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Is AI the Future?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a trending topic in every aspect of business since ChatGPT's impressive introduction in 2022. The business trades are full of articles about people losing jobs to AI, and we're all scratching our collective heads, wondering how this will play out.

While the possibilities are very exciting, it's important to remember that AI is still in its early stages. Before moving forward with any solutions, it makes sense to understand what is possible with those tools.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence refers to smart machines performing tasks that previously required human intelligence. AI "learns" based on patterns. It reviews massive databases instantly and produces results based on similarities. But it does not "learn" in the human sense. For example, ChatGPT can produce text but can't create new stories. It can only use existing content and replicate very similar versions of it.

But that doesn't mean AI isn't helpful. It's fueling machine and deep learning advancements, disrupting the tech industry. These advancements have already led to the creation of self-driving cars, super-targeted social media ads, and exceptionally intuitive Google searches.

What's the Difference Between AI and an Algorithm?

When people talk about AI, they often confuse it with algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions to perform a complex task. They are what guide a search engine's ranking process. It also decides which order a person sees posts in their social media feed.

AI is programming that improves over time by identifying patterns and adapting programming that simulates them. For example, when you order an item on Amazon, it will suggest other purchases that "people like you" have ordered in the past in the hopes that you also want to purchase them.

While they are different technologies, AI and algorithms are connected. Algorithms are the essential building blocks of AI. As eWeek says, "AI makes use of computer algorithms to impart autonomy to the data model and emulate human cognition and understanding."

AI is a Tool, Not a Solution

There's no denying that these recent advancements are exciting. Some of these new applications can make a real difference in people's lives. But when it comes to marketing tools, AI is only in the early stages.

At this point, this technology will not be able to create a campaign, build visuals, or analyze results without a significant investment of human time and effort. Yet, some AI-powered solutions are closer to being vital assets than others. Here are a few AI options you can utilize right now, and some that are not quite awesome yet.

Helpful Marketing AI

Social media ads are a great example of a successful application of AI in marketing. Every platform currently uses it to predict who should see your ads and who will engage. The technology has advanced in areas such as text analysis with natural language processing (NLP) and visual analysis.

Marketing teams can use those applications to improve the content in their ads. As CMSwire says, an AI model can be trained on hundreds of Instagram posts and their likes, comments, and shares. It can analyze the use of colors and the emotion they convey with image sentiment. NLP can be used to scan comments to extract keywords and ideas.

This means that a marketing team can use machine learning to analyze a post's text and imagery. It can compare the data to its learned patterns to predict the post's engagement. The results can provide recommendations to guide marketing teams in creating social ads.

AI That Needs More Work

Not all AI is created equal. As companies rush to include AI features in their platforms, there are some definite misses. As of September 2023, these AI tools need more work.

  • Zoom Zoom keeps businesses across time zones connected throughout the day. But if you're looking for live captions, look elsewhere. Zoom uses an algorithm to transcribe spoken words into text. The output is only just okay. You'll need to edit it substantially before you can share it with other professionals.

  • is a voice-to-text transcription software. It picks up voices in an audio feed, processes it through an algorithm, and transcribes it. But you'll have to comb through the transcription to correct mistakes and misinterpreted words. About ninety percent of it is great, and ten percent is nonsense. Just keep your fingers crossed that you remember what was said when misses the mark.

  • Hootsuite — While this is a good social media management tool, you should avoid Hootsuite’s auto-post functionality. If you try plugging in a URL, the result doesn't often match the intention. For example, we recently tried it with our "Style Guide" blog. The AI posts that Hootsuite generated were focused on the magic of language instead of the practicality of the style guide.

  • Grammarly — For the most part, Grammarly is a great editing tool. It will catch most grammatical and spelling errors. Just double-check each suggestion before accepting it. For example, Grammarly will often miss errors based on plural and singular cases. Its much-touted AI writing assistance functionality is not yet up to par.

  • CanvaCanva's suite of AI features is impressive. The platform has background remover, magic eraser tools, and an audio tool to time videos to the beat of music. But that doesn't mean it's solving big problems. Unless you're using templates, it still requires a skilled designer to create professional images and videos.

  • ShutterstockShutterstock now offers AI images. That means that if you don't find what you want in the library, you can list the elements you'd like to see together. Shutterstock will generate an image for you. However, the end result is usually pretty rough. We haven't been able to create a single usable AI image to date.

  • ChatGPT — If you provide enough context, ChatGPT can create a solid article outline or a decent first draft of a blog. But it's never quite enough to replace good writing. Everything should be double-checked for accuracy. It will often use the same words several times in a paragraph or even repeatedly within a single sentence. Because this AI is pattern-based, it won't produce fresh content.

AI Helps People but Doesn't Replace Them

There's no denying that AI is here to stay. When thinking about how AI will replace people, think about how computers made it possible to have smaller staffs. AI can replace or streamline tasks, but there is not a 1:1 replacement ratio.

We encourage you to take time to understand how AI works, which tools are helpful, and which are just riding on coattails. If you take the time to conduct thorough research, you'll find affordable AI tools that complement your team's efforts and help your marketing efforts soar.

Want to learn more about technology? Check out these articles.


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