• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

In AI we trust… or not?

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As a marketing and communication professional, I’ve closely watched AI and its disruptive potential, especially in our field.

What I didn’t anticipate though is how deep and quickly it would envelop us….(because it haff choke…. dear professional won ti get wa lass lass…)

I didn’t expect how quickly and profoundly it would impact our work. It’s everywhere now, and we’re all feeling the pressure.

From brainstorming to execution, every part of our job has been transformed. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between human-created content and AI-generated content without extra help or a bit of divine insight.

A quick test before we proceed. Which of these images are AI-generated? (See the answer at the end of this article.)

(Frog A or B)

(Mount Fuji A or B)

While there have been debates about the pros and cons of AI, one thing is clear: AI is here to stay. It’s already reshaping our world, and the future will belong to those who can use it to work more efficiently and improve their output.

I’m generally okay with these changes, as long as we don’t end up with rogue robots like in that Will Smith movie, “I, Robot.”

Okay, jokes aside, how does AI affect us professionally?

The trust factor: A challenge for marketing

As I mentioned, AI has its pros and cons. To be fair, we can’t blame consumers. Beyond the scandal involving a leading language learning model (LLM), Open AI’s ChatGPT, Google’s AI innovation, Gemini, is giving inaccurate responses. How else can you explain Gemini advising people to add non-toxic glue to their meals?

AI’s a double-edged sword that cuts deep when it comes to content creation. On one hand, it allows for the rapid generation of text, articles, and even research papers—a win on the efficiency scale. However, this very speed creates a breeding ground for misinformation. Malicious actors exploit this ease of production to flood the internet with fake news, unverified information, and shallow content.

The consequence? With so much overstimulation, consumers are guarding their attention closely, and getting it means nothing without trust. Consumers are now responding to content with scepticism and will only act if they trust the brand.

AI has disrupted the traditional marketing formula of capturing attention to guarantee engagement and conversion. Now, trust is more crucial than ever.

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer highlights this challenge, noting that rapid innovation can exacerbate trust issues, leading to societal instability and political polarisation. Trust in companies, media, and government erodes as leaders prioritise attention over trust. The media is actively distrusted, and governments and NGOs barely break 50 percent in trust ratings.

The re-education factor: a challenge for professionals

There’s significant talk about AI potentially replacing jobs and causing redundancies. According to Authority Hacker, 64 percent of business owners believe AI will boost productivity, while 81.6 percent of digital marketers think content writers’ jobs are at risk because of AI. It is projected that 375 million people may need to change careers by 2030. This isn’t a message of doom, but a reminder that we professionals need to level up quickly.

Reports already indicate a slow adoption rate of AI tools, and I’m reminded of how the internet age disrupted the world, leaving behind those who failed to evolve. It’s no longer optional; it’s a matter of sink or swim, and I advocate for swimming. Be intentional about understanding how AI will change your space and position yourself for relevance.

A silver lining: Building bridges, not walls

Despite the challenges posed by AI-generated content and audience scepticism, there is hope. The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that businesses enjoy the highest level of trust (64 percent) among institutions. This is a golden opportunity to position our brands as credible and trustworthy in a landscape filled with misinformation.

This is our new clarion call, professionals! We must build bridges of trust with our audiences. Every touchpoint, piece of copy, and piece of communication should strengthen this foundation.

The future of marketing lies in responsibly harnessing AI’s potential. Smart machine learning models, AI assistants, chatbots, and marketing automation tools are powerful. As AI advances, finding the balance is crucial to ensuring technology complements, not replaces, the human element of building trust.

As I conclude, a thought lingers: “AI ti takeover” (The takeover has begun), as Olamide sings.

While non-Yoruba speakers might need a translation (provided by AI tools like ChatGPT or Gemini), the message is clear:

AI is here to stay. Let’s embrace it and use it to build a future where trust reigns supreme.

Answers- Which of these images are AI-generated?

-Frog ‘B’ is AI-Generated

-Mount Fuji ‘A’ is AI-Generated

Eyitemi is a Strategic Communication, Marketing & Communication expert. She is also a Development Communication and Project Management consultant.