I watch a lot of YouTube videos about new AI technologies. It’s a great way to stay on top of what’s happening while, say, cooking dinner or working out. YouTube videos tend to be relatively short and very accessible — a great way to learn about a complicated new topic before you go on to delve into the long-form articles and research papers.
And in my searches for new videos about ChatGPT and Midjourney and other AI tools I kept coming across scammy get-rich-quick videos. The ones that say, “Make $5,000 a day with ChatGPT!” If you’ve ever been on YouTube, you know these guys. They used to pitch crypto and now they pitch AI, but it’s the same dumb thing all over again.
I watched a couple of them to see what they were on about, and the main idea seems to be to post on Fiverr or some other freelance platform offering copywriting or design services. Then whatever the client asks you to do, you just have ChatGPT or Midjourney do for you. A few minutes of cutting-and-pasting and — voila! — the money will just roll in!
The problem with AI-based get-rich-quick schemes
Obviously, this idea is stupid. Why would anyone pay you to do something they can do for free on ChatGPT’s free plan, or one of the many free Midjourney alternatives powered by Stable Diffusion?
Don’t worry, the hucksters say, there are people who don’t know about the free tools, or don’t want to learn how to use them, and would rather pay you money instead.
Then, the next question is, if all you’re doing is cutting and pasting, then what’s to stop someone from building a simple app that exactly that — cutting-and-pasting from Fiverr customers into ChatGPT and sending back the results? They can flood the Fiverr marketplace with these accounts, and because they’re using automation, they can cut and paste a hundred queries in the time it takes you to do one.
And then they can take some of the money they make doing this and put it towards buying ads, improving good customer service, and so on. And they might even invest some of their profits into building an easy online app that does just that one thing that they’ve automated.
And if they can, they will. I’m sure people are out there doing just that right now as I type this.
That still means you have a window of opportunity if you act fast, the hucksters say. Jump on this trend right now, before the professionals move in, and you can make thousands just by cutting-and-pasting, no skill required!
The problem with this approach is that it takes time to build a business on Fiverr or any other freelancing platform. You have to do a lot of small jobs, for very low pay, in order to get clients who will leave good recommendations for you. Then, once you have built up a reputation, you can start raising your rates and investing in your marketing.
Meanwhile, the people who already have those business aren’t idiots. They’re noticing that ChatGPT is out there, and they’re using it and other tools either to speed up their own production or to improve the quality of their work — or both. And they already have a customer base, and they already know how to write, or how to design, and when they look at the results ChatGPT or Midjourney spits out, they know which ones are good and which ones aren’t, and they know how to tweak them to get them the rest of the way. Plus, they already know how to manage customer relationships and do marketing.
If your only skill is cutting-and-pasting, you’re not going to be able to compete against these professionals.
And that’s the point of most of these videos — you can get rich without having to do any hard work or learning any real skills.
What to do instead
If you want to use AI to get rich, then use it to improve the efficiency or quality of the stuff you are already good at doing, or to help you with the individual tasks that you are bad at. So, if you have a successful business, but you’re bad at writing letters to prospective customers, use ChatGPT to create drafts for you. If you’re bad at coming up with marketing ideas, use ChatGPT for that. If you’re bad at responding to complaints… you get the idea.
Use ChatGPT to build on your positives and reduce your negatives.
You can also use ChatGPT to learn new skills, either to level up in your current profession, or to move to another field.
So, yes, there are plenty of opportunity for people do things with AI. You can use it to help you create content, to create images, to create music and videos. You can use it to create children’s books and comics, YouTube show scripts and almost anything else you can image. But you still have to build a business if you do any of those things. You will still need to find customers or viewers, you will still need to know the difference between good content and bad content, and you will have to figure out how to do things that other people can’t do.
In the virtual world space, for example, you can use AI to generate images, to generate text, and to generate code.
You can use the AI-generated images for textures, or for game maps, or for marketing materials.
You can use text to create games, to create scripts for in-world characters, or for marketing company.
And you can use code for in-world scripts, for server-side applications, and for website plugins.
But, right now, none of these are “set and forget” types of applications. You will have to review the images, text, and code that the AIs generate and carefully select the ones you need. Sometimes you will spend hours, days, or weeks modifying the prompts to get what you want.
AI is not yet ready for real-time embedding into your virtual world because it’s too easy to get a chatbot to go off the rails. Instead, if, say, you want an in-world AI-powered character, use the AI to generate scripts, instead.
Or you could start a company to create AI-powered chatbots that are tightly constrained by the games where they live, can hold a convincing conversations while staying in character, but can’t be diverted by malicious users into spewing racist garbage or crazy conspiracy theories.
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