In an AI Future, Power belongs to Brands
For the past year, the corporate world has been breathlessly trying to apply Generative Artificial Intelligence to optimize everyday operations. Many support roles will be drastically impacted : legal work, customer support, back-end developing… will not look the same tomorrow as it did yesterday.
There is however something most companies and tech journalist are missing among the (albeit important) talks of automation : what we don’t automate will create much more value for brands than what is automated, when considering the world we are creating. Here’s the 5-step proof.
1. Infinite content…
The likes of ChatGPT (for text) and MidJourney (for images) allows us to create in minutes content that would take a human months to create. As these powerful tools gain popularity, they are expected to witness even greater adoption, driven by our natural inclination towards convenience. In essence, content is becoming a commodity (or more so, should I say). And because it is a commodity, it can be considered infinite. Homogenised.
2. …means randomized quality
Because content is unlimited, its quality will vary greatly. On the one hand, talented individuals will create stunning visuals that push the boundaries of our perception. On the other hand, there’s the risk of numerous politically motivated groups fabricating deceptive images to manipulate elections.
This is not to say that everything in between these extremes is likely to be nefarious. Instead, we will simply not know if it is. It will be impossible to know who to trust. Furthermore, we may not even know if a piece of content is AI-generated, with obvious downsides; nobody wants to be the individual unknowingly spreading misinformation across their entire company’s Slack channel.
3. Trust in the content will matter more than the content itself
In recent years, proponents of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have advocated for their implementation as a means to address the issue of trust in online transactions. Their argument holds merit: in order to trust something, it is crucial to know its origin. As the reliability of online content diminishes, the verification of its source and authenticity will become increasingly significant, surpassing its perceived quality.
4. Brands can act as “trust intermediaries”…
But, blockchain technology is complex. Brands, meanwhile, are ever-present in our lives, so much so that we barely ever question them. That’s because a great deal of effort is made to intertwine them in our lives. To inspire trust in customers. I know that any McDonald’s I go to will have a certain level of quality. If I buy an iPhone, I know that it will work well for a few years. I expect my Volvo to keep me safe on the road, and the New York Times to have done its research.
Experience plays a great part in this… but so does branding (and the expectation that poor performance from the marketing department will see heads roll). We even have an emotional attachment to some of our favourite brands, something usually reserved for humans… who’s behaviour we believe we can predict. Whom we can trust.
5. ...And will become more powerful
And so, we will soon see great brands and great marketers accumulate even more power than they have today. That’s because we will trust that it is in their interest not to deceive their customers. Not automating content will be considered a luxury we can trust. In fact, I’d wager that a few companies are considering creating journalism arms to cash out on the good-will they’ve accrued.
Meanwhile, brands that can retain that trust while leveraging AI will be ever-more powerful. In an AI Future, Power belongs to Brands.
The negative space wherein AI is not used will matter immensely in the very near future. One just hopes that world is not monetized to make it a luxury item for the rich and powerful.
Good luck out there.