What Is Synthetic Media? Types, Benefits, and Best Practices

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Is there anything we do that doesn’t involve media?

Scrolling social media apps, listening to music, watching television, working – media is all around us. We consume more content than generations before us could have imagined, and new technologies let us actively participate in its creation. 

Today, anyone can design a beautiful website, edit on TikTok, compose music, or apply a hilarious Snapchat filter on their vacation videos.

So, what is facilitating this content creation revolution? 

As computers get more intelligent, producing content needs our human participation less and less. A result of this situation is synthetic media, a form of artificially generated media. 

Tools like synthetic media software can create music, texts, imagery, and vocal synthesis generated by artificial intelligence (AI). As synthetic media companies try to disrupt outdated aspects of traditional media, it becomes simpler to create new work.

Synthetic media is an umbrella term for the artificial production, manipulation, and modification of data and media by automated means in order to deceive or alter its original purpose. The modifications are often achieved through AI algorithms.

Our communication methods have always been inextricably linked to the technologies available at the time. Right now, we’re witnessing steady progress in technology, which leads to new methods of communication, like new media formats that differ in creation, consumption, and contextualization.

As more businesses realize the full potential of synthetic media, its utilization will drastically revolutionize numerous sectors and applications, resulting in astounding outcomes.

$3,562,09 million

is the projected value of the global synthetic media market by 2027.

Source: 360iResearch

How does synthetic media work?

Generative AI is the technology behind the production of synthetic media, which is why the two terms are often used interchangeably. Today, many AI applications are enabled by deep learning and generative adversarial networks (GANs) that teach computers to think like humans and make intelligent decisions. 

GANs let computers generate realistic content. It’s fueled by two neural networks: one that creates false images based on actual photographs and another that serves as a judge to determine whether an image is genuine.

GAN outputs often appear natural and indistinguishable from the original images. Therefore, they enable the creation of synthetic media that are difficult to distinguish from real media, particularly in computer vision and image processing applications.

Synthetic media vs. non-synthetic media

Synthetic media is constructed partially or entirely by computers. Non-synthetic media is every other media made conventionally, i.e., media created with human input.

Think about two specific instances.

First, a newspaper story. It’s a form of non-synthetic media because someone (a human) wrote it. Next, consider a picture in which an Instagram filter has been used to add bunny ears on a natural human face. Since AI primarily created it, the media is considered synthetic. 

Types of synthetic media

Every day, Fortune 500 corporations and independent producers turn to AI-generated content. Some well-known forms of synthetic media are discussed below. 

  • Text-based synthetic media generates written content using machine learning software (ML) and AI algorithms. Synthetic media in the form of text employs natural language processing (NLP) tools to generate coherent, pertinent, and human-like text based on user-supplied input data or prompts. 
  • Audio-based synthetic media, or text-to-speech (TTS) technology, takes advantage of AI algorithms to convert written text into spoken audio. These AI systems learn the patterns, intonations, and nuances of human voices using large datasets of recorded human speech. Then, they generate synthetic speech, closely replicating natural human accents.
  • Image-based synthetic media, including text-to-image technology, employs algorithms to generate visual content from text or other data inputs, such as images or artwork. These synthetic images use NLP, computer vision, and advanced graphics techniques to create realistic visual content. 
  • Video-based synthetic media, such as text-to-video technology, enables users to construct avatars or digital characters to use within the generated video content. Users can create synthetic videos resembling themselves, other people, or fictional characters. 

Synthetic media and deepfakes

We cannot overlook the infamous deepfakes while discussing synthetic media. A user on Reddit originally came up with the term in 2017, a combination of deep learning and fake, and it rapidly gained popularity.

Generally speaking, deepfakes carry a bad reputation. The term is most frequently used to refer to content that has been altered to make it appear as if someone is doing or saying something that they haven’t actually said or done.

The most well-known instance on the internet is a TikTok channel featuring Tom Cruise deepfakes that went viral instantaneously. Other deepfakes are David Beckham speaking nine languages to combat malaria or the video of Barack Obama stating things that the real Obama would never utter publicly.

Synthetic media examples and applications

Synthetic media offers flexibility in several areas, from optics and energy storage to transmission and communication to virtual commerce. The following examples from the actual world demonstrate the breadth of use for synthetic media.

