Published on: September 19, 2023
In a recent interview with SafetyDetectives, Jiajun Lu, CEO and founder of Akool, shared his journey in generative AI and what motivated him to establish Akool. The company specializes in personalized marketing content creation, offering features like asset swapping, text-to-image creation, and custom virtual avatars. Jiajun highlighted how AI is transforming commerce by making content creation more accessible, and he emphasized Akool’s commitment to delivering high-quality, commercially-ready content.
Hi Jaijun, thank you for your time today. Can you talk about your journey and what motivated you to establish Akool?
I’ve worked on generative AI for more than 10 years. I started with 3D creations and then moved to video and image creation. After earning my Ph.D., I moved to Stanford and focused on cartoon creation, such as creating cartoons from comic books and so on. From there, I worked at Google and Apple as a tech head, focusing on AI.
At the same time, I also connected with some early-stage startups that ended up going big. The blend of technology and the startup world really motivated me to do something myself. I felt like this world was alive, and it was something I wanted to do.
Additionally, because I’ve been working on generative AI for quite a while, I’ve always felt confident in my skills. Plus, I noticed that the market was wide open, which gave me the chance to do what I truly love – immersing myself into generative AI, starting my own company, and leaving my own legacy.
I’ve been working on generative AI for a long time. I’ve also seen that the market was open, so I could do what I wanted, which is generative AI, building my own company, and leaving my legacy.
What are Akool’s flagship features?
We offer personalized marketing content creation, especially videos and images. There are three features that are being used a lot:
- Asset swapping: For images and videos, we can help swap assets; we swap backgrounds, faces, and objects. The resulting quality is really good—studio quality that is realistic and better than what others offer. That’s why many other big brands choose to work with us.
- Text-to-image creation: From very simple text-based inputs, we can create diverse and personalized images . These are high-resolution and very easy to use when compared to others.
- Virtual avatars: We allow users to create custom personalized avatars with very few inputs, like some pictures or a short video, and we can create a virtual avatar for the user. They can then use these avatars for influencer marketing or to introduce .
How do you believe AI is reshaping the landscape of commerce, both for businesses and consumers?
AI is making it possible for e-commerce to create content very easily. Before, creating a picture would probably cost you around $100, and a video could cost you $500. So it was very hard for businesses to create assets for marketing or product purposes. But with generative AI, these things have become much cheaper, allowing anyone to create high-quality, personalized content.
With AI-generated content, how do you ensure quality and accuracy, especially in product descriptions or marketing materials?
On our site, we mainly focus on creating video content, so quality is really important. We primarily work with creative content and strive hard to ensure that the quality is good enough for commercial use. If you look at the current generative AI use cases, the majority of the work is being done for entertainment. In the entertainment field, it’s more important for content to be fun and enjoyable rather than accurate and high-quality.
For commerce, you need both accuracy and quality. We have unique technologies to ensure that the quality matches commercial standards, such as 4K and 8K outputs. As far as accuracy goes, the text is uploaded by the clients, and they can use traditional tools to do so. Therefore, accuracy side is less important for us; we mainly focus on the result quality. Our goal is for the user to watch the video and feel like they’re watching a movie. That’s the experience we aim to provide.
How steep is the learning curve for businesses unfamiliar with AI when they first start using Akool?
It’s very easy to use – . Most AI-powered tools are much simpler than traditional tools, such as those in the Adobe suite. Adobe’s software can be complex and the learning curve is steep. However, AI tools are very simple to use. They have simple inputs like adding text or uploading a few files. Then you just click one button, and everything is handled by AI.
It’s designed to be so simple that anyone can use it with little to no training. Just click one button.
What are some of the most significant challenges companies face when it comes to implementing AI for commerce?
As I mentioned earlier, because the content needs to be commercially ready, quality matters a lot. The majority of generative AI content creation tools, especially some of the open-source software, are not commercially ready. They’re often used for fun, and even for that purpose, they aren’t good enough.
If you bring this kind of low-quality content to a brand or e-commerce site and ask them to use it, they’ll refuse. Using low-quality videos could damage their brand image.
Therefore, it’s essential for us to develop our own technology to create premium quality content so that brands or organizations will be willing to use it. They need to see AI and personalization as assets that can enhance their brand image.