Truth Is Just Perception

Is Generative Artificial Intelligence The Most Powerful Cultural Fragmentation Weapon Of All Time?

The infinite capabilities of this technology in terms of personalization and cloning represent a threat to social cohesion.

I often use Carvana as an example in my conferences on generative AI. Carvana is an American used car sales brand, which last year created and produced in four hours 1.3 million ultra-personalized videos to celebrate its tenth anniversary with each of its clients. By “ultra-personalized,” I mean that each video offered an individualized story for each recipient, not just a common narrative with the customer’s name added at the beginning or end of the short film.

In addition to this ability to personalize, generative AIs are also capable of cloning the appearance, expressions, and voice of any characters provided to them in their training data. To take just two of the most recent artistic examples, consider “Fortnight,” one of the songs from Taylor Swift’s upcoming album “The Tortured Poets Department,” set to release next week. This duet with Post Malone was aired on TikTok last month, leading many to think that Taylor Swift had once again come up with one of her secret marketing stunts. In fact, it was a version generated by AI. As for the other huge star of American music, Beyoncé, her latest hit, “Texas Hold ‘Em,” was excellently covered by a generative AI cloning country music legend Hank Williams Jr., who died over 70 years ago.

Illustration created with DALL-E 3. Prompt : “3D pixar cartoon that vividly illustrates an expansive, densely packed crowd of diverse people, each engrossed in their own world of media consumption. Every individual should be distinctively engaged either in watching a personal, portable TV or in listening to music through headphones. The TVs vary in design, showcasing different shows, colors, and sizes, while the headphones range from small earbuds to large, over-ear types, hinting at the variety of music being listened to. The setting is outdoors, under a clear sky, with the crowd stretching out to the horizon, emphasizing the vast number of participants. The facial expressions should reflect a range of emotions from joy, intrigue, to intense focus, highlighting the personal connection with the media being consumed. Include a variety of ages, ethnicities, and styles to show a wide representation of people, all unified by their engagement with technology, yet isolated in their personal experiences. Vivid purple. Wide format”.

Soon, everyone will be able to instantly create their own version of the most famous blockbusters, starring themselves in the lead role and assigning supporting roles to their best friends, change the finale of “Game of Thrones” as they wish, compose and produce the Beatles songs they dream the Fab Four might have performed before their breakup, or write the novel they have in mind. Better still, it will be child’s play and virtually free.

The risk posed by this technological development is the fragmentation of our societies. If everyone consumes content they have created, we will have less time to devote to works of all kinds that contribute to building common ground by fueling our discussions and establishing collective references. In this regard, many have criticized the practice of “binge-watching” (made possible by making all episodes of a season available at once) popularized by Netflix, which deprives us of the shared and commented viewing of an iconic TV moment. What lies ahead will be far worse than this phenomenon.

Beyond artists, brands also play a role in shaping popular culture. Indeed, the term “communication” (“communicare” in Latin) etymologically means “to put in common”. Communicators must therefore take their part in mitigating this societal risk. They must not allow themselves to be totally absorbed by the limitless personalization of their activities and, with it, the unprecedented return on investment that generative artificial intelligences offer, and continue to propose creations that can gather their stakeholders’ attention.

In fact, just as you can’t have a civic debate if you don’t agree on the facts, it’s difficult to have a society if you don’t share a minimum of common cultural codes.

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