Perplexity’s ‘Discovery Daily’ is podcasting 2.0.

Perplexity’s ‘Discovery Daily’ is podcasting 2.0.

25 feb 2024

Technology

3 Minutes

The date is the 25th of February 2024 and yesterday everyones favourite answer engine, Perplexity launched a new product called Discovery Daily, a daily podcast that covers the most popular stories across various topics such as technology, finance, and entertainment.

It's ace and it's about to change how the podcasting landscape from here on out.

So here's the thing, the entire thing is created by AI and in this post I’ll talk about why I think it’s a watershed moment for podcasts.

First lets do a knowledge check for those of you just getting up to speed with the whole AI thing by running through what’s involved here.

So…let's get into it.

What is Perplexity?

Perplexity is like a Google but made for the AI age. Rather than doing a search and getting 10 blue links plus a page full of sponsored content, you just get answers.

Ask it a question and it’ll use AI to synthesis tons of different sources and just return the answer to you along with a list of sources that it used. Simple (on the surface).

Once they had this nailed, Perplexity launched the Discover tab. A collection of the most popular news stories on the internet refreshed in real time and synthesised with their language model to write a short summary of the story which expands if you click into it. Neat.

Now that they have the content for a podcast what else do they need? Audio.

Most people have heard of ChatGPT and OpenAI but less people have heard of TTS (Text-to-Speech) and ElevenLabs.

What is ElevenLabs?

Eleven Labs is the best in the game when it comes to TTS (text-to-speech) technology.

You, I or anyone else can head to their website, create an entirely synthetic voice or even clone our own voice then use that to generate audio of any text you want, in tons of different languages.

Add these two things together and you’ve got Discover Daily, the ultimate AI-powered podcast experience.

Here lies the watershed moment for podcasts. It takes media creation to a whole new level and showcases the potential of technology in flipping the model on it’s head.

Why I think it’s a bigger deal than people realise.

The vast majority of podcasts are focussed on regurgitating information while offering very low signal to noise. This leads to the trend of podcast summarisation through LLMs and the listeners flipping the podcast to 1.5-2x speed just to get through it hoping to pull out a couple of nuggets of information.

For any podcasts that fall into this category, unless you’re incredibly entertaining, AI can now likely make a version of your podcast that is just as good if not better and in almost real time.

Worth saying that you have zero chance of producing a podcast to the quality of Modern Wisdom using AI, but that is the 0.01% case. Everyone else should be worried.

It’s easy to be defensive about it but it’s the reality of what’s happening and it’s here today.

Here’s a few of the downstream impacts from this.

  1. Speed

For news roundup podcasts that are relying on speed to market i.e. how quick can they get the information to their audience, their will likely soon be a pod in your niche that will be faster to market with potential equal if not better information.

  1. Cost

Recording a podcast is expensive, not only through having good equipment to record and edit, but also in terms of time. Ai podcast will be able to spin out a great episode instantly at the cost of likely a couple of dollars. 100x cheaper at least.

  1. Quality

Harsh truth here is most podcasts aren’t that great. If you compare two and one is more information dense, concise, more consistent and better structured that is probably going to beat the other in the rankings. On these metrics AI podcasts will win every time. What they can’t (currently) compete on is Creativity, Authenticity and Personality. If you’re creating a pod from now on, focus on these.

Tools like Wondercraft, who recently raised a 6m USD seed round make it super simple for people to create entirely AI powered podcasts in a few clicks. You’re literally competing against Palantir grade engineering talent here.

Now that you know the direction this is going, it might be time to decide the direction you're going to go.

Are you going to create an entire network of AI generated podcasts in every single sub-niche on the planet? Or are you going to focus on developing your personality, creativity and authenticity to create a more unique podcasting experience.

Note - if you want help creating an AI powered podcast, reach out.