Us and AI – what’s the deal?
MiQ’s Tom Richards explains why the media industry is a blueprint for helping us understand the true impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence and why the human touch will always play a vital role.
Another year, another artificial intelligence (AI) innovation that’s going to change the world and take all our jobs due to its ability to automate. Yes, ChatGPT is causing consternation. It won’t drive your car for you, nor automatically sort your mail so it gets to you faster, but it will write an article for you at the touch of a button.
Now don’t get me wrong. ChatGPT is highly impressive. It is incredible what AI can achieve. Try it out for yourself and you’ll be gobsmacked. Journalists are worried that their days are numbered. Publishers are trying to figure out how they can stop it stealing their online content. Governments are worried about the threat it presents to privacy, with Italy the first to impose a ban.
As if ChatGPT wasn’t enough, Google has come up with its own version, Bard. This means that no matter how much fear, uncertainty and doubt the latest AI invention creates, there’s no getting away from the fact that the technology is here to stay. Just like it was with multiple innovations across the decades.
Humans hold the key
Of course, the media industry, which is currently being disrupted by ChatGPT more than any other sector, knows this only too well. Since desktop publishing exploded onto the scene in the 1980s, it has coped with one technological revolution after another. It’s a hugely innovative space that has spawned an array of digital wonders. This includes programmatic advertising, which continues to deliver ads to online media outlets automatically and is becoming increasingly clever at targeting relevant audiences with the right ads at the right time to improve their impact.
You guessed it, programmatic advertising uses AI and has been harnessing the technology successfully for some time. Rather than it shrinking media jobs, a global industry has grown up around it. In fact, it stands as an example of how AI is capable of helping us achieve wonderful things, but also how we – humans – hold the key to its success. And maybe it might just help to put your mind at rest about ChatGPT and the ‘threat’ posed by other ‘latest frontiers of AI’ in the future.
Asking the right questions
You see, the programmatic industry couldn’t function on AI alone – or any other technology for that matter. That’s because we’re not a technology business, but a service industry helping brands get more for from their advertising on digital media. Plus, indirectly improving the digital media experience for consumers by ensuring they are served ads that are relevant and don’t disrupt their viewing.
AI is important to programmatic, but ultimately it’s brilliant human talent that lies at the heart of what we do, whether that’s a data scientist, or another member of the our team helping to deliver a personalised, tailored service to our clients. The complexity of the programmatic space means providing the best service requires a thorough knowledge of the whole process and the nuances involved. This enables us to ask the right questions to glean the right information so that we can programme our AI models in the right way. The mix of subtlety, expertise and experience is impossible to automate, which means the human element remains vital.
Amplify and accelerate
ChatGPT is a great tool for quickly pulling together an article on a particular subject. But nothing it creates is original. It simply draws on what people have created. Without humans having written all the content that exists on the internet, ChatGPT would not be able to function.
From a programmatic perspective, and this also goes for other industries, the genius of ChatGPT lies in the fact that it is the most sophisticated conversational interface the world has ever seen. This means it has the ability to help us and other sectors get key insight from data more quickly and in a less cumbersome way, reducing the time and effort spent structuring data and testing it. But it will always be humans asking the questions, tailored around a specific or unique client problem.
Just like it does and will continue to do in programmatic advertising, AI is only ever likely to play a supporting role to human talent, helping to amplify and accelerate its achievements. That’s because humans understand the context of what our clients are looking for and what it takes to deliver it. Nuance is lost on AI. That’s why the future will always be a blend of people and technology as nothing can replace the human touch. Well, not yet anyway.