YouTube recently announced a new collection of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that will be introduced to the platform. These tools, which include features like topic generation, editing, and the Dream Screen feature for generating video footage, aim to enhance the content creation process on YouTube. However, unlike in other creative industries, the response to YouTube’s AI tools has been relatively muted. Content creators on the platform are expressing concerns about the impact of generative AI on YouTube.
In recent times, generative AI tools have made it easier for artists and writers to create images and text by generating them from existing art and writing found on the internet. However, many artists and writers have raised concerns about issues such as copyright infringement and the devaluation of their own work. In fact, high-profile authors like George R.R. Martin and Jodi Picoult have even filed lawsuits against OpenAI for scraping their books. Moreover, generative AI tools are also known to have issues with accuracy and hallucination.
On the other hand, these AI tools have been widely used by many individuals, both experimentally and professionally. AI-generated artwork has won prizes, and some news websites have even automated their article production using AI. In addition, AI has become an integral part of platforms like TikTok, powering popular filters that allow creators to transform their appearances or generate themed avatars.
Given the impact of generative AI on various creative industries, it’s surprising that the reception to YouTube’s AI tools has been relatively quiet. The announcement on the YouTube Creators account on X (formerly known as Twitter) received only a few hundred likes, similar to engagement-bait tweets. Even on the main YouTube account, the announcement performed worse than a tweet about stars. Moreover, on the YouTube platform itself, there are very few videos discussing the new AI tools, despite the presence of a thriving community of YouTubers who create videos explaining how to use AI tools for content creation, albeit not the ones introduced by YouTube.
YouTube’s New Tools and Their Potential Impact
YouTube’s new AI tools offer creators an in-house option for various aspects of content creation. These tools will enable creators to generate video prompts and script outlines, automatically edit clips, and create AI-voiced dubs in different languages. One of the main advantages of these tools is that they will use creators’ historical output to generate content. For instance, the “insights” tool will generate personalized video ideas based on the audience preferences of a creator’s channel, making it different from other text generators that lack access to YouTube’s data.
In addition, YouTube’s AI tools aim to recommend music for videos, including royalty-free options that can help creators avoid copyright strikes. However, existing creators on the platform do not seem particularly interested in these tools. Jimmy McGee, a YouTuber who recently made a video expressing his concerns about AI tools, believes that the lack of interest could be because these tools are mainly geared towards creators, and viewers may not notice if a video is edited with the help of AI. He also doesn’t think that visually striking AI-generated features, like Dream Screen, will have a lasting appeal.
However, McGee does believe that these tools might have long-term effects in the creator space. While viewers may not immediately notice if AI software is used to edit videos, McGee worries that it will undermine the skills of creators who rely on it. He argues that using AI tools may de-skill newer creators on YouTube, preventing them from growing their video creation abilities. Although YouTube presents the feature as an easier entry point for less skilled creators, McGee believes that relying on AI may discourage video creators in the long run, as they struggle to nurture their creative growth.
Potential Pitfalls and Concerns
Whether YouTube’s AI tools will continue to exist is uncertain. Parent company Google has a history of shutting down features, even those that were heavily promoted. Moreover, generative AI is currently not profitable for most companies, and its popularity might decline soon. Sarah Z, a media and fandom critic, hopes that these AI tools serve as a way of empowering creators and executing their visions, rather than undercutting them.
However, some creators on YouTube already feel undercut by AI on the platform. There have been cases of potential plagiarism, where creators suspect that AI could have been used to steal their content. AI tools have also been used to create misleading and attention-grabbing videos, replicating topics covered by other creators. To address these issues, some creators suggest that YouTube should disclose when AI is used in video creation and introduce a punishment or strike system for creators who fail to disclose their use of AI.
In response to these concerns, a Google policy communications manager stated that all content on YouTube is subject to existing community guidelines, which are enforced consistently. However, creators like Abyssoft believe that AI tools have the potential to facilitate undetectable plagiarism and ultimately undermine the creativity and originality of YouTube creators.