29th Sept 2023
3 Min Read

Don’t believe the AI-ype

Connor Faulkner
Connor Faulkner
Digital Transformation

Your words could become ‘the most powerful productivity tool on the planet’. That’s the lofty promise Microsoft offers via Copilot. But are we past the point of scaremongering and ready to welcome AI with open arms?

Rewind 18 months – and the response to AI – fuelled by the overwhelming hype and lack of understanding on what it actually is –seemed to be split into two opposing parties: it was either the future, or a foreboding warning that the robots are taking over.

Thankfully, those two schools of thought have become a lot more nuanced. They are:

  • AI could lead to job losses: Ian Hogarth, head of the government’s AI task force said to the BBC that “protecting workers from AI will be a challenge as the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated.”
  • AI will cut out the boring stuff: “This new generation of AI will remove the drudgery of work and unleash creativity,” as Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, explains. “There's an enormous opportunity for AI-powered tools to help alleviate digital debt [how we can no longer process the inflow of data, emails, meetings and notifications we receive], build AI aptitude, and empower employees.”

Digital dominance

The wider concern right now is on how AI could be used to exploit and replace the creativity it promises to nurture. Take the Hollywood actors’ strike – led by union SAG AFTRA – and the group’s letter addressing the idea that a company could use AI to replicate a performer’s voice or likeness.

The concern isn’t around AI itself: rather how it could fundamentally change how we value creative endeavours. One feature suggests that, at best, the streaming giant wants to get ahead of the curve, knowing the pivotal role AI could play in future content creation.

But considering the role requires someone with a desire to “optimise the production of original movies and TV shows,” it could be seen as an attempt to shut out those costly actors from the creative process entirely – aside from a day’s work to capture said likeness, perhaps.

For my own sake, that terrifying idea – that AI is a creative outlet and not just an enabler – is ultimately unsustainable. Given ChatGPT’s penchant for plagiarism with extra steps, there’s a growing sentiment that anyone with an internet connection and the AI-prompting knowhow could make a passable piece of art, captivating content or enchanting music.

Come and have a go

But perhaps that’s indicative of an even wider issue. A boost in intuitive, accessible platforms – see Substack, Spotify and Medium – is fuelling a boom in grassroots creative content.

That’s fantastic. It also means that anyone – with the right tools, time, but not training – can share their vision with the world on a colossal platform; be it through the written word, an interpretive endeavour, or through one of two million podcasts. And an over-saturation of mediocre content means that excellence becomes all the more important.

After all, would you rather an audio recording of two men putting the world to rights and inviting their own cancellation, or an insightful, considered discussion that’s properly edited and invites a multitude of perspectives?

What does this mean to communicators and colleagues?

Much like having a plethora of passable podcasts makes the juicy ones harder to find, the same principle applies to your channels and messaging. When your digital platforms are littered with well-meaning content that ultimately serves no purpose, you need a little something extra to stand out.

Enter our approach to storytelling – and we’re not talking about long-form epics here; rather simple people-led stories told well. We use them because they’re memorable, we’re naturally drawn to them and, ultimately, people want stories above other forms of communication.

My takeaways

Lead with purpose

Tried and tested formats can result in complicit content; especially if said platform already has an established audience. Before putting pen to paper, ask yourself: why are you creating this content? Whatever the reason, it must be informative, engaging and authentic.

Make me care

If you don’t care, why should your audience? Your people can smell insincerity a mile away. If you’re struggling to get invested, look for a different hook: a decision made under pressure, perception-shattering data, or an insight that could tweak how colleagues view a certain topic. Whatever you do, avoid content for content’s sake.

People first

Struggling to make people care? Put them front and centre: feature rebels, disruptors and captivating people to make even the oldest news seem relevant. Remember that, while a tale of someone’s personal journey might not seem immediately relevant to your strategy, it’s a way for you to normalise experiences and put your people first – all the more important if you’re focusing on talent attraction and retention.

We’re only scratching the surface…

Want to find out more about how we can tackle AI anxiety, create compelling content and more? Get in touch.

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