ChatGPT Is an Efficiency Tool, Not a Replacement for Human Brains

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Creative, Industry Trends

  • Date:

    March 10, 2023

ChatGPT Is an Efficiency Tool, Not a Replacement for Human Brains

Content Marketing Creative Industry Trends

Technology powered by artificial intelligence has enhanced our lives for years, so let’s not panic over the arrival of ChatGPT.

Technology powered by artificial intelligence has made our lives more efficient and comfortable over the past several years. Regardless of your marketing discipline, AI bots such as ChatGPT can be tools we use to work smarter and focus on the things our human brains excel at.

Overwhelmed by all of the headlines and industry chatter about AI used for marketing? Take a deep breath, step back and consider four things:

1. AI has already quietly entered our homes and lives.

Whether it’s the smartphone in your pocket, the thermostat in your home or the voice assistant keeping your grocery list up to date, artificial intelligence makes it seem as if inanimate appliances “get us.”

Think of all the ways AI-powered home technology operates in the background of our lives:

  • The thermostat “knows” our preferred comfort zone and adjusts accordingly when we’re at home.

  • Netflix recommends movies and TV shows based on past viewing.

  • Photo apps organize our photos into galleries for pets, friends and travel.

  • Refrigerators track inventory and suggest meal plans.

  • iPhones learn our routines and remind us to set alarms.

Philosophers, physicists and other thinkers can’t even agree on the nature of human consciousness. So, it’s not surprising that ChatGPT, which responds conversationally to queries, has people freaking out about robot sentience.

So, when it comes to marketing, let’s take a moment and understand the here and now: ChatGPT and other AI bots are tools we can use to gain efficiency. But they are not replacements for human thought that connects information with experience, emotion, empathy and cultural awareness.

2. ChatGPT hasn't killed writing, but it can help writers save time.

OpenAI designed ChatGPT, a natural language processing tool, to interact conversationally with users who submit written prompts. It was trained on text drawn from the internet — books, articles, scientific journals, Wikipedia, etc. — up to 2021. By training on a wide variety of text sources and using deep learning, ChatGPT can predict the next word in a sentence to conversationally respond to written prompts.

We’ve all used predictive text while texting on a smartphone, composing an email in Gmail and/or using Grammarly to proof our work. ChatGPT can compose blogs, emails, metadata, subject lines, ad copy and more, but its output is lackluster and feels like, as many people have noted, a basic elementary school essay.

It can string together words, but it lacks the experiences, emotions, empathy and intuition that coalesce into quality writing.

People have an inherent sense of authenticity when they consume content, whether it’s a blog post on a brand content site, a news article or a movie. A recent Ipsos survey found that nearly 70% of U.S. adults preferred human-created content for news and photojournalism and just over 60% felt the same about marketing content and movies for streaming or theatrical release.

Wray Ward recently produced a television spot for VELUX skylights that tapped into two things:

  1. Research insights about having the early buy-in of a household’s male partner, resulting in a quicker purchase decision and male partners skewing higher on sustainability consciousness

  2. The personal experience of dads’ frustration at repeatedly having to turn off lights left on by their family

Group Creative Director James Ward drew on his own experience as a dad and layered in our culture’s current obsession with dad jokes to create a funny, authentic and relatable spot that’s currently airing on HGTV. Watch the VELUX television spot here.

While it must have had access to dad jokes in its training data set, ChatGPT couldn’t draw on the angst dads feel at having their authority thwarted when prompted to “write a script for a 30-second TV ad featuring a man, who is also a dad. He is frustrated about having to constantly turn off the lights his family leaves on. When he gets skylights installed, he is happy about not having to spend so much time turning off lights.” Follow-up prompts asking for humor, specifically dad-joke humor, resulted in a script that felt flat and contrived (not to mention, it could use a proofreader).

When James conceived the creative concept and transformed it into a script, he lived in dorky dad mode, that intangible mix of personal experience, cultural awareness and a writer’s sense of timing that no machine can replicate.

AI bots can help develop time-saving first-draft content.

What AI bots such as ChatGPT can do is help writers save time by composing first drafts that content writers and copywriters can edit. For bulk content needs where the deliverable includes multiple versions, getting started is often the hardest step.

An AI bot’s ability to quickly spit out options could help save time and allow the writer to focus on editing to infuse humanity and the brand’s voice into the copy. Such tasks include:

  • First drafts of subject lines, preheaders and metadata

  • Content outlines for longer pieces, such as case studies, white papers and high-value blog posts

  • Variations on copy for dynamic ads

A solid prompt is the key to getting an AI bot to elicit a good starting point from which humans can edit.

3. AI bots produce better-quality content with better prompts, but so do humans.

Parents of young children know this lesson well. There’s a funny story that my dad used to enjoy telling at the dinner table during holiday family gatherings. It goes like this: When I was about 2 years old, seated in my highchair during a family gathering at my grandmother’s house, I was making a mess while eating, as toddlers will do. My dad, seeing the mess, said, “Dana, lean over!” So I did. To the side. And the whole table erupted in laughter. I followed his command in the literal sense. Had he said, “Dana, lean over your plate,” my developing brain would have processed his command correctly.

Like a child still learning about the world, ChatGPT can’t infer meaning or tone. It takes prompts literally.

To work with AI bots effectively, we must improve our prompting skills. During a recent Content Marketing Institute webinar, “ChatGPT vs. Content Marketing,” one of the presenters lent so much credence to this idea that he said he wanted to get T-shirts with “Prompters” printed on them.

To illustrate this point, the webinar organizers wrote the content they needed for the webinar: promotional emails, social media posts, a presentation outline and follow-up emails. Then they provided a basic summary of the webinar and prompted ChatGPT to create each type of content. The audience did blind, side-by-side comparisons of each and voted on which one they preferred. The voting results were tight, with ChatGPT winning about half the time.

The lesson?

Quality prompting produces quality results. If AI bots are tools we hope to use well, we must hone our prompting skills.

4. AI bots can’t match human experts who combine experience and technical knowledge.

People had a good laugh when Google’s AI bot, Bard, provided incorrect information during its first public demonstration. ChatGPT responses have included mistakes and even fabrications. CNET and Bankrate paused their AI-generated articles after they were found to be riddled with errors.

Just like people, the bots are fallible. There’s a lot of garbage online, and the data sets AI bots train on are drawn from the internet. That means human experts still matter and checking sources must remain a key component of researching a topic.

No chatbot will replace the technical experts who have deep industry and professional knowledge. People such as architects working a brand’s technical service line to troubleshoot a tricky build, engineers who can get to the bottom of a product failure or industry experts who know the quirks of the work site remain invaluable to marketing teams.

Without these human subject matter experts, we can’t become the product and industry authorities we need to be to serve our brands with the authenticity required to connect with their audiences on a personal level.

People connect the dots between facts, figures, experience, empathy and emotion. In the creative industry, that’s what matters most. In other words, humans bring creativity to the creative industry. AI bots can be a tool to boost our industriousness.

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