What a Difference a Difference Makes

Yesterday, I stumbled across an AI-powered service called Portrait Studio.

The concept is simple…

Upload a bunch of selfies of your head from the neck up and Portrait Studio will create professional style, high-definition photos of you in a variety of outfits, in a variety of settings.

The perfect alternative to an expensive, time-consuming, in-person photo shoot.

It was just $24 to try it out, so in the name of science (I never stop working for you), I gave it a spin.

The results were … interesting.

I was amazed, frankly, at both the quality of the photos and how realistic the various outfits looked. It seemed that I was really wearing the clothes in question.

But the more I looked at the photos, and though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, something felt off.

So I showed my wife, Linda. She immediately shook her head: “It doesn’t look like you.”

I sent a few to my friend Belinda. She said almost the exact same thing.

They were right. The pictures look like someone who looks like me. A long-lost twin brother, maybe. But not me. 

Who You Are Is Hard to Copy

Sometimes, when I’m in a place with lots of people, like an airport or an indictment, I look around and think, “How is it possible that everyone has a unique face?”

And, maybe even more puzzling, how is it that while many people look alike, it takes just a second or two to recognize someone you know – even someone you may not have seen in decades – from among all these faces?

The answer is … I have no idea. I exhausted my science knowledge in an earlier paragraph.

But I think it reveals something about being human – something that the AI machines are going to have trouble with.

It’s that last 1%, where you look and think, “Something feels off.”

And it’s not just photos – it’s writing too. There is often a hard-to-put-your-finger-on-but-not-quite-humanness to the AI-generated things you read.

Which means that if you are a professional who uses original content as a way to build trust, demonstrate expertise, and stand out from the crowd, it’s going to be more important than ever that you bring that final 1%.

Two suggestions…

#1. Share your personal experiences.

I am willing to bet that I am the only person on Earth with a wife named Linda and a friend named Belinda who uploaded photos yesterday to a service called Portrait Studio.

Each of our personal experiences is unique.

And while AI will soon be able to write as well as you do – and certainly much faster – it’s never going to lease a carattend a Pokemon convention, or adopt too many dogs.

Your life, unlike your professional expertise and knowledge, is unfakeable.

#2. Write the way you talk.

I never publish anything without first having it spell-checked and grammar-checked. This helps prevent me form making errors that are easy to miss.

But I rarely follow all the suggestions. Grammarly tends to think I am too wordy.

In that last sentence, for example, it wanted me to replace “tends to think” with “thinks.”

And in this sentence, it doesn’t want me to start with “and.”

But I don’t talk that way. And if I follow all the suggestions, I am just going to sound the same as everyone else.

More technically accurate, perhaps, but more the same, too.

So feel free – in fact, try – to use words and phrases that aren’t typically found in business writing. Surfboard! (See what I mean?) That makes it more interesting and more different.

Here’s the bottom line.

Whether taking in a face, a phrase, or a story, humans are really good at recognizing other humans.

So don’t stop at 99%. If you sell a professional service, it’s the last 1% that ultimately gets you hired.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have too many dogs?
  2. What famous person do you look a lot like?
  3. Surfboard!

Share your answers below…

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12 thoughts on “What a Difference a Difference Makes

  1. Nikki

    I have the perfect number of dogs. They fit well in my vehicles when it is packed to the roof with camping gear.

  2. Marylynn D James

    I very much liked this post. You do such a great job of transferring a personal experience to a lesson for us as individuals, but also thinking about how to incorporate these things to help us in our business and dealing with clients. It is the thing that I have most liked about your stories. You would have made a great Transcendentalist.

    As for the number of dogs, I have three. Is that too many? Well, my husband would so say for sure. I would definitely have more if I could afford them, and they didn’t shed hair. Ha!

    I truly can’t think of anyone famous that I look like, so not much to say here.


  3. Peter Cohen

    The “fake” Michael Katz looks like Hamid Karzai!. Do you have a twin brother in Afghanistan? If your trial subscription has not yet expired, ask it to put you one of those special hats he wears. According to the New York Times: “Known as a karakul hat, and made of the pelt of fetal or newborn lambs of the karakul breed of sheep, traditionally it was something worn by Tajiks and Uzbeks from northern Afghanistan.” Hope this is helpful.

  4. Lindsay Gower

    1. I currently have 0 dogs. That is a sad number.

    2. Back in the late ’70s, people said I looked like Lee Remick. Quite the compliment! As the decades have passed, few remember Lee Remick — and friends tell me that I look like my dad!

    3. Cowabunga!

  5. Rick Shea

    1. I don’t have enough dogs. Actually, I’ve been hoping a dog would adopt me.
    2. Bruce Springsteen, although you wouldn’t know it to look at me.
    3. Shark!


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