AI is the Antithesis of Authenticity — But There's Hope. Here's How We Can Align Our Human Values with AI.


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Everyone’s talking about AI. There’s excitement, fear, apprehension, confusion… let’s just say a lot of mixed emotions.

The plus side is the concept of saving money and eliminating redundancies. I’ve worked with many organizations that are using ChatGPT to write their copy or create procedures for their organization. Generative AI gets smarter and more accurate over time as it learns, so surely the future is ripe with possibilities for how businesses can use this.

Something about it has felt yucky to me from the start, though.

It began with conversations I had with friends in the marketing industry about fears their livelihoods would be affected. Who wants to pay a graphic designer when you can get AI to make you a logo? Who needs a copywriter when you have ChatGPT? A lot of creatives feel uneasy, and understandably so. Are our skills so easily replaced?

Look at the recent actor’s strike or the Sarah Silverman-led lawsuit about ChatGPT. Anytime AI comes up, copyright concerns are right along with it. Today’s news was an article about fears AI could use deepfakes to influence the upcoming election. It’s clear the uncertainty surrounding how we use AI technology is everywhere. One of the biggest concerns is who’s steering the ship. With regulation low and possibility oh so high, how do we know how to use it? What is cringe-worthy (I’m looking at you people using AI-generated LinkedIn headshots), and what is acceptable?

Related: AI Is Coming For Your Jobs — Anyone Who Says Otherwise Is In Denial. Here’s How You Can Embrace AI to Avoid Being Left Behind.

I recently read that some companies are now using AI influencers on Instagram. They look 100% human and even get brand deals to promote their products, such as clothing and hair care. Again, I am talking about a robot here (have I entered the Matrix?). Something about this struck a deep chord with me. It felt deceptive and, frankly, lazy.

I am a human who values authenticity very highly. To me, AI is the antithesis of authenticity. Using ChatGPT to write content feels like having a friend do my homework. Using AI to create graphics feels like a slight to all the talented creatives I know. I struggled with my resistance though: was I like my parents who didn’t want to sign up for an email address or the internet because they thought it was just a fad?

In an effort to not make myself a technology dinosaur, I posed myself this question, and I invite you to do the same:

How can I use AI in a way that is aligned with my values?

When I ask myself questions like: would I want to read content by others created with ChatGPT? My answer is no. So, I write all my own content. How would I feel about AI creating my headshots? No, again. So I hired a photographer, putting out my photos unfiltered.

In business and in life, I value creativity, authenticity, quality and fun. When I return to this — when I root myself in the question of how to utilize technology in a way that is in line with my values — the answer becomes crystal clear.

I use AI for inspiration. Sometimes, when I am stuck on a headline or brand statement, I will ask it to find similar words or ways of saying something so I can play around with it. It’s fun for me and aligns with my value of creativity. I also love the concept of using it as a way to poke fun at our culture, like when McDonald’s Brazil asked ChatGPT to name the world’s most iconic burger and displayed the full result in outdoor ads throughout São Paulo (which led to an AI retaliation from Burger King). That was such a fun way to approach trending technology and apply it to brand marketing.

So I leave you with this: While we’re still figuring it out — which, as entrepreneurs and marketers, we are always doing in some way or another — I like to take on the role of a scientist. I observe, see what works for me, and figure out what I feel good about using and applying to my brand as the technology evolves.

Related: How to Keep Yourself Relevant in the Age of AI

I think AI has the potential to bring out the best and the worst in us. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have all the resources at your disposal, so AI has so many amazing implications. I just want to encourage us not to lose the plot: we’re still marketing to human beings — the species of complex emotions, competing priorities and, above all, heart — which is something AI can’t replicate.

The brands that win the AI game are going to be the ones that use it in line with their values; it’s a way to show how we live those out. No one would be surprised if the dollar store was using AI influencers and ChatGPT prompts. If Louis Vuitton did, that would be a much different story.

Find what works best for you, but don’t lose your values.



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