Smartphones revolutionized how we get from A to B AI will change the way the Creative Industry works


For those of you who religiously follow 10,000 hours maxim from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers in pursuit of whatever you are trying to achieve, here is a little rusty spanner in your works. It’s not just about the numbers – it’s about diligent practice, constant feedback loops and refinement. 10,000 hours on its own is not enough.

Three and a half years I’ve set on a journey to right a few wrongs in the creative industry – an industry I couldn’t call myself an expert in. However, what I did have in early 2015 – was a plan to systematically test various hypothesis and ability and desire to learn, iterate, pivot and change this plan accordingly.

Just over 10,000 hours later, I’ve learned a lot, but I also realised that AI and Machine Learning will change the way the world produces visual content (and add a few new specimen for the Unicorn Zoo).

Three main trends are emerging and will only intensify in the next 5-20 years.

  • Massive loss of jobs in white collar industries;
  • Photo retouching and video editing done by machines;
  • Automated customer support.

1) Massive loss of jobs:

A lot of very smart and ambitious people will lose their jobs to AI: accountants, junior architects, lawyers. Any repetitive non-creative task that can be automated – will be automated. Luckily for us – these ambitious people will not just give up on work, but will instead turn to creative pursuits: the rise of Etsy, Upwork, etc is proof in the pudding.

You will get more photographers, videographers, designers, content creators than ever. The only problem with that? They’ll be great at creating stuff, but most will be terrible at managing the processes.

Unfortunately, creative marketplaces only put clients in touch with service providers and leave job delivery and support to freelancers, who by definition cannot do it properly. To constantly deliver great quality freelance service on scale – the platform would need to control the entire process from start to finish, not just deal with lead generation.

Thus within next 3-10 years business models like Splento’s will emerge in various freelance niches to become Amazons of their respective markets.

2) Photo retouching and video editing:

We have realised long time ago that the editing process needs to be managed by us, not by our freelance suppliers, to avoid delays and to deliver consistently high quality on scale.

A lot of this work (but not all) can be automated, will be automated and we are already working on AI algorithms to digitally enhance images from the most common jobs.

There are some startups addressing specific niches (like product photography), but in 5-10 years – machines will be automatically editing 80% of all the photos and a large chunk of videos.

Adobe – watch out!

3) Automated customer support:

There are certain target audience segments that always prefer to pick up a phone and call. Doesn’t matter how intuitive your user experience is and how well written out your FAQ are.

This has been a drag on the industry and one of the main reasons why this $100bln market is still 90% in the hands of freelancers.

80% of all our callers ask the same questions. With the introduction of Google Assistant (AI customer support) this can be mitigated, which means that suddenly businesses that rely heavily on customer support, will be able to reduce their fixed and variable costs dramatically and pass that saving onto their clients – who will continue asking the same questions, but will soon be receiving answers from Google Virtual Assistant.

These are the main AI trends that will make the next decade for Creative Industry just as transformational, as 2008-2018 has been for the Transportation Industry.


by Roman Grigoriev

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