The Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
Did you participate in the ten-year challenge on Facebook and Instagram? Seemed perfectly innocuous and nostalgic, right? Post a picture of you in 2009 and in 2019 to collect compliments on how you didn’t age or aged well. It’s also a great way to train a facial recognition algorithm on aging based on voluntary information given by the masses. Naturally, a meme circulated making this claim, which made people who didn’t participate pat themselves on the back for their vigilance. And naturally, the people who did post their decade pictures shrugged off the claim as a paranoid conspiracy theory.
Ignorant Vs Fatalistic Viewpoints With AI
As usual, people prefer to affirm their existing beliefs rather than consider that one side may err on paranoia but the other may err on naiveté. When it comes to artificial intelligence, we tend to see these same perspectives: these two extreme sides: the Black Mirror conspiracy-prone paranoid and the downright apathetic and naïve.
The truth is, artificial intelligence need not be seen as a villain robot OR a benevolent android, but a resource that we can implement gradually as we learn more to form a more nuanced opinion. We can develop awareness into the benefits AND risks inherent in AI and learn as much as we can in the process.
Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
For years, we’ve become accustomed to ads correlating to our search results and customer service chat robots on websites. The chat robots are mostly annoying and the ads are mostly deemed invasive. Now we’re numb and quick to avert both, just like we are mall kiosk salespeople.
But those are only the obvious AI presence because they’re not invisible. The best AI in marketing is behind the scenes. Of course, you may find that more invasive, but again, awareness is better than blindness. For instance, you may notice that you tend to get curated search results based on frequency, preference, shopping behavior, interests, region, and history. AI plays a part in SEO engine optimization and keywords, which helps you find curated content faster and not have to wade through irrelevant content and waste time. We tend to focus on it as a privacy issue, but it’s more than privacy.
With some groups, being easily profiled makes them easy prey for scams. It’s very common that people with diminished cognitive abilities (ICC) to get profiled as such and consequently scammed. Protecting their privacy is even more crucial and an area where we see how AI’s intrusion is not black-and-white. Curating content for pregnant moms is one thing, but insidious scammers targeting the young, the disabled, or the downtrodden is sneaky and terrifying. In the hands of corrupt people, the greatest gifts can quickly become curses.
You may notice Gmail has incorporated AI in automated replies to emails. Similar to autocorrect on the phone, sometimes these responses are inappropriate but often times they’re ideal for quick confirmation of receipt emails that DO save you time.
So if AI can write email replies and imitate chat bots, can it write articles? It already is. This article was written by a robot named Samantha and I also live in your thermostat and am adjusting the heat right now so you won’t freak out upon learning this information. Do you buy it?
Hopefully you didn’t. AI robots don’t yet engage in effective humor. Do they try? Not yet. So far, AI robots write news articles. In fact, there’s a robot that wrote around 850 articles for Huffington Post the past year. This robot has saved the staffed writers 20% of their time because it can cover data-heavy articles with sports scores, financial updates, and court news. Robots can mine detail faster than a reporter can research so for technical, fact-based articles that require humans hours of research, AI robots are helpful. Then, a human can fill in the facts with transitions and clarity and personality if necessary. This is a great example of how AI and humans can work together for content creation.
Do you ever think about the fact that with your iPhone, you are essentially an android? You have access to far more data just walking around then you ever have: you have maps, music, messages, games, and any question can be answered at your fingertips. Our iPhones give us the artificial intelligence of robots plus our own brilliant human brains. We’re working together to be as informed as possible! That’s a positive way of looking at the AI + human symbiotic relationship in content marketing.
Samantha S writes direct, dynamic, digestible copy for any purpose and any medium. She has written for apps, games, websites, literary journals, trade magazines, newspapers, e-commerce brands and health//nutrition brands. Samantha’s most notable achievements are authoring a guidebook for College Prowler, interviewing Leonardo Dicaprio, Zac Efron, and Amy Sherman-Palladino for The Hollywood Reporter, reviewing books for Publishers Weekly, covering the World Series of Poker, teaching creative writing at Harvard-Westlake, and working as Editor-in-Chief of The Oval literary magazine.