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🗣️ Expert Q&A Series: Cristóbal Valenzuela

Cristóbal discusses the future of AI in art

Greetings, fellow humans. 👋

This is Not A Bot - the newsletter about AI that was definitely not written by AI. I’m Haroon, founder of AI For Anyone, and today, I'm excited to share the second installment of Not A Bot's Expert Q&A series.

Today's guest is Cristóbal Valenzuela (@c_valenzuelab) - a technologist, software developer, and co-founder and CEO of RunwayML.

For those that don't know, RunwayML is a platform for artists to use machine learning tools in intuitive ways without any coding experience for media ranging from video, audio, to text. In Cristóbal's words, Runway is "used by academy nominated movies, TV shows, media companies, and creatives in a plethora of industries."

It's also used incredible pieces of social media such as this:

During our chat, we cover a range of topics, including:

  • Runway's role in the future of AI-generated art

  • AI art ownership

  • Predictions about the future of art

So many valuable insights were shared during this chat and I'm excited to share it with you.

Let's jump into it...

Cristóbal Valenzuela discusses generative AI

Haroon: Hey Cris! Can you tell us more about yourself and the Runway founding story?

Cristóbal: Runway was founded four years ago driven by a passion to build new storytelling tools with AI. I met my co-founders Alejandro Matamala-Ortiz and Anastasis Germanidis while studying at NYU and researching new computational approaches to augment creativity. We were interested in building research and products that can serve artists and creatives. Runway is now a full-time team of 45 people across the world, pioneering multimodal research on generative models and building products that are used by academy nominated movies, TV shows, media companies, and creatives in a plethora of industries.

Are you surprised by the explosion in interest in generative AI over the past few months? How has it impacted Runway?

It’s been really exciting to see the increased interest in Generative AI, but I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. We’ve just hit the maturity phase of the technology. While there still a lot of research to do and improvements to be made, models work really well now. Generative AI is crossing a big chasm and becoming mainstream. We are sitting at an inflection point that has been years in the making; it hasn’t happened overnight, and it’s something that we’ve been building for and toward at Runway over the last 4 years. We’re excited to continue building for the new wave of storytellers that is emerging, and we look forward to continuing to empower anyone with an idea to easily create content to tell those stories. Our mission hasn’t changed, we are here to transform the tools storytellers have.

Generative AI is crossing a big chasm and becoming mainstream. We are sitting at an inflection point that has been years in the making; it hasn’t happened overnight, and it’s something that we’ve been building for and toward at Runway over the last 4 years.

Cristóbal Valenzuela

How do you think art and marketing will evolve due to the advances in generative AI tech?

Big changes are coming. Art has experienced major transformations due to technological changes many times before. The invention of paint tubes. The camera. Motion Pictures. All of those transformations have allowed artists to express themselves in new and previously unimaginable ways. What we are seeing today is no different. We find ourselves at an inflection point in storytelling. Where anyone, anywhere, with a story to tell, now has the tools to tell it. This is the start of a new era of storytelling and we are incredibly excited to be driving the transformation forward.

We find ourselves at an inflection point in storytelling. Where anyone, anywhere, with a story to tell, now has the tools to tell it. This is the start of a new era of storytelling and we are incredibly excited to be driving the transformation forward.

Cristóbal Valenzuela

Do you have any thoughts on the AI art ownership discussion?

With any emerging technology, there are new questions that arise. Right now we’re focusing on listening and learning as much as possible, and we will always do what’s best for our users and the broader creative community. Our goal is to help creators and artists enhance their craft, so we’ll be viewing these types of questions through that lens.

What are your favorite ways that Runway has been used? 

Runway is not used in any singular way. Runway is as expressive and flexible as your imagination can take it. Our tools can help both professionals and newcomers create content across multimedia formats. Professional VFX studios, and post-production studios use Runway daily. Including shows like “The Late Show” and movies like “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, but also within creative teams at companies such as New Balance that are using Runway to design new products. We love to see our tools streamline the tedious creation process on larger-scale projects to create more.

What are you most excited about IRT the future of Runway (and creative tools in general)?

AI will be a major force of positive change. This is a new era of storytelling. We are not far from crafting entire feature films and stories just by using words. Academy award winning movies will be entirely generated. The characters, scores, b-roll, backgrounds, and everything in between. I’m excited to open the door for new creators who have important stories to tell. That’s what we’re building towards, and building for.

Is there any advice you might have for aspiring creatives who want to learn more about leveraging technology to create art?

At Runway’s core, we’re a company of innovators who are actively working to create the tools to help all artists expand their realm of artistic expression. My advice to aspiring artists and creatives is to keep building – regardless of your skill level, creative background, or resources.

My advice to aspiring artists and creatives is to keep building – regardless of your skill level, creative background, or resources.

Cristóbal Valenzuela

And that does it for today's interview. Huge thanks to Cristóbal for joining us and sharing his wisdom.

For more Q&As from leaders in AI, like Mark Cuban, plus daily AI news, be sure to subscribe to Not A Bot, the world's most subscribed daily AI newsletter. 👇

As always, thanks for reading, and see you next time. ✌️

- Haroon - (definitely) Not A Robot and @haroonchoudery on Twitter

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