Discussions about Artificial Intelligence have become quite pervasive in recent months. Naturally, many of those discussions have focused on the technology’s possible impact on various industries, especially those in the digital landscape. Additionally, many of the contributors to those discussions have been enthusiastically advising business owners and digital marketing professionals to embrace the potential of A.I., often pointing to their own investments and presenting the associated products as sources of massive savings in both time and money.
We’re not about to say that A.I. is not going to have a strong impact on the digital landscape. But if you haven’t adopted it into your business model yet, we’re here to reinforce your sense of caution and to reassure you that many of the predictions about A.I.’s obvious superiority and inevitable takeover are premature, at best. In other words, we’re fairly confident that digital marketing professionals like ourselves are not going to be out of a job in the near future.
That is to say, A.I. may threaten some firms and some employees in our industry, but the impact will mainly be felt by those who fail to adapt. It will be felt in a different way by those who adapt too quickly and too recklessly, for instance by laying off staff based on the unproven assumption that A.I. can generate marketing copy, develop a brand identity, and place advertisements just as effectively as human beings can do.
As with most new technology, users of generative text applications and other forms of A.I. will most likely find that it can be a helpful tool, but that it exhausts its utility pretty quickly if you rely on it too much. Anecdotally, most people we know who have experimented with this technology have found that while it does its job with a basic level of competence, it still requires a high degree of human intervention in order to pass muster in a professional setting.
Of course, some devotees of the technology industry may be tempted to brush that off as growing pains while they go on arguing that A.I. will replace all digital marketing professionals and take over all facets of life. But this viewpoint is most prevalent among those who are clearly overselling the present capabilities of A.I., and largely overlooking the human hands that are behind it now, and probably always will be.
Acknowledgment of that human element does sometimes slip through, however, even in sales pitches for new A.I. products. A recent press release Interact Marketing and its self-proclaimed “leading” digital marketing professionals announced the launch of “cutting-edge artificial intelligence capabilities for blog article development,” but went on to say that it “combines the power of A.I. with the expertise of human editors to deliver high-quality, fact-checked, proofed, and search-engine-optimized content.”
Which aspects of that outcome are the A.I. responsible for, and which are attributable to the expertise of human editors? There’s one sure-fire way to tell, and that is by removing digital marketing professionals from the equation and letting the A.I. run on its own. We suspect that some companies will be doing just that in the near future, and that all of them will soon realize that they’ve made a terrible mistake.
Without human intervention, A.I. will just end up making copies of copies of copies, until everything it produces is severely degraded, while also being virtually indistinguishable from everything else. Algorithms alone cannot create effective branding or consistently informative written content. They can only be used as tools of human productivity. So while we understand if our clients, partners, or competitors want to experiment with the capabilities of A.I., we caution against overestimating them, and we advise you to remember that all the upselling in recent months has been the product of very human digital marketing professionals.