What Sora Means for the Future of Cinema


OpenAI is at it again. When they introduced ChatGPT in November 2022, the world was in shock. Disruption followed immediately. Fourteen months later, we’re still experiencing the aftereffects: the Hollywood strike, the recession that never materialized, the US GDP skyrocketed, hundreds of thousands of jobs axed, etc. Today, ChatGPT, Google Gemini (Bard), and other tools have become essential for countless individuals.

Today, we are witnessing Phase 2 of the AI revolution. OpenAI has introduced Sora, a text-to-video tool that can generate 1-minute high-quality videos. While competitors like Stable Video Diffusion and Pika exist, Sora outshines them. It is both terrifying and exciting.

Sora will do to the visual economy what ChatGPT did to the text economy. We define the text economy as the job market that requires writing text, such as programming, marketing, product management, legal services, etc. The visual economy encompasses industries involved in creating visuals like graphics, movies, trailers, animations, and videos.

Impact on the Visual Economy

Once OpenAI Sora is released and APIs made available, the outcome is likely to mirror the trajectory of ChatGPT’s impact. The venture capital industry will invest tens of billions in hundreds of startups. Some will become unicorns while many others will fail. The existing visual economy will undergo significant transformation, leading to the emergence of new business models.

Sora 1.0 generates video quality on par with Hollywood films, although it has some flaws. In a few years, perhaps even sooner, when Sora 5.0 is available, and other major companies like Meta, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Nvidia follow suit, the average person will have the capability to produce content akin to Steven Spielberg. Countless jobs, including those of actors, video editors, storytellers, and scriptwriters, will face pressure.

Just imagine: You’re a fan of space sci-fi series like The 100 and The Expanse. If you’re dissatisfied with the offerings on Netflix or Amazon in that genre, you can create your own. All you have to do is input a few sentences into an AI engine to generate a five-season, 10-episode space saga at 60 minutes per episode in 60 frames per second, similar to those two shows, but with a unique twist. The AI will generate the script, and create the graphics, characters, and storyline.

Netflix and Amazon might need to transition into consumer platforms that host individually personalized TV programs. With Sora and the emerging competing products, this shift is within the realm of possibility.

Phase 3 of the AI Revolution

With ChatGPT and Sora (soon) in the marketplace, there is one essential tool required to further disrupt the global economy: sound. Sam Altman must now focus on developing a tool for sound creation. A tool that simplifies the process of creating music, sound effects, soundtracks, voices, operas, etc., with just a few lines of text. Once available, anyone will be able to produce movies, music, and entertainment tailored to individual tastes.

Moreover, Sora’s introduction could revolutionize the film industry’s production process. With its ability to rapidly generate high-quality video content based on textual input, filmmakers could streamline pre-production stages such as scriptwriting and storyboarding. Directors and producers could explore multiple creative iterations quickly and cost-effectively, reducing the time and resources traditionally required for film development.

Additionally, Sora’s potential to democratize content creation may empower independent filmmakers and aspiring storytellers, offering them a platform to bring their visions to life without the barriers of high production costs or access to specialized equipment. This democratization could lead to a surge in diverse and innovative storytelling, enriching the cinematic landscape with a multitude of voices and perspectives.

In conclusion, the advent of OpenAI’s Sora marks a significant milestone in the evolution of AI-driven creative tools. Just as ChatGPT revolutionized the text economy, Sora is poised to reshape the visual landscape, empowering individuals to produce high-quality video content with unprecedented ease and efficiency. As we enter Phase 2 of the AI revolution, it’s clear that Sora, along with its counterparts, will catalyze profound transformations across industries, from entertainment to marketing and beyond.

However, with these advancements come both excitement and apprehension, as we navigate the complex implications of AI’s growing influence on our society and economy. As we brace for the next wave of innovation, one thing remains certain: the future promises to be as disruptive as it is exhilarating, challenging us to adapt and harness the power of AI responsibly and ethically.

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