameras.
The platform, and space, is a means to hand the power of storytelling to people who dreamed of making films around the world who were not connected to Hollywood. At the same time, I hoped some Hollywood filmmakers would make films with a phone, and inspire more people to make films in this way.
There are many independent filmmakers, musicians, and book publishers, who distribute their work independently. There’s always a level of experience and professionalism in the “business” that comes with it. But in the end, they’re creating art.
When the trend began to evolve in AI art (with images) last year, it began to stir my thinking around what I had been contemplating about AI and our future for a few years.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT is now part of the list of trends which has been advancing quite rapidly.
Note: I do not have an account with OpenAI due to their privacy terms and their requirement for my phone number (not Google Voice). I recommend everyone read the terms and privacy policies of every account they wish to sign up for.
Smartphone Filmmaking is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I realize that Google’s search engine is endangered by the prospect of AI by AI companies, even though it uses AI for its services and search results.
In defense of artists: content creators, filmmakers and musicians, actors, podcasters, writers…everyone who depends on their skills and talents; what is happening with AI is troubling and the concern is valid.
But when it comes to storytelling…I have some serious opinions on the matter.
I consider storytelling at the center of humanity. I believe that if we have an apocalyptic event, we won’t survive with money and gold. Instead, we’ll survive by creating communities of survivors, and that means we’ll need to build trust. The best way we build trust is, and has always been, through our stories. It’s how we humans connect with each other.
I’ve shared this belief in my podcast many times: that if all of us make films and share our stories, we could change the world to make it a better place for all of us and future generations. Films create empathy. They educate us. It’s effortless for the viewer.
Obviously, not everyone will create films, but my personal wish is to share my message, and the opportunity I offer through my festival platform, with as many humans as possible.
We have the tool in our hands right now to achieve it. It cuts the effort and investment from the storyteller in half. Starting now is a great way to become an experienced filmmaker. Read this article I wrote this summer about how making movies with smartphones has become a real option for filmmakers looking to distribute their films in Amazon Prime, Tubi, and other streaming services for movies.
Imagine that in the future, surely this is already happening, an AI bot is asked to share the history of a culture, a country, or our planet. Imagine world history class in school and all the topics we learned about, but instead of a text book online, we receive AI generated results.
When I research a topic using search engines, by the way, they use AI algorithms to generate results, I have to be careful with the sources it produces…it can be exhausting to find valid resources depending on the topic.
Where would AI on ChatGPT search results on a history topic come from? It would come from all of us, because we’ve been adding the sources on the internet. But at some point, it would regenerate the results based on it’s own results. Yes, I said regenerate.
Our own stories would fizzle out. That is because, I think, AI will not only search for text or photographs, but all media. Podcasts, films, videos, social media, blogs, photos, music and lyrics, you name it, it will all be available to AI as a resource to incorporate into its results.
I realize this is going to make many people upset, and rightly so. We will lack the ability to connect human to human through our own stories. It’s sad. It can be very destructive to our perception of who we are. It can affect every aspect of society in more ways than I am willing to bring up here.
Currently, AI is sifting through human generated content. We can continue to create content and, at the same time, find a way to label our content as human generated. But we also must pressure the AI companies like OpenAI to stop using resources that are not permitted for others, including entities to use and duplicate, as an open free-for-all resource. When we create things, we don’t intend them to be used in that sense. If we do, we can label them in that way, much as we label Creative Commons Licensing.
What would be a negative consequence is that we stop sharing our creations, our content—our stories, online. It’s a dilemma that needs to be addressed before we allow it to go too deep.
My call to action, while proposing more storytelling by humans, is more art and more content from content creators, more films by filmmakers, more music, more everything.
As I was writing this, I received a message from someone who wanted me to consider their film. They used AI altered images on their smartphone to make the film. I responded that I am not ready to accept that at this time. My tendency is to treat it as I have been with editing apps. In the rules we specifically state, self editing apps do not qualify. Edit decisions must be made by the filmmakers, humans.
It brings up one last point, at which point does a contest or competition allow submissions made by AI generated content? If they pay submission fees, are they going to allow it? And how many filmmakers are willing to ditch creating their own practice of making films in order to create more “winning” content because it fits a winning formula? In the Academy Awards, for example, how long will it take for them to award AI generated Hollywood films? It’s really about the money, isn’t it?
The internet is always evolving, but it’s up to all of us to have a say in how it evolves. It should remain open to everyone on an individual basis, not just big corporations like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.
What do you think about how AI is evolving? Can we alter the course of humanity’s storytelling through AI?