2023: The Year of The Conductor

Jason Zada
7 min readJan 3, 2023

2022 was nothing short of magical in terms of how articifical intelligence creative tools have quickly become mainstream. I’ve been thinking about how this is going to impact everything from creative development to the future of search. This is an attempt to put the thoughts swirling around in my brain into predictions for 2023 and beyond.

Remember that scene in the Matrix when Neo finally wakes up in the real world? The fabricated, synthetic world he thought was reality was just a simulation. Currently, humans and machines are in the midst of creating our own synthetic reality. We are the designers of this new reality. We are the architects. We are the dreamers.

What is Real?

With AI image-generating tools such as Midjourney, we are quickly conceptualizing new ideas, reimaging old ones, and exploring people and places that have never existed.

PROMPT: DVD screengrab, 1989 Studio Ghibli anime movie, Star Wars directed by Wes Anderson

I’ve been using MJ to develop concept imagery for pitches, lookbooks for feature films, and for inspiration and ideation. Every day millions and millions of new images are generated and uploaded. Soon, search engines will be flooded with synthetic reality images. Photos of people and places that have never existed.

A still from a feature film pitch I developed that was completely imagined in Midjourney.

While the image above looks like an actual still from a film, it was simply a series of words that a machine turned into reality. MjV4 is so powerful and creates images that are so realistic, it’s hard to determine what is real and what isn’t (except when you analyze the hands).

2022 was the year of synthetic reality imagery: high-quality images could easily be realized by the melding of a human brain, machine intelligence and a powerful processor.

2023 will be the year we make the images move. Deepfake technology has been around for years, but imagine when all you have to do is write a series of written prompts and you can a result like this one below.

Imagine: Morgan Freeman in a nice suit, black background, saying calmly, “This is not Morgan Freeman, and what you see it not real.” This will be the game changer.

The Rise of Chat.

“ Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity…” — Yehuda Berg

A surprise hit that has currently thrashing its way into the mainstream is ChatGPT — a chatbot that can write almost anything you ask it to. From writing character bios to developing the plot for a new book to writing actual code, ChatGPT is an incredibly powerful tool that will transform how we interact with machines.

I asked ChatGPT to write a description for a graphic adventure about a teenager in the 80s:

In this graphic adventure game, you play as a teenager in the 80s who is sucked into a magical world inside his computer. As you explore this strange and fantastical land, you discover that a powerful machine is controlling the reality of the world. You must use your wits and cunning to unravel the mysteries of the machine and find a way to escape back to the real world. Along the way, you will encounter a variety of strange and wondrous creatures and objects, each with its own unique properties and abilities. Can you outsmart the machine and escape the magical world, or will you become trapped in this digital realm forever?

Not bad. I’d play that game. After a few prompts in Midjourney:

Now, what if I could partner with an AI to help me code the actual game? What if it could take conversational dialog and turn it into code? This is the future. We should see a new wave of chat-based creative writing tools, search engines, and machine-based assistance in 2023. This space is evolving so quickly, so expect a lot of innovation on accelerated timelines over the next year.

Putting It All Together.

In the near future, we will be able to fully imagine a “thing” from concept to completion using AI. Images, video, music, scripts, and code that is all developed with the help of artificial intelligence. All of these tools currently exist, so let’s look at them in context.

Let’s go deeper into developing our video game:

STORY. You could generate the loglines, the characters, the story structure, and a text version of the playable game map — all in ChatGPT. I asked it to define the structure of the game map:

Additionally, ChatGPT can actually generate the entire interactive game for you as well. Type this into the prompt:

You are a text-based video game where you give me options (A, B, C, and D) as my choices. The setting is the 1980s and you are a teenage boy who is going to get sucked into his computer into a magical world. The world features 7 environments: Kids bedroom, the forest, the castle, the beach, the city, the desert and the mountain. Make the end boss big and scary. You start with 100 health.

Insanely easy and fun. I played the game for 20 minutes, sparking brand-new ideas and thoughts about how I would further develop it.

LOOK. From storyboards to concept art for everything from wardrobe, sets, and characters, you can use Midjourney to generate the entire look of the project.

Heck, why not start to imagine the box art for our game as well?

AUDIO. From synthetic voices for your characters to music that can be generated and remixed on the fly, AI audio is quickly allowing anyone to create high-quality audio for a variety of projects. For voices, you can use pre-made characters based on actors' voices, or create your own character based on any voice you can imagine.

Then I used AmperMusic to generate a sample music track for the moment the teenager wakes up inside the computer.

Created in AmperMusic

PROGRAMMING. ChatGPT and AlphaCode are able to translate text into programmable code. Since almost everything in our modern society has some code behind it, being able to code something without any prior knowledge is a game changer.

Every part of our game can be envisioned and executed with the assistance of machine intelligence. While we can accomplish this with a half dozen separate programs that need a fair bit of time and direction, all of this technology is currenetly at our fingertips.

Next Big Thing: The Interface.

The major missing element for creating within AI is a great interface. In 2023, I think we will see a variety of front-end tools that harness the power of AI through user-friendly interfaces. Imagine a world in which you could write, design, develop and publish a video, book/magazine, video game — literally anything creative — in a Photoshop-like program.

An all-in-one program that allows us to further create and hone our AI projects will be the true game changer. For example, I love an image I generated, but I want to change the person's hair or eye color, or clothing. You can currently do this, but not without a lot of work.

I can imagine a very near future where we can isolate and refine, working on all aspects and specifics of an image, sound, text — all within one program. It’s coming, it’s just a matter of time.

The Conductor.

My biggest prediction is that 2023 is the year of the conductor.

We will use AI like the conductor of a symphony — we are in control, creatively guiding to a final composition. Great conductors will innovate and create marvelous things. Great conductors will be the architects, the designers, and the directors of mastering all of the aspects of working with artificial intelligent creative tools.

A great conductor will have to evolve past simply writing text prompts. We will see a new type of creative emerge: one that understands technology, storytelling, filmmaking, and finishing.

A great conductor that commands the entire band, not just a section of it.

One of the best examples I have seen lately is a movie trailer that was made by Dmitry Alekseev using Midjourney. It’s called ‘House of Dreams’ and it’s pretty mindblowing. “For the last month, I have been traveling 145 hours across the expanses of AI, writing the script, creating characters.”

This is an example of a great conductor.

The Conclusion.

There is no denying that AI is the future. It’s going to make us more productive, and more creative- all while realizing things we couldn’t have done prior without a lot of extra help. We will quickly create synthetic realities across a variety of mediums. From books to video games, the possibilities will be endless. In 2022, AI was already a massive game changer — so 2023 will be the year it matures and opens the doors to an entirely new synthetic reality that humans and machines will develop together. Human intelligence working in combination with an ever-evolving artificial intelligence to create a new genre of media.

We are the dreamers…

— Jason



Jason Zada

Jason is an Emmy Award-winning storyteller and director. Best known for Take This Lollipop, The Forest and countless bad karaoke songs. http://www.jasonzada.com