The arrival of OpenAI's Sora shocks creatives

By Ruby Derrick | 21 February 2024
Credit: Mariia Shalabaieva via Unsplash.

The AI hustle has continued with the emergence of Sora AI, which has left Australian creatives shocked, but open to discover and learn more.

OpenAI's latest artificial intelligence system Sora is a video generator that enables users to convert text to video. 

The new AI model can create videos by using either text instructions or text combined with an image, capable of producing videos up to 60 seconds long. 

“It’s going to be a game changer and it is going to upend many production companies and agencies if they ignore it," Rodd Chant, creative director, told AdNews.

"Clients will want it for cost and time savings. Will it be a welcome addition to some ad agencies and production companies? Yes. What differentiates these two camps? Resistance vs Adoption.

“If anyone thinks clients are not going to expect, let alone demand this technology be implemented for both cost and time efficiencies they are sadly fooling themselves.”

Sora has certainly shocked everyone, and it seems that every few months, AI jumps another quantum leap and drops bombs on the creative industry, says Marcus Byrne, head of art at Thinkerbell. 

Byrne, who has published three books on AI, and has merged everyday appliances with a Gaudí aesthetic using AI software and Photoshop, believes the quality of Sora was expected but not so soon.

“Understanding physics is where my mind was blown, but trained on Unreal Engine data, it makes perfect sense. CGI is getting so real. Having AI sound fx that automatically matches the scenes may well be next,” he says.

“So, what does this mean for Australian creatives? I think it’s bigger than just Australian creatives, as global economies will be affected. For example, Canon generated $30.5 billion in net sales in 2022 and the global movies and entertainment market is over $100 billion a year.”

But, Byrne says, like all new tech, new industries will emerge that people can’t even imagine yet. 

Phone apps didn’t exist 17 years ago, yet that’s where the masses spend most of their day, he says.

“Tools always change, but fundamentally, human creativity and storytelling still win. As creativity is being democratised, the cream will rise to the top. I will be worried when AI can create something like ‘Withnail and I’,” says Byrne.

“Personalised movies may be next; who knows, enter Black Mirror. We will see stories that could never be told and will connect with hundreds of millions of people in new creative ways, all on a shoestring. This, in turn, will shake up our view of the world, never mind automating the 6-second pre-roll ads. So, Australian creatives, it's best to learn about AI and how to use it.”

As Sora inches closer to public availability, creatives the world over find themselves at the forefront (and firing-line) of addressing the obvious and hidden challenges, says Shea Bennett, director of video at Chello.

“Collaborative efforts between AI companies, social media networks, and governments are essential to develop safeguards against the misuse of AI-generated content, including the implementation of unique identifiers; however there is no denying that AI initiatives such as Sora are immensely powerful creative tools," he says.

"2024 marks the beginning of a new era - one where creatives can shape the trajectory of AI-driven content creation and are positioned as crucial guides for their clients."

When Bennett first saw the footage generated by Sora he felt his stomach plummet. 

“Was this the end of traditional live-action production as we know it? Perhaps. Certain industries such as the stock footage market might soon be obsolete,” he says.

But any tool is useless if it’s used incorrectly, and it becomes the responsibility of creatives to help clients (and audiences) navigate the benefits and pitfalls of AI and its use in campaigns, advising when and how to incorporate this technology - and most importantly, how to do it ethically, says Bennett.

"In an age where AI threatens to blur the lines between reality and fabrication, we all bear the responsibility of ensuring that human communication, irrespective of the medium, remains authentic, transparent, and ethical."

Kieran Antill, executive director of brand & marketing at specialist business design consultancy Ne-Lo Business Design, says everything everyone perceives is composed of tiny dots; everything ever created by humanity is made up of these dots, including the world and ourselves. 

“AI excels at manipulating these tiny dots and holds the potential for both remarkable achievements and challenges, whether for better or worse,” he says.

“The outcome remains uncertain, but what's clear is there's no turning back from this technological advancement. We all must embrace it to understand and steer it effectively."

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