The more I use A.I., the more I appreciate that its power is not all about productivity and the amount of work that can be done, but also about its quality. I am convinced that both of these can live well, under the umbrella of how A.I. must be used: ethically, responsibly; and whether self-imposed or legally sanctioned, respecting proper guardrails. It is important to observe these tenets and ensure the broad and productive integration of A.I. into our everyday personal and business activities.
Productivity gains driven by A.I. are “blinding flashes of the obvious” to the most casual observer.
Pick a professional craft, and you will find a way for A.I. to help productivity within it. From analyzing and improving a previously developed and widely used process, to distilling a completely unheard-of approach that flips a workflow on its head; A.I. provides great ideas for us to employ, should they pass the “is it legal, ethical, and can we do that?” evaluation.
Take for example Marketing, and managing a brand’s corporate dress on its website.
A never-ending challenge of managing a corporate website is finding the images that capture and represent the essence of the company, its campaigns, and their ethos.
About ten years ago, selecting or changing a single website image would have forced a small army of marketeers to review printed and online image catalogs for days and weeks. After selecting the starter image, a digital processing team would adjust it to its then perfect resolution, size, look and feel. I wish I were joking when I say that I’ve seen a single vignette images cost a corporation over a person-week of cost. Simple math lands the back-in-the-day sunk cost for a single stock image in the neighborhood of $3,000.
Digital “stock” houses came to the scene and shook the ground, making the process of finding quality images of similar tone and feel a much easier task. Still, the images were usually worked on for days at a time until they made it to the website.
Fast forward to today, and a single sharp marketeer can generate as close to the exact image they need for a blog by using A.I. No prolonged selection or arduous composition and image adjusting processes. A prompt entered, a click-to-create, and the perfect image comes out; resolution, size, look and feel. If you must, we are in a place where in a single day a marketing team can revise, approve and post ALL website images – done!
The critical business path in this process just shifted from marketing design to executive approval. The cost savings in a year for this single activity can be north of $250K/year. Let that sink in.
Quality improvements resulting from A.I. are as amazing, yet less obvious even to the seasoned expert.
It is relatively easy to understand why in the past some corporate website’s art may as well have been released like a cave painting, once in a lifetime. Beyond dollars, cents, and productivity is the variety and quality of the work product.
A.I. plays an incredible role here as well when we consider two related vectors and their impact on the business:
· The look and feel projected to the audience.
· The response of the audience in the form of conversions.
If you know A|B testing evaluation, imagine A|B|D|C evaluations in the blink of an eye. Marketing teams with access to A.I. have the ability to not only create art variations in volume, but also have the ability to generate multiple “emotional” and style variations of a “scene” until they get the engagement sought, as validated by the intended prospects and customer’s responses. Teams now have the ability to try multiple styles that find both inspiration and generation outside of the boundaries of their team’s skill or style.
Whether the marketeers today get inspiration for work in written or visual form, or better yet “work ready product”; one thing is to generate volume efficiently and another is to variate that volume with A.I. calipers that approach emotional engagement perfection.
The qualitative impact of images generated using A.I. rivals that of the productivity benefits. Fine tuning the content and style of the images on a website can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in conversions each year for a single product or service line.
Productivity and quality are both positively impacted by A.I., and so we find ourselves with the amazing opportunities to further adopt the technology for business success, if we avoid a purely academic debate at the intersection of “A.I.” and your business or craft.
Some thoughts to discuss further using the example above:
Using A.I. should not be about cutting the workforce because “A.I. can do it”. Using A.I. should be about giving our workforce better tools to improve the productivity and quality of their work, and life. If you have ever seen a graphics designer on the 10th revision of an image for a marketing campaign, you know.
Let’s not clutch our pearls when a marketeer or an artist uses A.I. for inspiration or a place to start from. If you ever used Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica or a post card for inspiration, and you frown upon an artist using A.I. seek help. Your issue is not with A.I.
If you use A.I. in your process, say so. The more we do this, the easier is to demystify A.I.
Say that you are an architectural firm. Just because you can tell generative A.I. to create an image of a building as specified in your prompt, it doesn’t mean that you can build it. Trust me, Physics is a thing, it has been around longer than A.I., and it will win. Be mindful of what you present as fact, or ideation.
It should not require stating, but using A.I. to generate a “deep-fake” may seem funny (and honestly, it is a times), but be mindful at all times that not everyone shares the same sense of humor, and the wrong message in the digital world have real consequences in the real world. Truth in advertisement is still a thing.
I’ll say it again: Ignorance is a curse only cured by well learned facts and information. The more we actively collaborate to legislate and regulate the use of A.I. the better of we'll be.
Let’s proactively manage our business’ rules and processes to enforce the proper use of A.I. Let’s avoid ambiguity.
Let’s learn from the never-ending debates that plague other technologies. If we the business owners don’t work to regulate A.I. in practical form, we’ll only have ourselves to blame when a few choke progress of a technology with such promise for all.
Replace Marketing for Sales, Project Management, Operations, and the above holds true. Beyond the easily observable and measurable demonstrations of productivity, there is a world of qualitative ROI that is less obvious, but formidable as well.
Let’s use A.I. ethically, responsibly and within the proper guardrails and claim an address at the intersection of A.I. and your craft.
I can't wait to see what is ahead, but it’s going to be a very interesting street block for sure!