The Intersection of AI and Creativity With Helen Todd

John Corcoran 11:44

So what was your input? Like you said, I want to do a mini series on XYZ topic draft me a script for it is that we’ll use it. It was

Helen Todd 11:52

just kind of like the first scene of this. And it drafted the study in the script. And I think even a cellphone dropping. And it captured my imagination of like, you know, a lot of times when people talk about Gen AI or Generative AI, it’s like that it’s all that blank page problem I saw that was like it, my first thought was, oh, my goodness, within two years, I can write this entire scripts, four seasons worth. And then the the AI tech will be so good that I can be one of the first AI generated mini series. But I want you to podcast instead.

John Corcoran 12:33

In the tech, as one does, as one does, yeah.

Helen Todd 12:35

Yeah. And the tech are the text. Input to video is getting so good that, you know, we’ll probably see that type of projects come out as early as next year.

John Corcoran 12:48

Yeah, I’ve seen a few projects that are AI video that are just blow me out, you know, absolutely blow me away. I saw one recently that was a trailer in the style of Sofia Coppola. Of I forget exactly what it was some like a trailer for a movie that was like in the style of the director Sofia Coppola, and it was just just absolutely blew me away. So did you when you saw this, did you think, what did you think in terms of your social media marketing? Agency? Because, you know, obviously, there’s a lot of companies out there that are really concerned about, you know, is this going to displace a lot of the work that we do not just in marketing, or social media marketing, but other types of companies as well did, was there a part of you that was fearful?

Helen Todd 13:34

I don’t think fearful personally, however, hyper aware that this AI is going to greatly impact marketing and advertising and social media marketing. And, to be very honest, having the podcast and really diving in to the conversations at the intersection of creativity and AI, is opening up another runway as well, in addition to my social media agency, because with the tools, it can really just drive the costs of production down. And a lot of our core services of like creating content and publishing, you know, can be replaced by AI, not completely and you still need strategy, but it’s it’s definitely going to impact the industry a lot. So not that I’m scared because I think with social media marketing in general, it’s such like, I always would joke, it’s such a fast paced space that you’re always experimenting and testing new platforms and new tools, like aI it makes that look cute, because the space like moves so fast. So I think it’s more of just like seeing a trend, adapting to it and figuring out you know, the business use case for it. And I think there’s a lot of value AI can bring to marketing and agencies to find efficiencies And moving models away from value of time to just like the value that you’re bringing, as just kind of like a shift and payment and services type of thing. But yeah, I think just more like a hyper awareness that’s going to impact the industry in ways that we may not fully wrap our heads around right now.

John Corcoran 15:21

And one of those applications we were talking about beforehand is this idea of synthetic media, which tells them of what that is. 

Helen Todd 15:31

Yeah, so, like you mentioned in a little bit of my bio, I, the first a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio to digitally clone myself with a hyper-realistic avatar, they have a lot of different names, custom synthetic avatar, digital twin, photo-realistic avatar, digital clone. So you’ll know that you’ve heard it, you’ll probably hear it a whole lot more. It’s very, very early days. So my video presence was cloned, my voice was cloned, and I have this digital clone that takes those And through the magic of AI, I have this digital likeness that looks like me, and sounds like me, but was is not me. And it’s all AI created is kind of fascinating, because if you think about just from a marketing sense of the different types of communication that we have, and this actually comes from the company who created my clone Rinder there, chief experience officer, there’s like a hierarchy of kind of intimacy of presence when you’re communicating with someone, like at the top of that is in person. Because you know, there’s an energy in person, and is probably a call like this zoom, where we’re live and active and interactive and can play off of each other’s movements below that is video where it’s my real, embodied self, where I’m communicating out below that is probably my digital likeness, which I can feed scripts, and my clone will perform for me, sounds like me looks like me, but isn’t. Below that might be maybe an animated GIF of a photo, or below that just a photo and text. So you know, within the communication toolbox of all the different ways to interact. A clone fits in that as like an embodied self. Even if it’s synthetic, which is, you know, just AI created and not, yeah, a real me in any capacity. But if you think of like a, an email communication, where, you know, after this interview, you follow up, it’s like, Helen, it was really great meeting you, I have your text that indicates that it’s you, you might have a photo in your signature that shows that to you. We’re probably all got spam or emails, if like, I created this custom video for you that’s embedded. Well, one of the iterations of that or possibilities is then have your clone that’s customised with a message that’s like, Hey, this is the embodied John in a clone, communicating. So it brings a level of just extension of yourself and how you can express and communicate. And that has a lot of different business use cases.

John Corcoran 18:18

And so do you see it as you know, for like sales, for training for mentorship of employees, all of the above? What are some of the ways in which you still you think it’ll, it’ll start and then expand to?

