AI is Coming For Content Creation Jobs, Faster Than You Think!

“The Robots are Coming To Take Our Jobs!”

Fear of having jobs taken by robots (or immigrants, or people of color if we’re being honest) is a fear as old as jobs themselves.

A quick search for the root of this fear leads to results like this wikipedia entry for Technophobia which can trace it’s roots all the way back to a group of weavers destroying machines in 1675.

The fear of robots specifically goes at least “The Brazen Android” a story published in The Atlantic all the way back in 1891.

Whether it’s weavers, or Ford assembly line workers or now sportswriters the fear of robots taking our jobs is nothing new.

For the most part the fear of robots was limited to more manual tasks like assembling Ford F150s.

Companies like Braincorp have created automatic floor sweepers, while the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner has been cleaning homes with questionable effectiveness for over a decade.

Robotic Process Automation or RPA use machine learning to complete tedious paperwork tasks such as compiling documents for signatures or checking for compliance or legal privilege.

But for the most part those who created things (like content) believed that we would be safe from the robot job apocalypse.

Only it appears we were wrong.

First the content creating robots started by writing ads. If you’ve worked in online marketing over the last few years you’ve no doubt discovered programmatic Pay per click (PPC).

Programmatic PPC is an artificially intelligent system that allows you to automatically buy, place and optimize display advertising.

Or in other words the robot buys, places and optimizes the ad for you.

There goes a whole industry of PPC consultants.

Programmatic PPC
The Mist Comes For PPC consultants

In fact it’s been estimated that in 5 years all PPC ads will run, and optimize automatically after the initial setup without any human interface necessary at all.

Which is why Google is actively calling everyone who advertises with them to offer them help with their programmatic system.

I know, I’ve been on 3 of those calls and grilled them for information about their robots which I’ll share in an upcoming article.

Now content creators, bloggers, and video makers have another type of AI to content with as content creating algorithms have begun to slowly trickle onto the market.

The technology being used is

  • Natural language generation (NLG) similar to Natural language processing (NLP) this is the task of generating natural language from machine representation systems.
  • Intelligent narratives sometimes also called “data driven narratives” which are stories created from the collected data personalized for the audience.
  • Automated storytelling technology which is responsible for the first AI created screenplay Sunspring

And this technology is ALREADY being used.

3 companies already using A.I to create content:

  1. Quill. The most well known NLG software is Quill which was created by the Narrative Science company. Quill started as an experiment at Northwestern and currently produces over 1 million words a day as it creates reports, news stories and headlines for companies such as Groupon, and T.Row Price. 
  2. The Washington Post. It’s no surprise that a paper owned by the World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos would be on the frontlines of AI created content. The Washington Post has an in house AI content creation system called “Heligraf” which wrote over 850 stories in 2017 alone. Heliograf also composes social media posts, news updates and alerts. Notable events covered by Heliograf include the Rio olympics and local political races in the DMV area.
  3. The Associated Press. While many people associate the AP with the old world journalism of newsrooms, black coffee and unfiltered cigarettes, they are actually one of the most advanced companies when it comes to content creating AI. The AP uses Automated Insights to take care of it’s oft neglected by humans corporate earnings reports beat. But what really separates the AP from the rest of the pack when it comes to intelligent content creation is with Wordsmith “The World’s First Public Natural Language Generation Platform. Let’s explain because that is a mouthful. Wordsmith works with you to create a story. First you set up rules, a template and and the required datapoints. From there Wordsmith does the rest creating the story. Wordsmith generates over 1.5 Billion Pieces of Content A Year or about half as much as I do. Companies that use Wordsmith include Microsoft and Allstate.

If you like me make your living creating content those last few paragraphs sent a cold shiver down your spine.

But there’s still reason for optimism if you are a content creator!

