The New Creator Economy

san fran

My rendition of San Francisco in 2050 (generated with Midjourney)

Hey everyone, I've been off the radar for a bit - moved to San Francisco for the summer and have been busy building the new platform (more about this soon). But hey, I'm back!

I've been doing a bit of thinking about "AI In the Middle" these past few days. If you remember, we got started back in December and since then we've put out over 30 issues to more than 700 of you lovely folks, with almost half of you opening every single one.

Back in the day, there was only Ben’s Bites. Good ol' Ben, he pretty much started this whole thing :) We were all about focusing on the cool stuff happening in the AI space, cherry-picking the most interesting bits and giving our two cents on it all. And you know what? You guys - the founders, investors, and friends - loved it!

But now, there's a whole bunch of AI newsletters out there, so it's time for a bit of a change. Let's be real, if a writer isn't offering something fresh and exciting, we’re unlikely to stick around. So I'm pumped to chat with you about the new direction we're heading in.

To give you a little sneak peek, we're going to be delving a bit deeper into this whole creating and co-creating with AI thing (still keeping with the "AI In the Middle" vibe, of course). I believe we're on the cusp of a "new creator economy" – and it's gonna be a far cry from influencers flogging cactus-flavored vodka. I want to use this space to get into the nitty-gritty of it all, talk about the tech developments powering it, and introduce you to the next gen of creators leading the charge. Let's dive in!

The New Creator Economy


Much of our current perception of "creators" is tied to the idea of "content creators": YouTubers, TikTokers, and Twitch streamers —imaginative individuals who have honed their voice and cultivated an audience. They range from hobbyist creators to those operating solo ventures, or even large media empires founded on their content.

Naturally, their creative output isn't limited to content alone. Often, they market physical products and merchandise to enhance their brands, or they may sell courses and educational content, services, or an array of digital products such as ebooks, design templates, and digital artwork. It's safe to say that many of these services often play a secondary role to the content, serving as an answer to the question: what else can I offer to my audience?

The majority of content creators have already integrated AI into their routines. According to a recent report by The Influencer Marketing Factory, an impressive 94.5% of creators utilize AI for various purposes, including editing content, generating images and videos, and producing text and captions for accessibility purposes.

The new generation of creators

A fresh wave of creators is on the rise, all thanks to the advancements in AI.

Coders and hackers are at the forefront of this. APIs now provide easy access to AI models from OpenAI or Anthropic, and through Hugging Face it’s easy to access open-source models. These tools are being put to great use at hackathons, resulting in incredible AI applications in record time.

Prompt creators are another group. They are the early adopters of systems like chatGPT, mastering the delicate balance between the science and art of prompting. Their utilization of techniques like "chain of thought" is enhancing the performance of these models, while their creativity in fields such as image generation is pushing the boundaries of AI.

The digital creators and storytellers are also making waves. Whether they're creating images, videos, or music with AI, their work is raising interesting discussions about the nature of creativity and art. As we gain more control over the process and output, it's likely that we'll see a new breed of digital artists emerge.

Lastly, we have the product managers and no-code enthusiasts. Platforms like Replit are bringing them closer to the application creation process. With AI co-pilots becoming increasingly common, there's a belief that the role of programmers might shift towards more specialized tasks, and creating applications will become the job of the Product Manager.

Despite being scattered across different fields and platforms, these groups collectively represent the early pioneers in AI creation.

A new community for AI creators

I am genuinely enthusiastic about understanding the structure of this emerging creator economy, its inherent dynamics, and the underlying technological advancements. I look forward to delving deeper into these facets in our upcoming editions.

However, I'm equally eager to transcend theoretical or empirical analysis and immerse ourselves in a practical "field study" of this landscape. The most effective way to achieve this is by cultivating a community and utilizing this platform to highlight the work of these new creators.

So, I’m excited to announce we’re creating a new community for AI creators. This community warmly welcomes anyone aspiring to become an AI creator, with no technical skills required. Submit your application to be part of the community below.

We need to talk about ControlNet

Alright, it’s time to talk about ControlNet. This is a Stable Diffusion model that allows you to replicate compositions or human poses from a reference image.

For those of you already familiar with Stable Diffusion, you're likely aware that generating the exact composition you desire can be a bit of a challenge. The results can often seem random. The usual strategy has been a numbers game: generate a large batch of images and hope you find one that resonates with your vision.

Enter ControlNet, which brings a whole new dynamic to the table. It offers Stable Diffusion users an unprecedented level of control over the placement and appearance of their subjects.

ControlNet is personally very exciting for me as it starts truly allowing us to co-create with AI. Stories often have a protagonist and multiple characters. Being able to generate images with the same character in different scenarios allows for some pretty cool use cases.

Solving this problem will enable a much simpler process for creating storybooks for kids or comic books in a completely automated fashion!

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Before you go

Mashing up artists with Midjourney.

And scene. That’s all for today! Thank you for always reading, sharing, and subscribing. Want to share something with us? Slide in our DMs, they’re open.

— Calin Drimbau (@calindrimbau)