June 17, 2024
How To Make More Money and Maximize Your Time Using AI

Since the explosion of AI in 2022, a proverbial Pandora’s Box has been opened. While many professionals have shut their eyes, pretending this revolutionary technology will go away, many have gone the opposite direction by jumping on the early adopter bandwagon.

Instead of an atmosphere of distrust around the tool that claims to negatively impact the workforce, the two professionals GOBankingRates spoke with were prompted with the question: “How do we use AI for good?”

By weeding out tedious tasks, as well as offering a plethora of options and customization, AI has also allowed these innovators to achieve things previously thought of as impossible. When used correctly, just as our two interviewees prove, these digital companions can give you a leg up in the game when everyone else is still scratching their head.

AI Assistance in Photography as a Gig

London-based photographer Stefan Jakubowski has always been technologically inclined. Shortly after embracing Zoom during the pandemic as a way to shoot subjects safely from a distance, he started dabbling in AI.

“In 2022, there was a trend on Instagram that peaked my curiosity around AI which revolved around users making themselves look like Renaissance paintings,” Jakubowski recalled. “The images were so well done and realistic that it alleviated any anxiety I felt around the new technology, and instead drove me to try it.” Rather than viewing AI as a threat, Jakubowski walked straight toward his fears and flourished.

Since, Jakubowski has created his own popular AI-generated photography series. 

The photographer learned how to harness the technology just as he did when he started snapping digital portraits after transitioning from a career of doing social media management — through YouTube Tutorials, this time centering on Midjourney, the platform he is most loyal to. Reading a variety of related articles also helped to inform his knowledge base.

However, it was through simple experimentation that he quickly learned which prompts would give him the best results. By studying every night, and dabbling in all that AI had to offer, he absorbed as much knowledge as he could through whatever resources he could find.

Midjourney Allows Creation of Instant Photos, Images of a Creative Nature

While Jakubowski has occasionally used AI to manipulate pre-existing photography in his catalog, his greatest success has come from using the technology to generate photos from scratch.

Some more popular Instagram collages — like his “Lava Fashion Show,” in which runway models pose on the side of an imagined active volcano — made followers do a double take as the images looked so realistic. Similarly, photos that Jakubowski generated that replicate a futuristic Japanese city caused his fanbase to question if he had really taken a trip abroad.

Laughing, he explained, “There was one photo I created of a model beside a futuristic looking sports car in a cityscape that resembled Tokyo that resulted in people messaging to ask about my Japanese adventures.”

Being able to create over-the-top images not only fed Jakubowski’s creativity but also allowed him to feed his wanderlust when he was homebound.

“As a creative, AI allows me to think as big as I want and have access to all types of environments at any given moment,” he explained. “If I am inspired to create a photo in a desert, I don’t have to travel to the Middle East but can rather create something from my own backyard for free.”

Similarly, as companies start to use AI-generated models for their own campaigns, Jakubowski believes the technology will be a benefit to new entrepreneurs affording them to create marketing campaigns they’d only dreamed of. While he believes in-person shoots will never go away, being able to generate new content at a moment’s notice will give young companies who might not have the resources of a bigger-box brand an advantage in the marketing game.

“As someone who benefitted massively from photography going digital, as it was cheaper and more accessible than film, I am supportive of AI,” the photographer said. He believes AI will lower the barrier of entry for creatives.

“My hope is that it will take away the stress of searching for stock photos in overcrowded databases, allow companies to generate imagery more easily for their content calendars, and help entrepreneurs be able to approach investors at a moment’s notice because they can mock up what their project or product might look like in a ‘show don’t tell’ world.”

AI in the Sociocultural and Language-Based Economies

Mat Davies, whose Wales-based company Mashuko specializes in AI-based language and cultural training, was also an early adopter.

Davies’ unconventional background — which led him from high school drop-out to coaching business professionals around the world — provided him with the tools to embrace the new.

“Whereas I couldn’t see a correlation between education and real life when I was in school, working with international companies in Japan, which is my specialty, Germany, London, and Wales, has showed me the connection between the classroom and how language and culture can be applied to a real-life environment,” Davis said.

As a practical people-person who has worked with professionals from around the world, Davies takes a hyper-custom approach to his language and culture training. After serving as the UK client account manager in London for a language and culture company in Germany, Davies decided to start his own business that embraced AI as a way to accelerate the learning process.

“During my time in London, I became more exposed to companies that were integrating AI and really needed language and cultural training providers to get a grip,” Davies recalled. “There was a clear movement from simply teaching to functioning more as a coach that guides students as most of the learning process happens outside of the classroom.”

Artificial Intelligence and the Business of Learning

Mashuko launched in 2023, offering coaching services in language, culture and digital technologies with a focus on helping companies figure out how to use AI to speed up progress.

Currently, Davies focuses on using AI to create hyper-specific programs for his corporate clients. His HR clients in particular have found AI to be immensely helpful when it comes to customizing tests which determine what level of language proficiency their employees hold concerning necessary business skills such as negotiation or presentation.

“AI is pretty amazing because you can customize it based on a company’s exact needs in that moment to create an in-house program that can tailor a language test to the specific requirements of that job,” Davies suggested.

When it comes to language learning, Davies is particularly enthusiastic about AI, seeing it as a tool to realize his company’s vision — which is to use technology to monitor progress in the moment. As compared to working with a human coach who might not be able to give feedback for a week, Davies sees ChatGPT giving constructive criticism in real time.

“Not only can ChatGPT help users correct grammatical errors on, say, a presentation — but it will also test pronunciation, which is critical to new language learners. It can correct them in real time, like a coach,” he explained.

Beyond mirroring human coaching abilities, Davies also believes AI can be beneficial to self-sufficiency, allowing users to play back how they spoke a specific language several months ago — then comparing that to how well they are doing today.

“Being able to monitor your own progress when it comes to language learning is another added benefit of AI,” Davis said. “It allows the user to be independent and also learn what their own biases are, such as being a gifted speaker, but not as great as a listener — because AI gives more candid feedback than a friend or coach might.”

Can AI Actually Save Time in the Greater Economy and Workplace?

Additionally, Davies also encourages his clients to view AI as a time-saving machine. Rather than spending hours searching for the right course, AI can be used to create learning paths specifically geared towards what the user wants to study, whether it is sales pitches or public speaking. This can be particularly helpful when it comes to business practices such as negotiation. Davies encourages clients to take advantage of AI by personalizing their training.

“AI can be used to create material that is hyper-specific such as the best way to sell your HR software to a company,” Davies explained. “You can use their criteria to create questions and responses to ensure everything you say in your upcoming meeting ticks the sales pitch box.”

Chatbots May Dominate Customer Service, But a Human Touch Remains Key

Davies, whose clients are generally in the pilot stage of creating their own chatbots or training programs using AI, doesn’t believe that the technology will devalue human achievements such as being able to read a room astutely or speak a language fluently. On the other hand, he believes natural abilities, such as being able to negotiate fluidly with other cultures, will become more valuable.

AI, similar to relationships in Davies’ eyes, should be engaged with mindfully, responsibly and purposefully to improve employee’s lives.

“We choose our friends for a reason, whether it’s for values or behavioral patterns, and should look at technology like AI in a similar manner as it becomes more readily available in the same light,” Davies concluded. “Hopefully, it will help companies be hugely efficient when it comes to maximizing employees’ time and allowing them to be all that they can be.”

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