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Editor's Note

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad AI?

I am. I’ll admit it.




USUALLY, I WOULDN’T date an Editor’s Note with recent news, but just this morning I saw something debuting from OpenAI: Sora, “an AI model that can create realistic and imaginative scenes from text instructions,” per its website. Type in “two pirate ships battle in a coffee cup” and there you have it. Some of the “imaginative scenes” (short videos) can be pretty convincing.

Yet another amazing “model” from the company that brought us ChatGPT. I’m imagining how sign companies might make use of this: “a Sprinter van wrapped in royal blue with bright orange accents drives down a street.” And I’m imagining those threatened by this, such as video-production companies.

Technology has always brought change, sometimes radically so. Around four decades ago, computer-aided design and signmaking revolutionized the sign industry. To address the question of AI and signs specifically, we’ve covered or mentioned it in several parts of this issue — from our feature on ideas shaping the sign business to whether or not your peers already use AI, when they plan to (if ever) and what they fear most about it.

I admit it: I’m a bit afraid of AI. Afraid it could render my creativity obsolete, replace me at my job, become dangerously self-aware and more. Luckily, (I guess?) OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also claims to be a little afraid. “I think people should be happy that we are a little bit scared of this,” he told ABC News in an interview.

Whatever change AI brings to the sign industry, on behalf of Signs of the Times, “I’ll be back.”

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Learn about transparent panels and other types of digital displays and EMCs. (Tech Products)
  2. Check out the various ways diverse sign pros and companies are or will be using AI technology. (Revolution)
  3. Assess what you should and shouldn’t be doing — and more — as a manager. (Maggie Harlow)
  4. Review your labor and material cost percentages monthly, lest they devour your profit. (Dale Salamacha)
  5. Find out when, or if, our Brain Squad members plan to start using AI in their sign companies. (Buzz Session)



Introducing the Sign Industry Podcast

The Sign Industry Podcast is a platform for every sign person out there — from the old-timers who bent neon and hand-lettered boats to those venturing into new technologies — we want to get their stories out for everyone to hear. Come join us and listen to stories, learn tricks or techniques, and get insights of what’s to come. We are the world’s second oldest profession. The folks who started the world’s oldest profession needed a sign.

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