Founder and President of The Evoke Agency, a 4x Inc 500 and 5000 firm focusing on social media, content creation and public relations.
By now, you have probably heard of ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Sydney or any number of artificial intelligence (AI) programs that have become the present fascination of the tech industry. Once ripped from the pages of pulpy 1970s sci-fi paperbacks, AI is now so very much real that it’s available to the public and is being used as an asset in the working world.
Many companies have been using the advantages of ChatGPT to propel their businesses forward. As a forward-thinking company, my agency has already begun research into how we might be able to best utilize AI. While we’ve yet to integrate it into our own practices, knowing how others might be using it is key to staying ahead.
Attracting nearly 40 million users per day, ChatGPT is one of the many chatbots being utilized to provide customer service, draft copy and even assist in market research. As it continues to become more ubiquitous and the technology powering it matures, we will continue noticing several major changes in the marketing and advertising industries.
In order to be used in direct customer communications, chatbots are fed an incredible amount of data to “learn” how to respond to common customer inquiries. The more data they’re fed, the more accurate the capability of response.
Millennials may remember wasting time on instant messenger by launching silly questions at the chatbot SmarterChild, whose clunky responses often provided a few minutes of entertainment while users waited for their human friends to come online. ChatGPT’s communication functions far exceed the limits of 2000’s tech. Able to replicate near-human speech patterns, these bots can provide streamlined communication between company and client.
However, does this newfound AI elegance genuinely replace the human component necessary in the marketing field? There are arguments to be made. In my experience, business revolves around human experience and interaction between client and agency teams. This daily communication and interaction is ultimately the function of this job. This raises the question about ChatGPT and whether its purpose can actually disrupt an entire field.
Fact-Checking And Accuracy In Communications
According to the New York Times, the newest version of ChatGPT’s ability to provide accurate and well-organized information is vastly improving with new updates to the software. When asked to produce an introductory lesson in Spanish to an English speaker, the bot was able to produce an accurate beginner’s lesson.
As more data is given to the bot, marketers could eventually feel comfortable sourcing research from it, or even using it as a way to provide immediate answers to customer inquiries and feedback. ChatGPT-4 (the newest version of the bot) is a staggering development in the field of AI. It can write poems, essays and ace standardized tests. But it is crucially inhuman. Understandably, this causes problems. In a review of ChatGPT-4, the New York Times also relayed that the bot still “hallucinates,” meaning the bot makes things up. With no capability of discerning what is or isn’t true, ChatGPT can respond with nonsense to prompted questions.
ChatGPT should be monitored closely, especially when integrated into marketing and advertising firms as ChatGPT’s hallucinations risk the trust between the firm and the client. Human fact-checking should be used in tandem with ChatGPT.
Challenging The Trust Between Marketers And Consumers
While the risk of hallucination for anyone using the software to draft, copy or handle customer service matters can be addressed by human copyeditors, the specific ways in which ChatGPT has been implemented have already created a sense of distrust, and this distrust is not unearned.
For example, as reported by NBC, a talk therapy app company recently revealed it had used ChatGPT to formulate responses to users’ requests for mental health support. While the responses were edited and monitored by human employees, the reaction to the reveal that AI created the responses was, understandably, negative.
Beyond the obvious ethical ramifications around the company’s AI use, the surrounding fallout issues a clear warning to other companies that provide direct-to-consumer communication. If a company’s clients expect the care of speaking with another person, the revelation that it was handled by AI could violate the trust you’re asking of them.
So, Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s clear that the early exploration days of AI have produced some incredible promise. With advances coming seemingly every day, it’s not just the world of marketing that will be affected by these changes, but the world at large. Even digitally, the act of pioneering poses risks. As ChatGPT and rival services move forward, marketers will be met with more clarity on how best to implement these tools, but as they introduce it now, they should exercise caution.
In a recent essay about the rise of ChatGPT, famed linguist Noam Chomsky asserts that “intelligence consists not only of creative conjectures but also of creative criticism.” AI is unable to substitute the artful creativity and human connectivity necessary to operate in marketing spaces.
In my opinion and experience as a business owner, it is the nature of technology to eclipse itself. The floppy disc was replaced by the flash drive, which was replaced by Bluetooth file-sharing. As Chat GPT-3.5 was replaced by Chat GPT-4, the cycle continues. However, the ability to connect with a client, customer or audience is human and human alone—and, therefore, irreplaceable.