  • MetaHuman is a character generator that facilitates the creation of realistic humans or digital avatars for in-game character design and development, animation and cinematic content, advertising, or entertainment.
  • CogVideo is a text-to-video AI tool that lets computers make brief, coherent video segments based solely on text descriptions. 
  • Thispersondoesnotexist.com is a website that uses AI to render photographic images of fictitious persons realistically.
  • DALL-E 2 is a sophisticated AI technology trained on 250 million images that creates unique, synthesized art by combining words with specific image characteristics.
  • Voiseed is a technology that humanizes audio content by creating a voice interface that uses sentiment and intelligence to communicate in authentic, natural language.
  • Platforms like Icons8 and Evoke produce AI-generated, copyright-free music that makes audio indistinguishable from human-created music.

Uses of synthetic media in the workplace

While trust and ethical issues can be challenging to surmount, synthetic media can prove advantageous in the workplace on many levels. You can create complex data visualizations, designs, or even films using synthetic media tools. 

Analysts and researchers frequently use these platforms to create and disseminate findings to a larger audience. In fact, art directors also use it to model concepts before they are brought to life in development.

Of course, some work is just curiosity projects, such as AI-derived art. In contrast, others will grow into part of the digital workforce,m where the benefits of synthetic media may be blended into more regulated business situations.

Synthetic media tools might be helpful when engaging with clients that speak different languages. For example, a German-speaking consumer calls in to inquire about a product, and an English-speaking staff member can help by utilizing an artificial media tool that translates into German in real-time. 

Consequently, regardless of language obstacles, technology like this enables companies to give the best service possible. This technique is being refined with Translatotron, a Google-powered AI software introduced in 2019.

Other applications in the workplace include creating training videos for employees and customers, personalizing marketing campaigns for the most valuable prospects, and offering a unique selling point or quote as a case study when pitching new customers or clients. Several platforms, such as Synthesia, can develop these projects, ranging from staff training to marketing services powered by AI software.

Advantages of synthetic media

Synthetic media tools are redefining our work with more intelligent, more efficient methods that produce media experiences of unprecedented quality. The primary benefits of synthetic media are discussed below. 

Disadvantages of synthetic media

The most significant risk arises from technological misuse when anybody has the means to produce this kind of media. Some major challenges with synthetic media are mentioned here. 

Best practices in synthetic media

The internet will evolve from static, text-based interactions to rich, interactive ones, and new means of communication will permanently alter the media landscape. Considering that synthetic media is a dynamic, complex, and ever-evolving discipline, we have to adhere to some best practices. 

  • Assess the data. Inadequate information may result in misrepresentation of results and failure of implementation. Understand available data and define clear objectives accordingly.
  • Select the right tools. With numerous available tools, picking the right one depends greatly on needs. 
  • Comply with legal and ethical values. Awareness of any output’s legal or ethical implications is necessary. 
  • Use a human-centric approach. Assessing the true impact of a system’s predictions, recommendations, and decisions requires an understanding of how actual users will respond to it.
  • Measure and track results. Experiment with AI and establish disciplined surveillance, monitoring, and measurement with a critical approach at every step.

Synthetic media software

The market for synthetic media software is constantly developing as new competitors and cutting-edge technologies challenge established standards. These platforms give us complete control over our synthetic media, with stringent and comprehensive privacy standards to guarantee the tool is utilized safely.

For inclusion in this list, a product must:

  • Allow users to enter data and obtain synthetic media as an output.
  • Provide a tool for non-technical users to use AI to create synthetic media.
  • Allow users to export and share synthetic media.
  • Comprise content moderation features or guidelines.

* Below are the top five leading synthetic media software from G2’s Summer 2023 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.

1. Synthesia

Synthesia is a platform for creating artificial intelligence-generated video content. It enables you to convert text-based material into bite-sized films to boost sales content engagement, conversion, and retention.

What users like best: 

“The platform’s user interface is fantastic and very easy. The models work very well with many options to choose from and customize your AI character, background, and the assets on the screen. I use this in conjunction with Storyline 360, and the result is amazing. We have blown people away with what we’re able to produce.”

