Would You Pay $200 A Month for Generative AI? Yes, You Would.

John Battelle
6 min readApr 7
Yep, DALL-E — “swarm of genies in the sky”

(Original post at Searchblog)

Would you pay $200 a month for generative AI services? It may sound crazy, but I think it’s entirely possible, particularly if the tech and media industries don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Think back to the last time you decided to fork over a substantial monthly fee for a new technology or media service. For most of us, it was probably the recent shift to streaming services. If you use more than a few, that bill can add up to nearly $100 a month. But streaming is a (not particularly good) replacement for cable — it’s not a technological marvel that changes how we live, work, and play. To find a new service that rises to that level, we have to go back to the introduction of the smart phone — a device we were willing to spend hundreds of dollars to obtain and an average of $127 a month to keep.

But what made the smart phone great was that it gave us the Internet in our pocket. It was the Internet itself that created an entirely new category — and the Internet Service Provider who was more than happy to charge us for the hookup. Each of us spends an average of $64 a month to stay connected to the Internet. Combine that with the average cost of cell service (and let’s be honest, we don’t pay $127 a month to make calls, we pay to be connected to the Internet) — and now we’re paying $191 a month to stay connected to the Web.

$191 a month. $2,292 a year. That’s some serious cheddar. The Internet has become the gold standard for what hundreds of millions of consumers will pay for a truly game changing technology platform.

I know we’re at the apex of the hype cycle when it comes to generative AI, but I tend to agree that it has the potential to dramatically shift pretty much everything in our already digitally enhanced lives. And while some have argued that advertising is going to pay for AI, I’ve come to the conclusion that advertising will be a side show in the AI revolution. Yes, there’ll be ads, and sure, the marketing industry will change as a result, but if generative AI is really going to be as big, or bigger, than the Internet, I think all of us are going to want to pay for it in the same way.

John Battelle

A Founder of The Recount, NewCo, Federated Media, sovrn Holdings, Web 2 Summit, Wired, Industry Standard; writer on Media, Technology, Culture, Business