The Cambridge dictionary defines an algorithm as “A set of mathematical instructions or rules that, especially if given to a computer, will help to calculate an answer to a problem.” Also, I checked ‘Timeline of Algorithms’ in Wikipedia which details out how old is the thought behind algorithms. It is exciting to see the evolution.
Most recently a product launch has gone viral – Humane, an AI company founded by ex-Apple engineers, launched its first hardware, the AI Pin, apparently this looks at replacing the smartphone. It is tiny, square-shaped device that can be pinned onto a wearer’s clothes, with Open AI’s GPT-4 & Microsoft’s AI models powering the pin’s digital assistant.
If someone would have mentioned this just two decades back, it may have been difficult to understand and maybe even imagine just the idea or the context. Today, with Artificial Intelligence manifesting in our daily lives with ease of access to multiple tools and options, it is imperative to think around this new normal.
Now talking about the overarching impact of AI in the Marketing & Advertising ecosystem, here are my top 3 observations, with the intent to reflect on the flip side as well.
- Making it easier
When the typewriter was replaced by computer, it did solve a big purpose. It made documenting, storing, transmitting information and connecting with people simply fast and revolutionary. Algorithms have been since then? No, even before that. The word algorithm can be traced back to 9th century when it was coined by Persian mathematician Adbullah Muhammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi, often referred to as “The Father of Algebra.”
The utility of AI is evolving at the speed of light globally, across multiple industries. Now, speaking about marketing & advertising, algorithms have seen to be almost all of a sudden taking the limelight. I keep seeing and hearing statements like ‘This is an AI generated image’, ‘This is an AI generated campaign’ to which I really don’t know if I am supposed to get excited. Most people maybe almost tending to think that an AI creative supersedes the human behind it.
Algorithms if used in the right spirit, can do wonders with research and throwing up ideas and maybe even more. However, in advertising and storytelling, my point of view is that it must have human intervention to tell the story better from the heart. Else, where is the fun? There is no fun in being an expert in AI Prompts and that too when we are trying to connect with our buyer personas authentically. Though I won’t flinch if I see a job soon stating ‘ VP of AI Prompts’! So use technology but keep your heart in the copy, not the AI’s heart.
- Creative artwork
For instance, there are plenty of people that pass out from Fine Arts colleges every year and there is technology that has become almost a dire need to learn for the artist community to stay relevant as AI is prompting a paradigm shift. I recall my summer holidays in Kolkata (was Calcutta that time) every year and I am grateful that most of my trips there were intertwined by subtle & yet deep conversations about ‘abriti’ which is essentially recital of poetry in intense emotional format, playing cricket with my cousins in the park beside our local pond (‘pukhur’) and discussions about art, specifically fine art. There was nothing around photoshop or AI, algorithms. Everything was manual with mind, heart and soul and hence the value of any piece of artwork was immense. At least the effort was recognised. Today, being an expert in fine art is okay, but what I observe is that one needs to manifest artwork via technology and not only on canvas. And yes, I have worked with clients on getting AI driven creatives to life, it does work well…at least for now. My take, is simple. Have a pencil and paper to start with and then jump to use technology in this case. A good example of this is electronic dance music producers such as Giuseppe Ottaviani compose the theme on keyboards and then use technology to add multiple layers and effects.
- Data and Media
Well, for sure, if we are talking about marketing, can’t ignore the role of media and mar-tech landscape. Today there are plethora of tools and platforms that are solving for customer journey, buyer personas, reception marketing, omnichannel marketing and, making sense out of jargons has become a necessary evil. A decade back there was a lot of brouhaha about Big Data with all events having panel discussions & Keynotes around this. Today, it is about how we are making sense of that data to market better to our consumers. When I say better, I mean only one thing – non-intrusive, understanding with data as to the best moments to get the attention of the potential customer, being in that moment and the post moment action. Algorithms have definitely made it easier for marketers to build trust and authenticity – simple example is evolved AI chatbots and the post click attribution data. However, the flip side is that ad fraud and data privacy are still on the mind. Hence, it is important to at least recognise this paradox till we solve it. Though my wisdom tells me, good and evil co-exist so try to encash the good aspects as much possible.
I am not sure if today’s intersection of creativity and algorithm is a boon for our marketing and advertising community, however, what I am sure of is that algorithms must not replace humans as however powerful an algorithm may get, it will never match up the emotional quotient of humans.
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