I have been observing that we are all successful losers. We are all losers because of the setbacks and failures we encounter in a life journey. Successful because we eventually overcome loss and failures. As we come to the end of another eventful year, a few of my musings on balancing it all
Loss and failures
My MF, investments and assets have been flat. The global stock market tanked, and they are talking about recession. Indian stocks aren’t doing great either
I have been working through the maze of agents, lawyers and officials on the paperwork for a piece of land my dad bought years ago. The issue keeps dragging on since I am hesitant to pay a “huge” bribe before assurance of approval.
At work, I see laggards regularly suck-up to the boss and get nominated for trivial awards that they post on LinkedIn. These ‘humble brag’ posts generate likes and shares, further reinforcing this charade
Few of my elderly relatives including grandma passed away this year
After a 2-year pandemic and slowdown, and got to travel a bit and meet with family and friends
I paid off our mortgage this year and resolved to live a debt-free life. Credit cards are handy to earn points or discounts as long as I pay it off monthly.
Despite a few minor bumps, the family continues to be in fairly good health, which is a great blessing.
I have continued to read, blog and write. My book that was published on Amazon, with 20+ reviews is reasonably successful (Amazon - Diary of a Successful Loser)
My job allows me to WFH, that gives me a work-life balance
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and tools have been advancing at a fast pace. Many new tools continue to evolve and they are increasingly targeted at improving productivity of end consumers.
After my book - Diary of a Successful Loser - was published last month, I had been reaching out to reviewers and bloggers. Along the way, I decided to explore the use of of Text-to-Video AI software to generate a promotional video for the book.
Here is one version of a resulting video : What do you think?
While the resulting video is not bad, it is not as slick as one from a creative team or professional videographers. On the flip side, it is much better if not similar to what I would have got by paying a gig worker on Fivrr or Upwork
After researching for a bit, I decided to use the freeware version Steve AI, an online Video making software that creates Videos and animations in seconds. The UI is intuitive and easy to use after a quick signup.
The challenge with Text-to-AI software is the human element and creativity - the creator (you and I) need a robust yet simple script with the right keywords that we can feed into the AI software. One can choose from a variety of templates, video and voice formats. After that, it is a matter of playing around with different formats, voiceovers and narratives.
Bottomline: Image synthesis has great implications on creative arts and creation of visual art similar to what smartphones did to still camera. I came away impressed with the ease-of-use of such Ai software, and how they can be a powerful aid to less-creative people. With software like With steve AI’s video maker one can quickly create Facebook ads, video slideshows, newsfeed videos, stories, and cover videos.
There are a number of 'Text to Video' AI software with varying levels of usability including
OpenAI's DALL-e AI - Open AI announced that it removed the waitlist for its DALL-E AI image generator service. More than 1.5M users are now actively creating over 2M images a day with DALL·E—from artists and creative directors to authors and architects—with over 100K users sharing their creations and feedback in our Discord community.
Make-A-Video - Meta's Make-A-Video is an AI-powered video generator that can create novel video content from text or image prompts, similar to existing image synthesis tools like DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. Make-A-Video research builds on the recent progress made in text-to-image generation technology built to enable text-to-video generation. The system uses images with descriptions to learn what the world looks like and how it is often described. Link to Meta's research paper
Stable Diffusion - A newly released open source image synthesis model called Stable Diffusion allows anyone with a PC and a decent GPU to conjure up almost any visual reality they can imagine. It can imitate virtually any visual style, and if you feed it a descriptive phrase, the results appear on your screen like magic.
Imagen Video - Google’s newest AI generator that creates HD video from text prompts. Google's engineers claim it is a text-conditional video generation system based on a cascade of video diffusion models. Given a text prompt, Imagen Video generates high definition videos using a base video generation model and a sequence of interleaved spatial and temporal video super-resolution models. According to Google's research paper, Imagen Video includes several notable stylistic abilities, such as generating videos based on the work of famous painters (the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, for example), generating 3D rotating objects while preserving object structure, and rendering text in a variety of animation styles. Google is hopeful that general-purpose video synthesis models can "significantly decrease the difficulty of high-quality content generation."