Central artificial intelligence pioneer, key developer and, until last month, Google CEO for the last decade, Geoffrey Hinton sounded the alarm bells on the technology he helped bring to life in May when he stepped down from the search giant to “focus on new concerns he now has about AI,” saying that “companies are accelerating to danger in creating products based on generative [AI].” It clearly hasn’t stopped most brands and businesses from jumping in the AI pool with both feet, but a new survey of digital marketers shows that Hinton is not alone in his newfound reservations.
That newly released survey and report from customer-led marketing platform Optimove reveals that while almost eight in ten (78 percent) of more than 200 B2C comms pros surveyed said that AI is helpful in marketing, nearly half (47 percent) said the tech was dangerous in the industry.
“Many may fear that generative AI could be dangerous in marketing. But the operative question is, ‘What task are you asking it to do?’ It is not dangerous if asked to provide information on a subject or suggest viable solutions to a problem,” said Pini Yakuel, CEO and co-founder of Optimove, in a news release. “Armed with information, the next action is still in the hands of humans. If asked to take unmonitored action, generative AI could go astray. So, humans need to monitor the actions of generative AI. Doing so is a powerful tool for marketers—not dangerous.”
The results underscore the question facing marketers: “How do we accelerate the use of AI in a responsible way?” At risk is the possibility of AI going awry.
At the forefront is, of course, ChatGPT. In their first blog about ChatGPT, OpenAI described it this way: “We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”
Admitting mistakes and rejecting inappropriate requests is a quantum leap forward for tech teams using AI
Compare this with Microsoft’s conversational bot, Tay, introduced in 2016. It was designed to engage people in dialogue while emulating the style and slang of a teenage girl. Within a day of its release, Tay tweeted more than 95,000 times, many of which were abusive and offensive.
Tay had a fundamental problem: It was designed to learn about language through interactions with people. Tay was shut down less than 24 hours after its release.
Seven years later, we are presumably smarter, and so is AI, the researchers assert. ChatGPT, as an example, is intelligent and sophisticated. Used properly, marketers can use AI to move to the new era of personalization in marketing without alienating customers.
Leading marketers are driving marketing actions guided by intelligence from the consumer
They start marketing activities from intelligence derived from a customer data platform (CDP). They use that intelligence to drive and guide marketing actions with a seamlessly integrated multichannel marketing hub (MMH).
“Marketers we partner with use AI to optimize marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, the marketer is in charge,” Yakuel added. “They build out experiences for customers, analyze data, and design experiments. Asking the right strategic questions still requires humans. But AI can save time, simplify things, or boost performance. For example, it can help determine the best communication a customer should get or provide insights by quickly analyzing vast data sets. But humans must measure, analyze, and monitor AI recommendations to ensure their marketing programs engage the customer.”
The survey also revealed that 43 percent of respondents think AI would replace some marketing team members
It is helping marketing teams with some rote actions, like writing email options. But it is still in progress with human decision-making, the report affirms.
“AI should not replace the marketer—it should enhance the marketer. AI is a technology that helps marketing productivity by suggesting and creating marketing options, so humans make better decisions. It is humans who choose what to execute,” Yakuel concluded.
Guided by humans, AI is being implemented responsibly to help marketers create deeper connections with their customers, the researchers determined.
The Optimove 2023 Survey of Digital B2C Marketers queried 221 U.S. business-to-consumer executives responsible for digital marketing in May 2023. The titles of respondents included CEOs, CMOs, heads of Marketing, and senior digital marketing officers.