Synthesia Review, Thomas S.

What users dislike:

“One aspect of Synthesia that I find slightly disappointing is certain avatars’ occasional quirks and peculiar movements. Specifically, I’m not particularly fond of the sporadic ticks and unusual head, eye, and mouth movements that some avatars exhibit. It would be great if these aspects could be further refined to enhance the overall experience.”

Synthesia review, Andy O. 

2. ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an artificially intelligent chatbot. It’s been trained to respond to a prompt by following instructions and providing a thorough response. It’s well-known for helping users fine-tune and direct a discussion toward a particular duration, structure, style, degree of information, and language.

What users like best: 

“ChatGPT is a fantastic tool that has helped me save a significant amount of time. Tasks that took me 20 minutes or longer can now be completed in under 5 minutes. Additionally, it has helped aid my understanding of website development. If you’re not achieving the desired results, I suggest learning about using effective prompts. With a bit of practice, you’ll see improved results. However, remember that you may still need minor tweaks at the end.”

ChatGPT Review, Dan M.

What users dislike:

“Although it tries to give you a perfect answer, sometimes it can wrongly interpret your question and give incorrect results. It has limited knowledge of events after 2021. It can’t help you in decision-making. It can only list all possible options.”

ChatGPT Review, Abhay V. 

3. Writesonic

Writesonic is an AI writing and image-generating platform. It includes tools for creating, editing, and publishing search engine-optimized articles, blog posts, advertising, landing pages, e-commerce product descriptions, or social media postings.

What users like best:

“The Writesonic extension integrates seamlessly with my browser, allowing me to access its features with just a few clicks. I particularly appreciate the ability to generate new ideas for articles and blog posts using the AI-powered content idea generator. The writing assistant feature is also beneficial, providing suggestions for improving my writing and catching any grammar or spelling errors. Overall, I highly recommend the Writesonic extension for anyone looking to improve their writing and streamline their workflow. It’s a must-have tool for any writer or content creator.”

Writesonic Review, Stig-Arne K. 

What users dislike:

“Sometimes, it can’t keep track of the topics in the previous conversations. Therefore, I must include my earlier conversations in each chat to remind it of what I seek.”

Writesonic Review, Yasser Q. 

4. Jasper

Jasper is an artificially intelligent writing assistant that instantly creates high-quality copy for emails, ads, and websites. It understands 30+ languages and provides word-by-word original,plagiarism-free content. 

What users like best: 

“Jasper makes the learning curve easy! I enjoy being able to write content in my own words and then having Jasper spin it in a way that is more engaging and witty! It is almost like it knows what I am thinking!”

Jasper Review, Gabe S.  

What users dislike:

“Jasper can be a bit cookie-cutter if you don’t know how to work with it. It can sometimes make the content sound very generic and sometimes has difficulty rewording it another way.”

Jasper Review, Brittani C. 

5. Murf.ai

Murf.ai is a realistic text-to-speech engine that runs in the cloud and can produce voiceovers for content such as YouTube videos, podcasts, commercials, e-learning materials, presentations, and audiobooks. It contains over 120 voices and 20+ languages. 

What users like best:

“You can get voices that sound unbelievably real and save from using a traditional voice-over artist, and you get the added versatility of making changes on the fly that you would not get hiring a voice-over artist. There is also a great selection of royalty-free music tracks to integrate with your voice-over.”

Murf.ai Review, Nathan A. 

What users dislike:

“There are a limited number of characters for each language, and the intonation can sometimes be robotic. Also, there are some glitches with creating monologues vs dialogues. Creating dialogues is a very long and drawn out process which needs to change to become more efficient.”

Murf.ai Review, Helena M.

A new era for media 

We are at the beginning of a paradigm change. Content creation is shifting from the physical to the digital realm, allowing us to produce work we never could. Synthetic media is gradually growing in terms of realism and simplicity of use while also producing excellent results. 

However, it’s also vital to note that AI and related technologies cannot be produced with ethics as a secondary consideration. Principles must be front and center, an inherent component of every organization, reflected in business policy and these revolutionary technologies.

If you’re intrigued by synthetic media, explore a little about the looming metaverse!



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