Helen Todd 18:32

Yeah, all of the above? I think one. A lot of thought leaders, anyone who has a lot of content, like if you have a lot of blog content, that you want to turn into video for the Google SEO purposes, you can just feed blog posts into scripts, or turn them into scripts and get really quick video content with with an avatar is one. Jill, who I mentioned is the chief experience officer at render, she actually just finished her dissertation dissertation on the effectiveness of hyper realistic avatars standing in for their human counterparts. So like if you have an online course, and what you see a lot, maybe professors, or a lot of people who want to make courses but don’t want to be on camera, you can feed the scripts to your clones, and her research shows that it’s still as engaging as if it was the human that was performing it. And also, that the viewers are retaining the content as well or the information that they’re learning. So standing in for for elearning or courses is social media content, you know, for having a podcast. I don’t really like to be on camera as much if my clone can do that. I’ve had my phone like open some talks I’ve done on stages. And I think one use case that you’ll probably see a lot of is you know, on a lot of websites, there’s that cause Some are Service widget at the bottom right, or wherever it is, and oftentimes see that popping up as some digital clone. 

John Corcoran 20:04

That’s kind of engaging with you and conversation, right? Yeah. 

Helen Todd 20:10

Yeah. Because right now there’s photos, sometimes you see video of people pre-recorded clones and interactive clones that are like, it’s so much more powerful versus a stock image. Because I know I’ve seen for some of those budgets, the same person across different websites, like, this is the owner, or this is the customer service reps clone and chatbot that you can interact with, you know, before redirecting you to other places. So yeah, there’s, there’s definitely a lot of different use cases. Yeah,

John Corcoran 20:41

I think in terms of education will be amazing, because I have my nine-year-old has been really getting into Duolingo, to teach Spanish to learn Spanish. And there’s been times when he’s been this, they kind of gamify looks at an app on his iPad, and he’s learning Spanish, and the whole, like, spend like 45 minutes or an hour or like going through, you know, learning these different words and stuff. And you think about I think about how painful it was, for me learning languages, you know, and now he’s got this step change above of a much more effective way to learn a language. And then you could go beyond that. And you could have this, you know, digital twin digital avatar that you’re having an engaging conversation with, it’s kind of coaching you to learn a language or learn anything for that matter, math, or English or whatever.

Helen Todd 21:27

Well, and the fascinating thing with that is, I only speak one language, my clone now speaks 28 language, wow, you just got she quote, unquote, she just got upgraded. Because a month ago, she spoke eight languages. So as the tech improves, she’ll be able to more languages. And I think the other interesting thing, which I can see a massive market opportunity for is Ai plus personal development. And to your point about your son of helping with learning Spanish, not only do you have someone who looks like you and sounds like you, but can adapt to your learning place, or to your learning abilities or wherever you’re at. And there’s a phrase like, you cannot be what you cannot see. So if your clone can speak Spanish, and trained on your data, or knows can meet you where you’re at, looks like you sounds like you and can show you speaking Spanish. Like what an amazing tool to and see yourself doing what your clones doing. Yeah.

John Corcoran 22:30

And for your business, right. Your business wants to expand into the Spanish speaking market, you know, all of a sudden, boom, you can? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s really interesting. And so what are some other, you know, interesting applications of AI and creativity that you’ve had your eye on recently? Yeah, well, I

Helen Todd 22:53

encourage everyone to go and sign up for my newsletter at Creativity Squared, because we have, I learned so much and every guest is so interesting. And I learned from from all of my guests. The I mean, if you look at the different modalities, so you have our mediums, you know, you have the the natural language chatbots. From a marketing sense, you can do a lot with those, especially with the new OpenAI announcement of the custom chat, or the custom GPT

John Corcoran 23:30

Apps that are coming out now, which are allowing people to kind of programme and their own app, using the natural language ability of OpenAI, right. 

Helen Todd 23:40

Yeah. So you can do some like interesting things. As far as like building personas. I think one of the more interesting things that came from one of my guests interviews with Jay Thorne is, it was the first time I had heard someone doing this. He’s a writer and has written books, and has written books about how to collaborate with the writing tools is to actually roleplay with chatty btw in character scenes. And you can do this with personas to like pretend I’m this customer and you’re this. But like, if you take the scripts that I did earlier, and say these are the characters write the script, you would actually be like, you pretend to be this character, I’ll pretend to be this character. Here’s the script and scene, let’s roleplay together. And I thought that was really interesting. And I haven’t played with that yet. But that’s on my to do list. And then when you have like the text to image, and there’s a lot of things with the image to where you can take images and have the machines tell you what they see in them, which is kind of interesting. 

