“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always kept an ear to the ground for technological advancements.”
Those are the words of Sharron Elkabas, Managing Director of the global talent agency MN2S, who now has his attention directed towards artificial intelligence (AI).
Elkabas says that AI will impact the talent industry for years to come, and it’s his goal to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of emerging opportunities employing its use.
Having worked in the talent industry for over 28 years, Elkabas has seen many technologies come and go. He ensured that MN2S moved into digital distribution earlier than other agencies, and adopted new technologies from the very beginning.
“We were one of the first music distributors to embrace the digital revolution, and that was a decision that has paid off for us in the long run.”
According to Sharron Elkabas, new technology integrated correctly is a positive way to make work easier and to better connect brands and businesses globally.
Though artificial intelligence and machine learning have been in the background for years, they’re now becoming mainstream and rapid advancements are being made daily.
Tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT are becoming increasingly popular. DALL-E is a deep learning model created by the company OpenAI to generate digital images from language descriptions. In simple terms, that means a user can type about any situation or image imaginable, and DALL-E will create the image in a few seconds.
The latter, ChatGPT, is what everyone seems to be talking about. Also created by the company OpenAI, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that launched in November 2022. It can answer complex questions, write code, solve tricky math problems and even write music.
Other AI-based technologies are taking the market by storm as well. One example is Overdub, which allows users to clone their voice. All you have to do is upload a sample of about a minute and you’ll be able to use text to speech to mimic the speech of any speaker.
Amid these emerging technologies are tools that will become part of the talent industry as well, and Sharron Elkabas is eager to share his observations and predictions.
“It’s still early days, but we’re seeing rapid developments,” says Elkabas.
He goes on to say: “AI is already being used to produce digital doubles of celebrities, actors and musicians, in order for their likeness to be used in digital content.”
Specifically, Elkabas says there is a move towards talent licensing their image to be replicated digitally in entertainment and media through the use of AI technology.
Elkabas says this is likely to have a major impact on how the industry works in the future, as well as a profound impact on the ways talent will be able to monetise their likeness.
Previously a typical brand partnership might involve a brand contacting an agency, who would then contact the talent and arrange an in-person meeting that results in content creation or a partnership for the brand.
In the future, the process might be facilitated entirely by AI. All the brand would need to do is contact the agency for a license, and once the license is granted, the brand could use the likeness of the talent as permitted. This would save time and travel costs and allow the talent to participate in many separate projects at once without actually having to be there.
“The entire process will become ten times more efficient,” says Elkabas.
Elkabas says we’ll have to stay tuned to see exactly how it all unfolds when AI and the talent industry come together.
He’s hopeful about the future and the new opportunities AI will bring agencies, brands and their talent alike.