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Pros and Cons of AI in Streaming

What are the significant upsides and downsides to the growth and adoption of ChatGPT and other AI applications for streaming professionals, and how can they leverage its strengths effectively? Ben Ratner, Director of News Technology, Boston 25 News, discusses this topic with Corey Behnke, Producer & Co-Founder, LiveX, Jeremy Toeman, Founder, AugX Labs, Mark Alamares, CEO, Mobeon, and Steve Vonder Haar, Senior Analyst, Intelligent Video & Enterprise, IntelliVid Research in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

“What is one major upside and one major downside that you see in the way you work and in general in the AI world?” Ratner says to the group. He asks Behnke to start off with his thoughts.

Behnke says that language model chat AIs have helped him approach issues with fresh viewpoints. “I go to ChatGPT to help me think about something differently. A lot of times, I get mired in my own technical legacy approaches of doing things. And so a lot of times I'll use it to give myself a different point of view. That's a big thing for me anyway.”

Toeman also extols the virtues of ChatGPT but notes its downsides. “We're a nine-person startup, of which four of my people are 25 and under,” he says. “I can have them use ChatGPT to evolve their own strategies and self-question their own thinking. So if I'm asking someone to come up with a marketing strategy for X, Y, Z, they can do a lot more vetting on their own so that the first time they come back to me, that caliber is much, much higher than it would've been.” However, he says, this virtue of ChatGPT is also one of its primary downsides. “It's stifling a lot of independent creative thinking and learning. I still remember when I used to know phone numbers. And then, thanks to Google, we don't know facts. And now thanks to ChatGPT, we might not know anything. That's obviously hyper-cynical, but there's somewhere in there of concern.”

Alamares believes that overall, AI is largely beneficial and has much further potential. He thinks the primary downsides are the somewhat exaggerated fears of AI being misused. “It’s allowed us to amplify our capabilities both as individuals and as a group, and [it’s made] the production process [more efficient] overall,” he says. “But the downside I see, especially on a creative level, is that some of our colleagues are just saying, ‘Hey, you should stay away from AI and it's evil, etc., etc. So there's a lot of hesitance in the creative field because of the usage that we've seen, especially it being utilized in an unethical way. And I think once these things get sorted out, though, it will be a valuable tool for us in the future once all the dust settles, and I think it will enhance whatever we're doing, both on a creative and technical level in a broad sense.”

Vonder Haar emphasizes that while AI is a game changer, especially for software developers, it remains only as good as the humans who develop it. “For decades, software developers have been limited by the processing power of the devices they've been working with,” he says. “Now, with AI, the software developers have a whole new realm to try to address, and that's a world with almost unlimited computing resources. So moving forward, it's a greenfield opportunity for software development, where innovators have room to roam.”

But he notes that AI is not some superhuman entity, at least not yet. “AI is not a magic wand,” he says. “We tend to talk about it in superhuman terms, but it's just going to be a matter of AI is only going to work as well as the software developers that create the program that leverages AI capabilities. So if we come in expecting AI to cure cancer out of the gate because we saw that report on 60 Minutes, that's a terrific disservice to the whole computer software development industry because it's going to take savvy, smart software developers to understand both the problems that individual organizations face, and then understand how to leverage data and the greater data processing power than they've ever had before to create solutions for those specific business problems. So it all comes back to basic software development, just on a higher plane than we've ever done before.”

Learn more about a wide range of streaming industry topics at the next Streaming Media Connect in November 2023.

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