MARCH 21 – 02
A new narrative to emerge?
The current pandemic has put new spotlight on the potential of synthetic media, a technology that has been emerging over the last fifteen years – at first barely noticeably, but faster and faster since 2017. Synthetic media constitutes an umbrella term for all kinds of content generated or manipulated by artificial intelligence, often through machine learning and deep learning, and includes, amongst others, virtual assistants, chatbots synthesizing text and speech as well as virtual beings like, for instance, computer-generated Instagram influencers. While, thus far, rather the dangers, risks and downsides in relation to the technology’s manipulation and the production of deepfakes had been put forward, we at Cc currently observe the emergence of a new, more positive narrative around synthetic media. The latter would thus especially allow for the democratization of creativity through huge possibilities of experimentation. As a result, as highlighted by VentureBeat, “individuals will be able to produce high-quality content on minimal budget”. From a corporate perspective, synthetic media would present hitherto untapped opportunities, especially when it comes to diversity issues, like creating video content in multiple languages and skin colors. And also from a sociopolitical standpoint, the new technology offers promising prospects in countries where opposition forces want to attract public awareness to grievances through interviews and media reports, while wanting to protect their identities.
However, as pointed out by the visionary and bestselling author Martin Lindstrom that we have recently interviewed for a global insights projects on media consumption habits, there is a crucial need for an ethical code of conduct and industry-wide standards in regard to consent and misinformation if we want to make these new media incarnations thrive. We at Cc could not agree more and are curious to follow up on whether this different narrative around synthetic media is here to stay.