Blog Video

Why creative friction can tackle the ‘Slot Machine Effect’ in AI generated video

Cover image for Why creative friction can tackle the ‘Slot Machine Effect’ in AI generated video

Photo: Lee Thomas

Photo of Ben Woods
by Ben Woods

AI-generated content is a polarising topic. Some view AI video generation as a vital tool for bringing creativity and communication to the masses. Others believe it to be a solution in search of a problem. Either way, AI tools are here to stay in video, and they will have a significant impact on how the value chain operates in the future. What may change, however, is how we come to engage with these tools in the future. After all, they can be extremely exciting when they get it right, but they can be frustrating when the tools get it wrong.

This is partly caused by how AI has shrunk the creative process. Creating using AI tools is fundamentally different to how creative workflow patterns have evolved. Take video as an example: AI-text-to-video can reduce the five-stage process of planning, shooting, editing, revising and publishing a video into a two-stage process. With many text-to-video services, the idea is entered into a generator and the video is produced. As a creative experience, the slow burn of creating a video from scratch using a camera is replaced by an instantaneous, and far more explosive, race to the end.

AI’s dopamine hit

This can be extremely exciting. It can provide the kind of dopamine hit seen on social media when a post is published and the audience engagement starts flooding in. However, the extent to which this is satisfying or not is all weighted on the outcome rather than the journey. If after a few posts a user gets no engagement, then they may never post again.

This is also a risk for AI-text-to-video. There is a preconception that AI can deliver perfection with the first try. Therefore, a failure to meet these expectations can be off-putting for some users. The question then comes down to how many times a user is willing to rework a prompt before they ultimately become dissatisfied and give up. Given the fickle nature of entertainment consumers and the competing forces within the attention economy, one misfire may be enough. By trying to exceed expectations, these products run the risk of alienating as many users as they successfully engage.

‘The Slot Machine Effect’

Fable Studio, the company who turned its AI-generated SouthPark clips into a viral sensation, cites this as the ‘Slot Machine Effect’. In a research paper accompanying the announcement of Showrunner, their so-called ‘Netflix of AI’ streaming service that turns viewers into TV show creators, they describe how the ‘immediate gratification’ of instant generation can have negative consequences. These include a “lack of progression (stuck in an infinite loop) […] or a loss of control over the creative process”. To help tackle this problem, they believe there is value in building more steps into generation to help users hone their vision. MIDiA believes more respect should be given as to why users want to feel like creators. By not making the generation process more creatively satisfying, AI tools are failing to serve a crucial part of the creative process.

The value of creative friction

This is because rewarding creators for their efforts – no matter how small – is what has helped fuel the creator economy and transform creation into a form of entertainment. The temptation with game-changing technology is to lean too heavily into what it can achieve, rather than taking a more nuanced approach of what might be the best experience. There is fun to be had in creative friction. If AI tools can use that as a hook to make users feed more information into their generators, then they can not only gather more data about their user but eliminate the frustration by making the race as entertaining as the finish.  

·        Want to learn more about video creator tools and where disruption meets opportunity? Sign up to our June 26th webinar, featuring key decision makers in the space

·        You can also register for our "State of the Video Creator Tools Economy" report to receive a free summary of the findings

The discussion around this post has not yet got started, be the first to add an opinion.


Add your comment