The biggest tech threat to creators is not ChatGPT

Mark Schaefer
3 min readMay 9

Obviously, the airwaves are dominated with news and observations about ChatGPT, especially when it comes to creativity and jobs.

However, I think the bigger threat to creators is something else. And it’s already here.

When it comes to creativity, there’s a persistent (hopeful) argument that humans will have an edge, at least for a while! But does that matter if our audience is moving away from us day by day?

The biggest threat to creators

Today, we take recommendation engines for granted, whether it’s Netflix, TikTok, or another place we enjoy content. These algorithms serve a useful purpose by helping us cut through seemingly infinite choices. We happily let a machine feed our content habits.

My friend Daniel Nestle correctly said, “Recommendation engines give us a free pass for not being not being curious.”

The various recommendation engines are at war with each other as they seek to suck up more and more of our attention. Their victory is secured when they earn bigger chunks of our attention. It’s almost like fighting for shelf space in the grocery aisle. And for every victory, there is a loser, and in this case, the losers are individual creators.

Like me.

Creativity cannot stand alone

There are many reasons to create content. I write for many healthy reasons — even if nobody is reading it.

But a creator can only make money if they have an audience who supports them. And that is the real problem. Even if we can combat ChatGPT and the army of AI bots coming at us, our audience is shrinking because people only have so much time to consume our blogs, videos, and podcasts and audiences are being pulled away from us.

For the media giants to win, they must create content and recommendation engines that pull attention away from every other form of content. This is a high-stakes game with billions of dollars at risk.

But there is more …

The New York Times reported how new artificial intelligence tools from Google and Microsoft give answers to search queries in full paragraphs rather than a…

Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!