John Corcoran 24:44

Oh, fascinating. Yeah, where you can take a picture of something and then they can read it. I actually did this. One of my kids got back a homework assignment. It was a math test with like, 30 questions on there. And just out of curiosity, I took a picture of it and uploaded. Shut up. Tea and I said great this integrated it in seconds.

Helen Todd 25:01

Yeah, it’s amazing. I that’s one of the biggest things that I use for ChatGPT is to critique my own work and also give me feedback. So for I overthink every subject line and titles, and oftentimes I was like, here’s my three titles, critique it and tell me why you think it will do the best. And it does a really good job of that. And another tip that came from one of the people I interviewed was to use all the tools or cross use them and then kind of curate the answers. So Claude for a while, you get to ChatGPT is introducing it doesn’t always work, where you can upload a PDF file or Word doc or whatever doc, and it will immediately read all of that and to be able to summarise it. So that was like a big benefit of cloud ChatGPT is like starting to introduce that, but just larger volume things. For documents, that’s really exciting. And then the text to images. I mean, the I’m a huge fan of Adobe, we’ve had the Adobe’s head of the content authenticity initiative on the show. In terms of ethical AI, I think they’re one of the companies like really leading that, to make sure that if you use Firefly, that any of the works that have trained their models have been done with consent and compensation to the creators, photographers, whatever you’ve tried them. But their generated fill feature is amazing if you have not played with that yet.

John Corcoran 26:39

Like there was one photo which this the Adobe Generative fill, okay. 

Helen Todd 26:43

And the ones within Photoshop are better than the website ones in my opinion. But there was like one photo as an example, where it was so annoying to me, there was a car in the background. And I was like, I hate that there’s a car, I literally just kind of use the mouse selection tool to circle it clicked, in general, Phil didn’t even give it a prompt, boom, the car was gone. And you can’t tell that it was there. One thing with the podcast that I do a lot like the way sometimes you get portraits of people and like their shoulders are cut off the way that the the photographer shot them. And I need shoulders for the way that we crop and cut people out for the podcast material. Just sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but circle the blank space where the shoulder should be generative The shoulders are filled in that match of like the sweater or the jacket that the person is wearing. 

John Corcoran 27:39

I will make sure that that person got paid for their shoulder. Just just making sure it works.

Helen Todd 27:49

Theoretically, yes, yeah, it

John Corcoran 27:50

is amazing how quickly this has evolved. Because just a couple of days ago, I threw dolly which is owned by OpenAI. And they recently kind of integrated more into their platform. And I said create a because we’re recording this trip for Thanksgiving, create a Thanksgiving-themed image of a turkey, doing a podcast, and say Happy Thanksgiving from Rise25. And first of all text was really bad for a little while and some of these different platforms, they would misspell things for some reason. And it was absolutely amazing. It blew me away the quality of it, you know, just like a month ago, it would have been much worse, the result, the output would have been much worse. So it’s amazing how quickly these things are, are improving.

Helen Todd 28:33

Yeah, I co-host the largest AI meetup here in Cincinnati. And we meet once a month and like literally, it’s like what has changed month. In just in this past month. We’ve had the executive order coming out of the White House, and then OpenAI dev day. And then just recently or was it yesterday. Mehta announced their text to video tool, which is really good. So the speed at which the tech is improving is just it’s a windfall. Like

John Corcoran 29:11

we’re, that meetup needs to meet like every afternoon at three o’clock and it can’t be a monthly meetup. Well, this has been really interesting, Helen, I want to wrap things up with my gratitude question. I’m a big fan of expressing gratitude, especially to those who’ve helped you along the way in your journey. Who would you want to just shout out and thank for helping you and your journey.

Helen Todd 29:33

I love this question so much and it’s really hard to pinpoint just one person because so many people have really my entire life just been so encouraging one person I will give a shout out to Harry Yeff, his stage name is Reeps One. He’s he was my first interview that I published on the show that he’s a a world renowned beat boxer and voice technologist and I was just so grateful that I was able to launch Creativity Squared with our interview in conversation. And he’s been such a big supporter since I’ve met him. So yeah, I was very honoured that I got to start Creativity Squared with an interview with him.

John Corcoran 30:23

Very cool. Helen, where can people go to learn more about Creativity Squared and sociologies card?

Helen Todd 30:28

Yeah, if you go to You can find the podcast the newsletter, the episodes and all of the social links. I’m Helen Travels on most social media, Helen Todd on LinkedIn, and then it’s And that social it why everyone knows hosting creativity. So I’m liking Creativity Squared. Yeah.

John Corcoran 30:53

Helen, thanks so much. 

Helen Todd 30:55

Yeah, thank you.

Outro 30:58

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