AI: The End of Humanity or Just the Beginning?
By Dr. Paul Carringer
The End of Humanity
[Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 27 seconds] AI generated wars, the end of democracy, brainwashing, unimaginable loss of jobs, and hacks that return humans to the stone age! Frightened yet?
“AI Schmai” said Barry Diller on the CNBC show “Squawk Box” during a September 26 interview discussing generative AI and the rights of content creators. Commenting on the labor deal between Hollywood content creators and studios, “They spent months trying to craft words to protect writers from AI and they ended up with a paragraph that protected nothing from no one,” said Diller who is the chair of IAC and Expedia.
The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu discussed AI and its impact on the world by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, whether our future will prove to be a blessing, or a curse will also depend on how we address the most consequential development of our time, the rise of artificial intelligence. The perils are great, and they are before us,” during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September.
The Beginning of the Golden Age
Life saving drug creation, the elimination of mind-numbing tasks for humans, the elimination of traffic jams, boundless clean energy, the end of hunger, with prosperity, stability, harmony, and peace! Maybe we can as the Coca Cola ad once promised “Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony”! Excited yet?
Between Utopia and Dystopia
The reality of AI is most likely somewhere between utopia and dystopia. Current uses of generative AI help humans take on certain functions in an assistive way. A power drill is much like a generative AI tool…particularly good for its designed purpose while providing the human with efficiency and effectiveness…but not very good for a dissimilar job. Using a power drill as a hammer might be hurtful to the project and the person for example.
Predictive AI is also currently used to automate human processes and can operate with little to no human interaction because of the inferential nature of its analysis of data points.
Marketing and sales functions are assisted by AI in the development of strategy, building customer awareness, helping customers make product and service comparisons, building trust and rapport with customers as they make decisions, and retaining customers with personalized messages and rewards.
The Harvard Business Review noted in its article titled “How to Design an AI Marketing Strategy” firms “use AI to handle narrow tasks, such as digital ad placement (programmatic buying), assist with broad tasks, like enhancing the accuracy of predictions (sales forecasts); and augment human efforts in structured tasks such as customer service”.
Current Uses of AI in Marketing
AI as an assistive technology helps marketers be more efficient and effective. This help comes in the areas of content creation, deep and rich use of data to make decisions, improved use of tools such as search engine optimization, and more direct and personalized forms of one-to-one communication that help customers find the perfect choice for the individual. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company sums this up by saying “Gen AI’s advanced algorithms can leverage patterns in customer and market data to segment and target relevant audiences” with lead nurturing campaigns, “hyper-personalized” follow-up, “real-time” customer support, and a “warm welcome” to the customer with their dynamic customer journey in focus.
McKinsey noted that lead generation, marketing optimization, personalized outreach, and dynamic content are the top four areas where organizations expect the most impact to be felt by the use of AI tools.
There are concerns, though they are not of the end of the world apocalyptic nature described by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Jessica Wong in an article for Entrepreneur Magazine discussed “protecting privacy” and monitoring “job security” as the two most current concerns. Humans must ensure that data collection and analysis is ethical and comply with data protection laws because “these technologies cannot self-police”. Wong argues that existing jobs will change rather than be replaced by these technologies.
Dr. Doug Ross of Franklin University agrees that “the AI technology will not replace the person, it will be the person who knows how to use the technology that will replace the person who does not.” (Franklin will begin offering a course covering AI and business soon.)
Other concerns include inaccuracy, cybersecurity, and intellectual-property infringement. These issues and the mitigation of risk is discussed in “The State of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year”, a report by McKinsey.
Feelings at 2 in the Morning
So, what to do…run for the hills or dive into the AI pool? Author and song writer Rick Cooper might have it right. Rick said “I’ve read lyrics generated by AI and they’re not bad, but they lack human emotion. AI has never sat alone in a bar at 2:00 a.m., staring down at the last beer of the night and contemplating every wrong decision you’ve made in your life that led you to that place and that moment. AI has never seen a lover pack their bags and walk out the door for the last time. AI has never felt the overwhelming pain of losing a parent, a best friend, a beloved dog. Until they can program AI to have a heart, a soul, and real feelings, I’m not worried about AI writing great country songs.”
Tools to Explore
So, dive in but bring your humanity. AI tools include AI paraphrasing, AI research assistants, aggregators, chatbots, copy and art creators, generative video creators and more. Check out the following to learn more.
Dr. Paul Carringer is professor of marketing at Columbus State Community College, adjunct instructor of marketing at Franklin University, and the president of Caring Marketing, a full-service PR, advertising, and production company established 32 years ago and located in Columbus, Ohio. He began working in digital communications in 1978 on the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the forerunner of the internet. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.