Artificial intelligence.

The words alone sound almost too sci-fi-ish to take seriously. We tend to eat up the concept as it’s interpreted by Hollywood — Schwarzenegger in Terminator, Will Smith in I, Robot, Pixar’s WALL-E — but what is the reaction when the cinematic wonder of AI tends to bleed over into our everyday lives? What then?

AI has been the trending topic of 2023 thus far. No matter your field, interests, or how you prefer to receive your daily dose of information, odds are you’ve been hearing some rumblings lately.

Everyday, it’s something new, and it can be hard to keep up — even when you need to do so to the benefit of your business. But it’s important that we try, because if the past few months are any indication, the barrage will likely only intensify.

More specifically, we owe it to you as a trusted digital marketing agency to evaluate, if any, the effect artificial intelligence will have on how brands interact with customers — and vice versa.

when did all of this ai chatter begin?

Believe it or not, a lot has gone down in a very short period of time. 

The craziness started only this past November with the public release of ChatGPT, a natural language processing chatbot developed by OpenAI, the Silicon Valley artificial intelligence research laboratory founded in 2015 by a group of notable entrepreneurs headlined by Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. 

Fast forward to today, and ChatGPT boasts well over 100 million users since its launch, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.

To put that number into perspective, it took TikTok roughly nine months – and Instagram nearly three years – to gain as many users as ChatGPT did in fewer than 90 days.

why is chatgpt such a big deal?

Directly correlated to the growth of ChatGPT is its unprecedented effectiveness. 

The premise is simple: Ask ChatGPT a question or give it a command, and it provides you with a response. More often than not, a very, very good response.

Need to write an essay on the economic implications of the Renaissance period? ChatGPT will formulate an outline for you.

Owner of a new LLC and need a set of brand guidelines and help with messaging? ChatGPT will give your company a full-blown identity in seconds.

A weekend project warrior? ChatGPT will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to seal your driveway, complete with a list of materials needed.

AI chatbots are nothing new, but the pride-and-joy of OpenAI – owner of the world’s fifth-most powerful supercomputer – has wowed Fortune 500 CEOs, Web developers, digital marketing aficionados, researchers, journalists, lawyers, doctors – generally, anyone who has a question or a problem to solve.

ChatGPT is able to process virtually any prompt in existence with lightning-quick speed. Additionally, the accuracy with which it produces results is staggering. 

The platform’s exhilarating debut, though, has not been without its “meh” moments.

Built upon a family of large language models (LLM), ChatGPT is trained using a process called reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF), which is both a blessing and a curse.

Undoubtedly the primary reason for ChatGPT’s rapid ascent, RLHF is unmatched among AI models in its ability to align with human intent, but it’s also directly responsible for what have easily been the platform’s most scrutinized shortcomings, including incidences of dangerous misinformation, altogether nonsensical answers, blatant racism, and downright creepiness

The latest iteration of the platform, ChatGPT-4, has since been released in an attempt to eradicate these bugs. It is reportedly 10 times more powerful than its predecessor, GPT-3.5, notably able to better understand context and determine nuance.

OpenAI has also begun monetizing the platform through its ChatGPT Plus subscription service, which provides users with uninterrupted use, even during peak hours, faster response times, and priority access to new features, all for $20 per month.

has there been any chatgpt fallout?

Yes, but the dust from ChatGPT’s arrival is starting to settle … sort of. 

In February, Microsoft, which formed a billion-dollar partnership with OpenAI in 2019, announced the integration of the chatbot platform into its Bing search engine, confirming reports that initially surfaced in early January.

When the announcement dropped, Google had already been sweating bullets for weeks over the implications of ChatGPT’s sudden emergence, not the least of which is the imminent threat it poses to Google’s decades-long dominance as the Web’s utmost provider of information upon demand.

ChatGPT operating as a lone rogue was troublesome enough, but working intimately with the chief rival? Google’s hand has been forced. Standing idly by would inevitably give way to ascenario that Google hasn’t had a reason to consider since Bing’s launch in 2009: losing market share.

Enter Google Bard, the name assigned to Google’s answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT marriage with Bing, and the first of what Google has said could be more than 20 new AI-centric projects forthcoming. Those projects have already started rolling out, with Google announcing in March that AI updates have been made to Google Docs and Gmail. 

Impressive in its own right, Bard looks identical to ChatGPT, but that’s where most of the similarities end. Whereas ChatGPT’s training data comes with a cutoff date of 2021 (OpenAI has since created a plugin to help with this), Bard is able to pull real-time data from Google Search. One (ChatGPT) is a conversational tool that thrives at assistance with specific tasks, while the other (Bard) is more suitable for quickly pooling informational sources.

Still, each AI system has drawn the same early-stage criticism for gaffes that are comical at best and, at worst, downright embarrassing.

