Karl Escritt, CEO of Like Digital & Partners, discusses the big generative AI questions.
AI has been used in marketing for some time, from chatbots to data science. What new opportunities does this next stage of generative AI, with the likes of ChatGPT, open for the advertising & marketing industry? For the media?
AI usage has been around for quite some time within marketing, with personalization and optimization tools being used successfully to generate better revenue strategies for many brands. However, the introduction of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools has had two clear levels of impact over the past several months.
The first one is the excitement of many marketers jumping on the next big tech trend and using it to hunt for column inches. This thankfully has been short-lived and, after a bombardment of AI-generated images that all looked the same, the hype seems to be passing. We are now seeing practical examples that have genuine benefits to the industry.
Examples include UAE-born brand Pickl that uses this to generate social media content ideas, or ad agencies using generative AI tools to capture the mood and feel of a campaign quickly, rather than sourcing thousands of stock images. Both examples allow us more time to focus on creativity and thinking. Enhancing our day-to-day is the true win here.
What are the benefits of AI for businesses today?
I’m still a firm believer that the biggest single use of AI in businesses is to better understand one’s consumer - making better recommendations, giving them timely and relevant content in a world (Internet) full of noise. Getting this basic right is often missed and is the first milestone for a successful AI strategy.
What challenges does AI create for businesses and how to approach these challenges?
The biggest challenges outside the general use of consumer data are the ethical questions around the source from which generative AI is gaining its information. The likes of ChatGPT and Midjourney work on known knowns and many of those known knowns have creators, artists, and writers who created the original work. How do we assign credit to generative AI work? Is it even possible? Are we entering a world of the non-creator economy as a result?
How can organizations and businesses prepare to adopt this fast-changing technology?
Organizations and businesses need to learn to remove themselves from the day to day and start building teams that are constantly thinking about the next 18 months plus. Teams that are not afraid to experiment and fail. Teams that are not tied down to a P&L are the team that will innovate and define the future of business.
So far, the general public was not really aware of the developments happening in AI. ChatGPT changed that. What are the public's main concerns, are they valid, and how to address them?
It’s my opinion that it is only when AI feels invisible to the public that we can really class it as a success. ChatGPT, as mentioned above, is experiencing a hyped media push now, which is causing a lot of interest from the general public. Rightfully, as the hype settles, people are asking questions about ethics, data, job security, etc. – all of which will become huge topics over the next 12 months. I was reminded of similar concerns upon the emergence of social media 10 years ago and it’s worth noting that we still have many of those questions unanswered.
How important is it to educate the public about AI and how to do it right?
I don’t think there is a right or wrong currently, as we are very much all trying to understand how such advancements in technology can fit within our life. However, that being said, educating our children on the speed at which technology is changing our interactions with humanity and the ethics that sit alongside it has never been so important.
What are the next trends in AI that you see emerging?
The issue with generative AI is it only knows what it knows, and this is where it falls short. It can’t show emotions or reactions in the way a human does. It understands the past, but humans display knowledge and feelings when talking about the past; we are affected by our daily surroundings, the quality of sleep we had or coffee we drank that morning. It’s this difference that makes the creative mind what it is from one day to the next. Artificial general intelligence is the next wave aiming to replicate some of these neurological patterns, but we are many years away from interacting with anything like this.
Rapid, unchecked technological development can sometimes have an adverse impact on society, as we are realizing today with social media. How to approach AI in a manner that is safe and beneficial to all?
This is the big question and one that the social media channels haven’t really figured out. We are seeing more and more unregulated technology emerge for consumer use, which will present possibly the biggest challenge for businesses of adoption. Organizations will need to work better (and earlier) with these tools to set standards for future consumer usage.