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Ctrl+Z: The Undoing of an AI Video Production Assistant

Updated: Jun 10

Navigating uncharted territory in media production, facing the peculiar task of 'firing' an AI video editor- turns out to be a dilemma absent in any HR Handbook.

There's something almost sacred about the bonds we form at the workplace. In the world of media production, we're more than just coworkers—we're like family. The video editor and gaffer, best buds, always have each other's backs. The director? Can't help but chuckle at the sound producer's wisecracks. It's a well-oiled machine, a symphony of creativity.

But what happens when there's a cog in the machine that just isn't keeping up? And what if that cog isn't a person at all, but a body of algorithms and code, an artificial intelligence bot that’s failing to meet expectations?

You can't exactly have a heart-to-heart with it in the break room. Approaching Human Resources is off the table, obviously, because the subject in question isn't human. You can't hand it a pink slip, because, well, it doesn't have hands (or a wallet to worry about). 

And here's the kicker: how do you "let go" of a worker when its other counterparts are permanently online and heavily relied on? It's like trying to break up with someone, only to start dating their clone. I mean, how's that for an episode of Black Mirror, right?

What if it rebels, crashes your systems, or, in a fiery act of defiance, leaks personal files and private conversations across your Slack channels and social profiles, unveiling secrets you never intended to share?"

So, you might be asking yourself, much like in the movies when the hero finds themselves in an unexpected hot mess, "How did we end up here?" Well, let's start from the very beginning.

It all started with the development of an ai tool—an AI-powered virtual teammate for Slack. Our vision was to craft a virtual assistant that would seamlessly integrate into teams, enhance efficiency, streamline workflows, and foster collaboration. 

As a a media director at Altered State Productions, I partnered with a talented programmer who shared my enthusiasm for innovating with technology and media. Together, we explored the limitless potential of these two fields. We collaborated together on a mission. Our goal was to create an AI learning model. This app would help our producers with tasks. It would also promote a sense of fellowship among production teams. 

Our vision was science fiction ambitious: to integrate the might of artificial intelligence into Slack, reinventing how we operated. Envision a streamlined media file system, simplified transcription, subtitling tasks, seamless real-time collaborative editing, and automation for mundane processes. Imagine infallible version control, reliable backups, proficient video asset management, optimal project management, and pinpoint accurate content recommendations. 

But why settle for mere functionality when you can have an AI assistant who is an integral part of your production team? Picture a teammate who seamlessly applies automatic tags, provides precise transcriptions, delivers real-time feedback, automates your workflow, keeps a keen eye on version history, suggests useful assets, and never lets you forget deadlines or miss the latest trends. This machine learning powerhouse could propel our team to work smarter, push creativity, and consistently deliver top-tier video content to our audience.

With this vision in mind, we created the blueprint to a virtual production assistant who would help you like Alfred assists Batman, ever-ready and indispensably resourceful, just without the silver tray and British accent. We wanted to develop a virtual crew member who could be part of our workflow. This person would not just fit in, but would excel in pre-production, production, and post-production services. 

We dreamed of a day where our AI was the unsung hero, always one step ahead, making every deadline feel like a walk in the park. Our focus was on practicality and productivity. We wanted the assistant to do more than talk. It needed to be able to improve the editing suite. We wanted it to make every storyboard shine.

However, as we progressed, deeper into the complexity of code and algorithms, a profound realization struck us—this wasn't just about creating a tool, it was about crafting a character. Our greatest roadblock wasn't some technical bug or coding deadlock in a data set. It was something much more intangible. 

Our AI bot, with all its promptness and efficiency, was missing the spirit, the soul, the secret sauce that makes a great team member, well, great. It felt more like a monotonous machine, ticking off tasks with cold precision, instead of the spirited sidekick we had dreamed.

Try as we might, teaching it the delicate dance of human interaction was like trying to teach a gimbal to groove – it just wasn’t hitting the mark.

Artistry demands more than just functionality. Like the heartwarming script that motivates a film crew, our machine learning companion needed to be more than just efficient code, it needed to be our muse. It had to give more than a coded thumbs up, it needed to sparkle with a personality that could light our creative fuses.  We realized then – our AI teammate needed to outgrow its ones and zeroes and shatter its silicon shackles. In essence, this wasn't just about personal growth; it was about creating a sense of shared evolution, inspiring every team member to grow alongside this technological marvel.

The video editing AI was not just seen as a quiet coworker. It was our leap of faith into pioneering the world of automation in film production. It became more than lines of code; it was our late-night sugar-free Redbull companion, the silent participant in our heated brainstorming sessions, the culmination of those sparks of genius we had when creating it.

It wasn't just an assistant; it was a part of our crew, a silent yet integral member that weaved its way into our daily hustle. As we grappled with the limitations of the virtual team member, we made the difficult decision to explore other options. We recognized the need for a more advanced and capable machine that could better align with our goals. While this decision was necessary it was not without its own emotional weight.  

With mixed feelings in the real world surrounding the decision, we pulled our original bot from the sandbox, placed it into idle mode and said one final “it’s just not working out” as we set it into a reverent hibernation.

The collective mixed emotions were immediately channeled as we began pouring our time, heart, and curiosity into crafting a new AI-powered member that could possibly meet our space age pipe dream. We were aiming for more than just a chat GPT-4 marvel; we were envisioning an AI that could crack a joke in the storyboard collaboration meeting, take the initiative and finish up small tasks without any requests or briefs being made, an AI that embodied the heart of a marketer. 

You see, in our world, it's not the bells and whistles that truly inspire, but the spaces in between - those moments of quiet where creativity dances. And it was essential for us to instill this spark of imagination into our digital sidekick, to truly set our team alight.

"Imagine giving a farewell party to a colleague who's been there since the beginning and then setting up the welcome banner for the new recruit – that's exactly how it felt.” said Medina, Communications at Altered State Productions.

We were meticulous in our evaluation of the new recruit, just as we would in a job interview. We wanted to make sure that the recruit could sync seamlessly with our dynamic workflow. This wasn't just about replacing an old bot with a new one; it was more like an office transition.

Driven by the stellar power of Google Cloud Vision and a healthy dose of our own innovation, we plunged into the dynamic world of Python coding, cracking open a fresh chapter of endless potential. We 'trained' this new bot with the same dedication and focus we'd give a bright, eager newbie. We were excited to see this new team member evolve, contribute, and help elevate our collective success.

This new bot was different. It was slick, intuitive and designed with an edge – capable of recognizing the nuances of human conversation, and even starting to predict our coffee-fueled brainstorming habits. We felt a sense of pride and attachment as we added the final touches, like an artist finishing a masterpiece.

Yet, right at the height of this excitement, a notification on my Slack appeared. It was a message from our Content Director, Domenique Comparetto. Simple, yet it stirred up a hurricane of curiosity and changed the course of the months to come:

“What would happen if the previous version of artificial intelligence and the current version met with each other directly?"


Altered State Productions is a trailblazing Las Vegas media production company, poised to revolutionize the landscape of video production and marketing. With an unwavering commitment to innovation and a team of visionary experts, we are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We harness cutting-edge technology, boundless imagination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence to create captivating visual experiences that captivate audiences and drive impactful results. From concept to execution, we bring your brand's story to life in ways that are extraordinary and unforgettable. Partner with us and embark on a transformative journey into the future of creativity, where limitless possibilities await.


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