The Age of Curation
[Musings on AI x Curation, Consume, Create, Curate Progression]
With AI impacting all industries, this week I wrote some musings on the concept of creation. The Internet has enabled us to consume anything, and now AI is enabling us to create anything. What is relevant in this abundant world is curation.
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With the rise of Generative AI, how we interact with online content is evolving rapidly. A useful framework to examine this shift is the progression from Consumer to Creator to Curator. (Note there is a similar framework, Collect, Create, Curate, that was popularized by the Artist Jack Butcher).
Let’s look at how we’ve evolved from consumers, to creators to now curators.
_Consume, Create, Curate
The Internet made it a lot easier for all of us to be consumers (of content). Today, whatever we want to consume is a few button clicks away. In the Web2 era defined by social media and related apps and tools, we as Internet users shifted from passive consumption to active creation. Many of us found ourselves becoming creators for the first time. Whether it was writing a Tweet on Twitter or taking a photo and remixing it on Instagram, we all started to create in some way shape or form.
With the advent of generative AI, the cost to creating is decreasing significantly. AI tools make creating more accessible, simplifying complex processes and democratizing the ability to create. This means the average person can create a lot of high quality content with a few clicks of a button.
Before generative AI, creating anything used to be challenging. For example, if you wanted to design a high quality image for a marketing campaign, you needed to hire an artist. Today, you can create virtually an infinite number of images simply by asking a generative AI image model.
Since we no longer need to worry about access to content, nor do we need to worry about creating that content, curation becomes the name of the game. The challenge is how do we make sense of the endless amount of content and information out there. After all, we cannot even begin to consume all the content that is out there on the Internet because we have limited attention span and only so many hours in the day.
In the age of AI, we stay relevant by curating content and helping others cut through the noise.
When you send your friend a picture or an article to read, you are curating for them.
When you post about one thing you saw that was very interesting, you are curating.
Anytime you are driving attention to anything else, you are curating.
_Machine Curation vs Human Curation
In the age of curation, there are two extremes ends to how curation works.
One will be machine-led curation through algorithms. The other way will be through human curation (e.g., giving attention to what your friends send you).
In the world of algorithm-led curation, we gain efficiency and personalization. Algorithms can quickly sift through vast amounts of content and deliver items tailored to individual preferences, learned over time. However, this comes at the cost of potential echo chambers and loss of serendipitous discovery. Over-reliance on algorithms can lead to a narrow field of content exposure, often reinforcing existing beliefs or tastes.
On the other extreme, with human-led curation, we gain diversity and personal touch. For others, individuals can provide diverse perspectives and nuances that machines can't detect. The content that resonates with your friends, network and community often comes with personal stories or context that adds depth. However, this comes at the cost of limited scalability and inconsistency. Human curation can't match the sheer volume that algorithms can process.
_The Human Experience
Much of our lives today are already curated by algorithms. Think about the results you see on a search engine, the recommendations you get on an eCommerce platform. All of it is curated by algorithms analyzing you and categorizing you into a certain segment.
The interesting question with generative AI is whether it enables humans to be better curators because AI abstracts away the focus on creation, OR it just supercharges machine driven curation.
There is a broader question here: what happens to the “human experience” as more and more of our lives become curated by algorithms?
As the Ship of Theseus paradox posits, when every part of a ship is replaced, is it still the same ship?
Similarly, as algorithms increasingly influence every facet of our existence, do we become less and less human since most of our lives are curated by algorithms?
What are we trading off for this way of life?
Are we being subtly transformed?
Are we becoming less human, or is the definition of 'being human' simply evolving?
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This post is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing written in this post should be taken as financial advice or advice of any kind. The author(s) may own some of the NFTs, art and/or collectibles mentioned in this post. The content of this post are the opinions of the authors and not representative of other parties.
Empower yourself, DYOR (do your own research).