Why Content Creators shouldn’t panic: 

  1. Emotional Depth. If you look at the reviews for Sunspring the AI created screenplay you’ll see a lot of words like quirky and interesting. That’s because it’s still very difficult for AI to recognize the role that emotions play in making content interesting! Think of a show like “Parenthood” which is basically emotional porn. They crank the 70s music, a mother and son have a universally emotional moment and we all cry. AI has a LONG way to go until it is capable of writing shows like “Parenthood” or it’s evolutionary successor “This is us.”
  2. Context. In this Post I talk about how the biggest challenge for AI when it comes to language is context. Identifying things like sarcasm, and irony are still difficult for machines to do and are a BIG part of creating content that connects with your audience. Until computer programs can understand something as complicated as the “Aristocrats” joke comedians and other content creators will still be safe

3. Creativity. Last but certainly not least is creativity. Movies like Memento, or Pulp Fiction which bent the way narratives are used can’t be created by AI. AT least not yet. There will always be something to be said for the genius of human creativity that cannot be replicated.

I think about AI with regards to content creation like the famous quote about 500 monkeys at typewriters writing the best novel of all time. Or more accurately like this simpsons clips

While content creation robots are coming, all they are going to do is take the menial content creation jobs. They won’t be writing the World’s best novel or even the most popular blog posts.

If you’re a content creator who just churns out crap, then yes your time is probably coming to an end because the robots can churn out crap faster and cheaper.

But there has always been a market for good writing, entertaining videos and engaging speeches and I think there always will be.

 

What Can’t You Get On Your Phone?

As I sat on my couch watching a movie that was still in theatres that I ordered on my tablet, while simultaneously waiting for a Postmates order and setting up a date for later on Tinder, I started to wonder

“What can’t you get on your phone?”

And I’m not alone.

Here’s some scary statistics for you about how how often we use our phones

  • The Average person looks at their phone OVER 100 times a day
  • 71% of people sleep next to their mobile phone
  • 20% of people have reported falling asleep with their phone in their hand
  • 20% of people have admitted to checking their phone during sex

As Dan Le Batard says “Our phones are the great unspoken about addiction of our time.”

And why not?

You can get almost ANYTHING with just a few keystrokes. Or if you, like me are an android user, a simple scan of your eyes is enough to buy new shoes. I know. I did it. Made it WAY too easy.

What can you get on your phone?
  • Sex. Apps like tinder and bumble as well as every other dating site out there (and private apps I’m not cool enough to get invited to) make it possible to literally go from meeting a man or woman to inviting them over in a few simple messages.  
  • Legal Drugs. Obviously you can’t order drugs that are illegal (or at least I’m too square to know how) but in Las Vegas where I live you can order recreational marijuana delivered to your house with a local ID. You can also use Postmates to pick up your prescriptions if you set it up with your pharmacy beforehand. 
  • Alcohol. Postmates and other services will bring you booze when you are too drunk to drive to the store. 
  • Food. Pretty obvious but you can literally order any type of food pretty much 24/7. 
  • Car service. Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services let you order your own car or carpool with others. 
  • Groceries. Whether you order from Amazon fresh or some other service you can arrange weekly or daily grocery deliveries ensuring you never need step foot in a supermarket ever again,
  • TV. Stream any TV show you want to watch at any time. In any place. I was watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” at the DMV.
  • Movies. Not only can you get movies to stream to your phone (including some like the Rock’s terrible Jumanji remake even stream while in theatres). You can also get movie tickets if you decide you want to leave the comfort of your couch.
  • Music. Someone possibly Bomani Jones recently mentioned how crazy it is that you can literally listen to any song you want to at any time on your phone for $9.99 a month with no commercials. 
  • Validation. Feeling down about yourself? Post something to social media and instantly get the validation of your friends and family.
  • Deals. Sick of overpaying? You can download a groupon coupon while in line and get a discount you didn’t even know existed. 
  • Dog sitting. Need to run out but don’t want to leave Fido alone? Companies like WAG will match you and your furry pal with a pet sitter.
  • Sports and Event tickets. Apps like Stubhub allow you to purchase tickets while you’re out and about or even on the way to the venue.
  • Investments. You can even invest on your phone with apps like Acorn which will automatically invest savings it automatically withholds from your bank account.

