Yet another sign of the apocalypse has come to fruition as ChatGPT comes online to provide content with little to no human effort whatsoever. The innovation evokes all sorts of mixed feelings as someone who writes, someone who teaches, and more importantly, someone who owns a digital marketing agency that supports multiple brands in multiple markets.
To give you some background, ChatGPT is an AI (artificial intelligence) platform that essentially produces content on demand. It’s actually a highly developed chatbot that was launched by a company called OpenAI a couple of months ago. This Pied Piper-like start-up is headquartered in San Francisco and of course, the company has a lax dress code as well as a median employee age below 34.
Regardless, OpenAI and their latest endeavor have the marketing world all abuzz with talk of enhanced search as well as “effortless” content creation to improve everything from SEO to Public Relations. It wasn’t invented as a marketing tool, but it most certainly will be used as one.
In an admittedly shameless use of Wikipedia, I found that Derek Thompson from the Atlantic identified ChatGPT as a “generative -AI eruption that may change our mind about how we work, how we think, and what human creativity really is.”
I don’t know who Derek Thompson is but he’s a mutual LinkedIn connection with my friend Park Howell who is a published author and super smart. He wanders through the forest with a walking stick and golden retriever … nothing is more validating in my opinion. If you don’t know Park Howell … you should … here’s his LinkedIn profile.
What do I need to know about ChatGPT if I’m a marketer?
I was afraid that question might come up.
Here’s my advice to you once you finish reading this brilliantly constructed piece on the subject. ChatGPT is advanced but still imperfect, and whereas I agree with my aforementioned friend of a friend, I do think that artificial intelligence is still a ways off from changing the search and content game in its current form.
That being said, it will be important for marketers to keep an eye on advancements in this space as Microsoft sees this as a means to disrupt Google’s iron-clad hold on the search space which, according to GS Statcounter, is close to 92% of all search. That search space is worth enough for Microsoft’s $14 billion dollars worth of checks to our Euro-henley-wearing friends at OpenAI.
Here’s what I recommend for anyone who’s responsible for marketing a company, and whereas this is admittedly convoluted, it’s not the first time I’ve given convoluted advice (#OlsenKids).
I’d keep apprised of developments by creating a Google Alert (see, told you it was convoluted) for OpenAI and ChatGPT. This will ensure that you get articles directly in your inbox with relevant content to what’s happening on that front. If you don’t know how to set up Google alerts, use your left hand to follow this hyperlink here.
For those of you born after 1983 (but not before) I’d go ahead and download it on your device. The best way to learn something is to get your hands on it. (Editor: deleted comment about marriage here). Granted, like marriage or driving, it’s best to take it slow. To make your life easier (and to be the resource I am), here’s another link to a youtube video that, beyond the annoying Australian accent, walks you through downloading ChatGPT and driving it in a school zone.
It won’t take long for you to grasp that ChatGPT can be used for both marketing good and academic, if not social, evil.
Candidly, the situation is so fluid and the tech so advanced that it’s impossible to grasp the change it may ultimately have on just how consumers find your business or how it may generate valuable content to better position your brand in the marketplace.
Having bravely gone where few 50-year-olds dare I would have to say that this super advanced form of content generation is downright fascinating. To put it in context it essentially writes what you ask it with a handful of exceptions. It’s free, easy to use, and essentially is artificial intelligence for the masses.
When properly used, this chat interface is like an encyclopedia that talks, or better stated, writes. You ask, it answers … everything from recipes to limericks to lengthy dissertations on the effect of combustible engines on modern society. It writes indiscernibly well meaning you really can’t tell it’s a computer which is why everyone wearing corduroys is so amped up over it.
For ReThinc, it may (key word: may) provide a content solution for clients who do things like sell cars, practice law, or remodel bathrooms. That being said, all of my test drives have resulted in bland, unoptimized content that lacks the personality that our brands deserve. So, no… it’s not going to replace our content creation efforts anytime soon.
But, as always, advancement comes at a price. Especially AI – which I’m pretty sure was the premise for the Terminator movies where Arnold Schwarzenegger kills people, comes back, saves people, and eventually ends up as the last Republican governor of California.
So look for the irresponsible masses to use this in ways that reflect man’s inability to handle advancements properly. Already, Adjunct Professors (yes, it’s capitalized) who teach sports marketing at academic powerhouses like Arizona State University are bracing for a new level of fraudulent behavior from rogue students.
The academic implications of such a tool are just a start. Other pundits worry that open access to artificial intelligence can be a pandora’s box on a lot more dangerous fronts. These include important social issues ranging from enhancing the ability for people to create malware or even perpetuating hate speech or racist manifestos.
Political types have expressed concerns regarding its effect on democracy. A notable British newspaper called for immediate government regulation to make sure this new tech doesn’t create unforeseen issues that compromise public safety.
I would have to say that after dipping my toe into the cold plunge that is AI, I do think that this advancement is a definite breakthrough – not so much with its capability, but more so with its access. Like the early terminators sent to destroy Sarah Connor, ChatGPT has limitations. It has virtually no information that’s less than a year old, which in today’s fast-moving and ever-changing world gives it a distinct disadvantage. Sometimes it misfires and provides you with information that yes, was easily created but not ready to replace the musings of a guy with 30 years of marketing experience working with two ice cubes and a finger or two of Jefferson’s Ocean.
At ReThinc, we keep at least one of our eyes on the future and this definitely will impact how we do things. All that being said, I don’t think this is the end of the world as we know it. I do think the best course of action is to let the professionals (aka Andrew) drive it to see just what it’s capable of in a world that seems to be striving for letting everyone (and everything) do the thinking for them.