Automakers Could Save Millions Thanks to OpenAI's Latest Product

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Photo: ArtTower on Pixabay
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Shooting a commercial with a brand-new car is time-consuming and requires a generous budget. Things get increasingly complicated and expensive when brands must hide a certain car from everyone. However, they can't avoid those expenses. Automakers have to provide the media and customers with perfect images showing all the good angles. Creating all those photos, B-roll videos, and the necessary visual materials for ads might become a lot easier and cheaper. Here's why.
If you play around with investments, work with technology, or like to keep up with the latest trends, chances are you have heard about artificial intelligence (AI). Those two buzzwords were extensively used last year by almost every company that had a product or a service to launch or update. We even had an all-electric motorcycle with AI!

But the most popular AI thing was (and still is) a large language model (LLM) that can read what has been published on the vast internet and use what humans expressed to give you an answer. Simply put, it's a slightly more capable Google. But instead of having access to millions of results, you allow some very interesting software to give you a personalized summary.

Of course, LLMs like Google's Bard or OpenAI's ChatGPT can do a bit more than just answer basic questions or double as chatbots. They help people do tedious tasks faster. LLMs have become a problem for universities, though. Students have been using these free services to avoid doing homework. That put academic bodies on high alert. Some teachers have even given up on written assignments. They now rely on oral tests to make sure that artificial intelligence isn't the one doing all the work.

The end game of these deep learning algorithms isn't to replace search engines, become assistants to students or workers who have to create complicated Excel tables or archive all the information found online.

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Photo: Tao Yuan on Unsplash

A seismic shift in the making

No, what the companies behind them want to do (besides making money) is enable humans to work faster and more efficiently and help corporations spend less on employing hundreds or thousands of people. Fewer expenses translate into better profit margins, and that's what shareholders dream of at night.

Besides that, LLMs should also evolve into feigned human brains. That's called artificial general intelligence (AGI). Platforms like ChatGPT or Bard aren't yet capable of thinking by themselves. They rely on what has already been said or video recorded. Once AGI is achieved, a computer should be able to do whatever you're telling it to do without needing years of studying to become an expert in a certain field. It'll give you a brilliant milkshake recipe, but also create the design for a jet engine or a solid-state battery in a matter of seconds.

That's going to become a major problem for engineers, architects, artists, and many other professions once such a computer can be put in a humanoid robot that can move like a person. It sounds like we're living in the debut of a sci-fi era, but don't forget that Amazon is already using robots in some of its warehouses, Tesla is working to create the Optimus bot, and the New York Police Department is already using Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics' artificial headless dog. It's still early, but it's happening. Man-made machines that can do much more than just register and execute a command mindlessly on repeat are real.

An undeniable proof that technology isn't here only to connect humans but also to serve them better and even replace some of us is OpenAI's latest text-to-video model. Yes, a tool can take your words and turn them into an unbelievably realistic motion picture. Its name is Sora.

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Photo: Alex Shuper on Unsplash
It can understand and simulate our world. That means it gets physics, times, different types of motion, weather, color, architecture, and so, so much more.

Time is money

A couple of years ago, I worked for a company that struck a deal with a German automaker to take care of the regional launch of a vehicle. Important, loyal customers and some media representatives were invited to see and test the car before it was publicly presented. The marque also requested some official footage to use on social media, so we had to create the right conditions for photographers and videographers to shoot in peace.

The amount of work that went into making that event a success was unimaginable. It took months of preparation. Bringing the cars over, securing the right location, coordinating with law enforcement to close down a road on two separate occasions, making sure the guests signed all the non-disclosure agreements, verifying that nobody had anything to record with, and hiding the multiple cars from the curious public eye was not just tiring, but downright exhausting. It drained us.

However, it worked out. There weren't any leaks or unhappy guests.

But the cost of the whole thing was enormous. I can't recall the sum exactly, but it was deep into the six-figure territory.

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Photo: Rootnot Creations on Unsplash
Now, imagine Sora can take whatever words you throw at it and create exactly what you desire in 4K. We're not too far off from that happening. We could have software that can spit out studio-quality motion pictures in a couple of years.

Decisions, decisions

Imagine you're Audi or BMW a few years from now. Why would you take the risk of having your unreleased car seen by someone who will spoil the surprise and ruin the excitement by posting it online for anyone to see? Remember that many YouTube channels are dedicated to spying on cars everywhere. People are spending hours near the gates of plants just to catch a glimpse of what automakers are trying to do in great secrecy.

These services sound like death knells for people who know how to maneuver a camera and manipulate an image. Creating the right marketing material will require a small team of skilled people who know what to ask from AI, and that will be it. No more six-figure expenditures, no more signing all sorts of paperwork, no more coordination with multiple people.

Photographers and videographers aren't the only ones who stand to lose customers because of this type of advanced software. There are companies out there that exist solely to sell stock footage. These entities and freelancers might have to find something else to do sooner rather than later.

We are slowly losing the beautiful sound of high-performance cars. We might soon lose even more. A major change is in the works.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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