The futurist William Gibson once said that “the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed”. It’s an interesting quote – and one which, with the advent (and seemingly unstoppable advance) of AI, has more relevance today than ever before.
Perhaps the big question for agencies in 2023 is how and when to utilise AI as part of their services… especially when the marketing media are reporting that the marketing community aren’t seeing the benefits of it being particularly ‘evenly distributed’ at this current moment in time!
Ahead of ahead of the curve
At LAW Creative, we have always prided ourselves on being not just ahead of the curve but part of the curve itself… which is why we are embracing AI and the opportunities it delivers. But we don’t just go along with the herd. We are beginning to combine artificial intelligence and all it can do with a human touch and things that only a person can do. Thus, ‘Human + AI’ is, in our opinion, a way forward to inspire, create, deliver and distribute…
Be the change
Bill Gates believes that the most important developments since personal computing have been seen recently thanks to advances in AI, whilst The Times notes “Open AI has wowed the world with its ChatGPT bot, a powerful tool that can pass the Bar exam, pen poetry and write software. But AI presents a brave new world replete with positive and negative possibilities”.
As for the marketing impact of those possibilities, soon after ChatGPT was launched, industry-guru Faris Yakob memorably stated, “Prompt Engineering has become a new skill to absorb. Planners and creatives need to develop their skills to work out how best to collaborate with AI to get more, better ideas, faster, and creative directors will need to tune their sensibilities accordingly. Lots of change will happen, eventually, as we ride along this new S-curve, and once again for a brief window, technology feels a little bit like magic”.
In the context of marketing, our team at LAW Creative applies that magic for clients across a range of sectors. We have been utilising leading-edge technology since the agency was formed over 20 years ago, as an early mover in answering the complex needs of B2B clients. As such, we welcome the ‘creative disruption’ that generative AI is causing. Where some may be in a state of denial and slow to change, at LAW we’re looking to embrace it, along with the possibilities it brings – both for us and our clients.
Change is not only coming, but is here, now, and those that ignore it could be in danger of being left behind.
LAW and AI
Today, we are beginning to use AI tools to enable us to do more for our clients with increased efficiency, on a wide range of tasks requiring content creation and comms engagement. This is frequently done on a co-creation basis, where the opportunities for collaboration offer exciting developments in combining an agency-client team approach.
“Opportunities abound… possibilities are everywhere,” says Josh Kichenside, Client Services Director at LAW Creative. “A.I. is now particularly useful for complex B2B comms briefs and account-based marketing projects, where the ability to combine scale, efficiency, multi-audience targeting and personalisation offer tangible and directly applicable benefits. This is set within a Generative AI landscape across Text, Video, Image, Code, Speech, 3D and Research. Yet, despite this remarkable technology, its benefits can only be harnessed via a talented team which understands how to integrate it within the wider landscape to drive clients forward.”
Putting things into perspective
A note of caution, though. The dust still settling on the media-storm caused by the AI open letter launched by the Future of Life Institute, which called for six-month pause on development of systems more powerful than GPT-4. The Institute warned that AI labs are engaged in an arms race to develop artificial minds that not even their creators can understand or control. This was swiftly followed by the so-called ‘Godfather of AI’ Geoffrey Hinton, resigning from Google, saying that he wanted to be able to speak more freely about its dangers. So, the marketing sector’s outputs have to be considered amidst the wider media narrative surrounding AI, which seems to range from excitement around the ‘next big thing’ to apocalyptic warnings of a robot takeover. And some of the more negative coverage has pointed out that, along with the well-documented ‘hallucinations’ that ChatGPT has, it also misses key elements such as memory (hence no true real-time learning) and it can’t solve most problems that require thinking several steps in advance. Which, after all, is something at which agency thinkers are rather good.
As for the practicalities of creating a wide range of marketing outputs, from the point of view of exciting developments in content creation and optimisation, clearly appear to be a collaboration of ‘human and machine’ both in terms of increased efficiency, and the opportunities for increased collaboration. Here’s where (good) agencies have always been a) innovative and b) one step ahead… offering client servicing that always goes further. With the advent of AI, the possibilities for enhanced agency performance and all-round client satisfaction are potentially limitless.
Now that some of the initial industry hysteria seems to have calmed down, the immediate future seems to indicate an approach where agency staff leverage core skills such as concept ideation (across product / service / experience) and strategic thinking, across adaptable timeframes, including tactical actions and responses. Crucially, this leaves AI to help handle the automation of process-driven and repetitious activity, as well as the exploration of creative development.
Elsewhere, a transformational example relates to the way in which we discover and interact with online info, which represents a ‘third wave’ of innovation in online search, and that is radically altering the search landscape. This was illuminated recently on the WARC platform:
“if the first generation of search tech relied on keyword-based search and matching, and search 2.0 saw the intro of advanced algorithms for ranking and relevance, then ChatGPT argues search 3.0 builds on these previous stages by incorporating tech such as AI and NLP. With these advances, search becomes more conversational and interactive, and marketers are shifting from targeting keywords, to targeting intent and context”.
And it’s exploring this type of ‘significant shift in the marketing landscape’ where LAW Creative is continuing with its tried and trusted approach of utilising leading-edge technology, for the benefits of clients across multiple sectors.
The future is here*
*but it still needs a bit of work
Caution is still required – particularly from a technology that is currently still infamous for its numerous faults alongside its many advantages. Bluntly put, it’s obviously deeply useful, but it isn’t taking over in the foreseeable future and is therefore no ‘plug and play miracle cure’. An obvious example of this is highlighted by the legal situation around AI-generated images, which currently don’t qualify for copyright protection, which naturally has deep implications for businesses, regarding their creation and usage. Not to mention inappropriate bias in content generation!
Seize the present. Win the future
At LAW Creative we’re embracing the opportunities, whilst very much remaining aware of the risks. Using our unmatched skillset to plot the right course for every client and campaign we work on. This is how we always innovate and help our clients adapt, evolve and thrive in an increasingly complex world.