As you can see, you can pretty much do anything or buy anything on your phone.

But there are still a few things you can’t get like:

You cannot at the time of this writing order a Unicorn
What You can’t get on your phone:

 

  1. Boats. As far as I can tell there is no app with which you can instantly rent a boat. Sure you could probably find and call a boat rental place but there is no app for that.
  2. Helicopters. Ditto with helicopters. Rich person transportation is a real hole in the app economy.
  3. Friends. You can’t make friends online with an app. While there are apps like Bumble BFF none of them work and you’ll end up getting hit on by someone of the same sex when you try them. Or at least that’s what happens to me. Every. Time. Also Tinder is not a friend app. Stop putting “friends only” in your tinder app. They don’t have an app for friends. Deal with it. 
  4. Quality Meetings and Events. There are apps like Meetup and Eventbrite but they are NOT going to send you to events you actually want to go to. In my experience if you go to 10 events from these kind of apps 1 MIGHT be worthwhile. Might. 
  5. Passive Income. As of yet there are no good apps for making passive income and no I don’t trust REIT apps like Fundrise. 
  6. Legitimate business opportunities or jobs. This might need it’s own post but the jobs and opportunities that are offered on apps are generally in the gig economy which is a nice way of saying low paid and no benefits. 
  7. Nightlife guides or recommendations. This isn’t just an app thing. For my entire club going life I have NEVER once found a website that has accurate nightlife recommendations. Not one. You will be either in an empty club or a club full or the worst crowd you have ever seen trusting nightlife reviews online. Someone (not me) should start a business where you can see a live video feed inside of all the bars and clubs in a town. Million dollar app idea. 
  8. Trustworthy Reviews or Testimonials. You can find review and testimonials on almost every website making it increasingly difficult to know who to believe. 
  9. Cross Device Rivals. I used to have a mac. Long story short I switched everything to Google and went Chrome. You know what I can no longer do? Watch the tv shows I paid for and music I bought on Itunes. I also cannot watch Directv on demand. That’s fun. 
  10. Reasonable food delivery. I’m just saying it is mathematically impossible to spend less than $20 on food delivery. Even if you don’t tip. 
  11. Favors. Another part of the Gig economy. One of the reasons that you have to pay for Uber or Postmates is that you don’t have friends who would do favors for you. There’s no way to get people to do you a favor online without paying them.
  12. Illegal things. I covered this a little earlier but I can order weed but not cocaine? Seems racist.
  13. Same day furniture. I could have picked a bunch of same day services like handyman repairs or auto service but you cannot order and receive furniture on the same day with any app. Yes I know about offer up but that doesn’t count because it’s used and that’s basically craigslist.
What could be next?

As you have now seen you can get almost anything but not quite everything from convenience of your phone.

But here’s a few ideas for what might be next:

  • 10% improvements. Many of these services have major flaws from pricing to delivery times. I expect that the first thing we’re going to see is small 10% improvements of these services as they are currently offered. 
  • Same day delivery for bigger items like furniture, entertainment equipment etc. Someone could make a killing renting out big screen tvs for Super Bowl parties.
  • Repairs. Repairs are a majorly underserved niche when it comes to apps. Imagine having someone come fix your flat tire while you are work, or having the genius bar come pick up your laptop and provide you with a replacement.
  • Doctor’s appointments. You’re already seeing some of this with companies like Plushcare but the services and types of Doctors are limited. One easy area where this could be a major revenue creator would be for cosmetic surgery consultations when patients are too embarrassed to come in to the office.
  • Specialized items: Keto or 30 day whole diet food delivery, niche products and more drilling down into specific items that small groups will pay big money for.
  • Luxury items and services. I mean this might not even be lacking it’s totally possible that Elon Musk has a private app for wealthy people that books him spaceships and whatnot but I expect to see more luxury item delivery apps at some point soon.

Ok that was a big brain dump

But I am genuinely curious what do you think will be the next “BIG” thing when it comes to getting stuff on your phone?