Yep, it’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday and AI and Content are already downing shots at your local bar. Rather than remarking “OMG, whaddya we do?” you might want to mosey on over, order your favorite beverage and have a “Chat” (pun intended).

There’s a lot hitting the national news about artists-creators and AI. Of course, the focus is on name artists—that’s something the NBC Nightly News can hang their hat on.

Jared Strasser, President at Blockchain Training Alliance asks the question: ”How can we ensure that fear doesn’t dictate our decisions when it comes to groundbreaking technologies like AI, ML, and Blockchain? As these fields progress, it’s crucial to base discussions around their regulation on objective analysis rather than worry.”

Yes, fear is crippling. Not good. Before we get into discussions on regulation, let’s begin with the end in mind with a concrete example.

Here’s the thing. AI will impact ALL artists and creators of every stripe. Now, the thing is, how can we have AI in content creations AND ensure that content creators are properly attributed and compensated? I don’t see how that question has been properly answered yet, and I wouldn’t expect it to be, at this point. Yet, it must be. And I see that it will.

Okay, let’s step back a minute and look at what’s going on. Creators are creating original content and distributing/monetizing that content as they have for centuries in diverse forms and channels.

AI puts that creation on a whole new level, yes, and guess what? The base layer is human. At least, for now. In the meantime, we need to figure out a couple of things. First, what is the value of AI-generated content? Second, how can creators derive benefits from that value?

The value of AI-generated content is nascent. It is developing and evolving very quickly. We have few clues right now as to how it will take shape. And that’s okay.

Those who are old enough to remember the rise of The World Wide Web have perspective on how the possibilities were envisioned for the Internet versus the present state of things. In 1993, people were scratching their heads asking, “Why would I want to put my company brochure up on a computer screen?” Yup.

This is a good analogy. It’s a “what you don’t know, you don’t know” kind of situation.

Now, as to the second question. This is a a thorny issue. Right now, AI like ChatGPT is in the hands of the general public. I’m a $20 a month subscriber, so there you go. Multiple variations of ChatGPT appear by the day. I could have easily written this article with ChatGPT. But I chose not to. Issues of digital rights management, copyright, etc. raise their ugly heads.

How can creators derive benefits from that value of their originally-created content?

Here’s what I propose. AI/ML does a LOT of things REALLY well. Let’s put it to work creating digital fingerprints on content it creates. Anyone who wants or needs to know will have evidence of the source of the input going all the way back in its multiple iterations to the original source.

That’s a start.

Let’s take this to the next, and logical next step.

Any AI-generated content will have that iterative watermark, fingerprint, whatever you want to call it, that identifies the source of any attributable source and that source will be credited and compensated for any usage of their content as it is recreated and distributed. The word is provenance. Look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls (a nod to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in).

Ah, now you say, how the hell are you going to do that?

Web3 technology—call it blockchain, NFTs (dynamic NFTs or otherwise), smart contracts, or whatever you think best applies. That may be the key. But let’s not take our eyes off the ball: AI.

Simple. Look at what’s possible and happening now with AI. You don’t think this will become a reality? The engine will made accountable to itself. If we deem it so. The tech is there, it only needs to be applied.

Imagine a world where you create content, it evolves through multiple AI generations and is distributed through multiple outlets to friends, social media channels, you name it. And you get paid. Oh and your friends and others in your network also get paid. Yum.

That world is already at our fingertips and morphing. Have you bought your ticket to that experience and the value it delivers? Access is as close as your local bar.