Why you should care about Generative AI

First, watch this video:

The original commercial required 30 people and took about a month to produce, whereas the AI-driven remake was accomplished by one individual in less than a day!

Now, if you're a glass half empty kind of person, you're thinking about those 29 people who were laid off. But if you're a glass half full kind of person, you're thinking you can create a $50,000 TV commercial by yourself in less than a day. This could make for more compelling advertising to promote whatever it is that you sell for a living!

There's a rule of thumb in the entrepreneurial business call the order of magnitude requirement. Things need to be 10x better, faster or cheaper to succeed. If this video is any indication, the future of generative AI is likely to bring a 1000x improvement, at least over time, to the human task of creative endeavor.

However, many analysts disagree with such a positive view, and predict that generative AI has been overhyped, and is set for a correction in 2024. These naysayers predict that the speculative bubble will burst. They say that output is still too unreliable for many tasks. That training ever-larger models requires exponentially more data and computing power, raising questions about scalability. And when hype meets reality, valuations of generative startups will fall dramatically. Funding could dry up overnight, once the sector has lost its novelty.

But all of these arguments vanish like smoke, once you see something with your own eyes. This video is the equivalent of Orville Wright completing the first powered flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 119 years ago. That flight lasted just 12 seconds, traveled only 120 feet, and reached a top speed of merely six miles per hour. But it meant that it was flight was possible. Similarly, this demonstration of text-to-video by Pika Labs hit me as hard as if I were watching the Wright Flyer take off for the first time. Sure, there were a thousand reasons back then why flight couldn't be commercialized, but hell, we fly in jetliners every day now. AI is just as profound an achievement as flight, or the printing press, or the first ENIAC computer.

When faced with so dramatic a paradigm shift, there is naturally resistance. Here is a model for how that resistance is overcome, in the cartoon below:

These are the five stages of paradigm shift: First, you simply don't have time for this, so it's pretty exasperating to deal with anything that disrupts your life or business. Second, when you finally have time, you check it out... and it's pretty cute. ChatGPT writes limericks. Midjourney makes interesting images. You are somewhat amused, but you're not worried at all about ChatGPT replacing you. Third, this AI stuff starts winning you over, so you now feel some mild interest. As you dig in, something clicks, and you realize that this could be very useful. It could be significant. Fourth, you realize that your competitors will be using this to catch up with you! And fifth, you go into a total frenzy because you are way behind, and you need to catch up!

And this is why the best time to get started with AI is yesterday. The next best is today.