Kinks to iron out and all, any way you slice it, the AI arms race is underway. And the biggest names are officially off the starting line.

Apple and Meta have joined the fun, both reportedly working on AI tools. And then there’s the countless other brands that have piled on thanks to the newly-released GPT-4 API, which gives developers access to OpenAI’s technology to build any application that seeks to understand and generate natural language, code, or images.

Early examples of this have been everything from AI-powered audio solutions (AudioAI, formerly RadioGPT) and language learning apps (Duolingo) to productivity tools (Slack) and familiar social media outlets (Snapchat).

The next 6-12 months should be incredibly interesting, if for no other reason that we’ll get a deeper and deeper glimpse into the true versatility of AI technology, for better or worse.

are there larger implications of ai?

This depends upon how you view artificial intelligence, specifically the role it should – or should not – play in our everyday lives.

Proponents of ChatGPT are head over heels, proclaiming the platform as the future of, well, basically everything – from the cure for boredom to writing sophisticated computer code.

Speaking of boredom, nothing cures that like receiving real-time instructions on how to remove a peanut butter sandwich from a VCR – all written in the style and tone of a verse from the King James version of the Bible. ChatGPT was able to provide this in a matter of seconds, by the way.

Opponents are more wary of the technology than downright dismissive. For them, AI so advanced has its place, primarily in the form of making previously tedious tasks a mere afterthought. But if we let it go too far, they fear that ChatGPT will overstep its virtual boundaries and unleash a wide-ranging arsenal of unintended consequences.

Some of these are likely, perhaps inevitable (e.g. college students cheating on papers). Others, however, are utterly frightening and depressing, more reminiscent of a dystopian nightmare. 

One of ChatGPT’s largest skeptics is none other than Musk, who left the board of OpenAI in 2018 over concerns about the organization’s move toward a for-profit model. 

Earlier this year, Musk, who no longer owns a stake in the company, told attendees at the World Government Summit in Dubai that AI needs to be regulated and poses “a bigger risk to society than cars or planes or medicine.”

These sentiments have since been echoed in an open letter issued by the non-profit Future of Life. More than 1,000 artificial intelligence experts, including Musk, signed the letter as a call to halt all further AI development for a period of six months to allow for the creation and implementation of safety protocols.  

Days later, Italy became the first Western country to ban all use of ChatGPT, citing privacy concerns, and vowed to investigate whether the platform fails to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards.

ChatGPT is already banned in a handful of Eastern countries, including China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

how will ai affect digital marketing?

Artificial intelligence will affect digital marketing in that it will greatly influence how marketers perform their duties. But it’s not meant to altogether supplant those marketers.

Consider the words of Samyutha Reddy, Head of Enterprise Marketing at Jasper, a generative AI platform — and OpenAI partner — that specializes in helping businesses produce content of any form, including but not limited to blog posts, product descriptions, short stories, ad copy, and social media posts:

“AI augments the human experience, but it doesn’t replace the human within that experience.”

There is a palpable fear among digital marketers that AI will render our jobs obsolete. Elsewhere on our blog, we have outlined in detail why the profession is not destined to be outsourced to a bunch of robots. Not even close.

In other words, we’re not going anywhere!

Despite the disruption caused to the overall landscape by ChatGPT, Google is still Google. Since the release of ChatGPT, users have shown no indication that they intend to use it for what they’ve entrusted to Google and Bing for more than two decades.

Together, the two are responsible for more than 9.4 billion searches per day worldwide, according to the most recent reports. When it comes to getting information that matters in the moment — breaking news, product research before a purchase, reviews on local businesses, etc. — people are not cozying up to AI.

The keys to online success prior to ChatGPT were as follows: a clean website, informative, helpful content, and high levels of website authority. Those keys now? You got it: a clean website, informative, helpful content, and high levels of website authority. 

If anything has changed, it’s that generative AI has given rise to an exciting plethora of ways in which digital marketers can leverage the technology to more efficiently execute tasks critical to client success.

What once took an hour can now be completed in 10 minutes. As of this writing, here is a list of action items for which the team at Digital Strike — from account managers to paid search strategists and content writers to SEO specialists — depends on artificial intelligence for a little assistance:

At the end of the day, tools like ChatGPT make our team smarter and more nimble, but ultimately, the quality of the final output is determined by the marketer. Clients of any digital marketing agency should expect nothing less.

Our clients certainly do, and they place a premium on the knowledge we bring to the table to assist them in reaching their marketing goals.

The breadth of this knowledge will expand with time, whether it’s due to the evolution of AI platforms or something else, but the human element should and has to remain.

No amount of artificial intelligence can completely replace that.

Ryan Faller

Learn more about Ryan Faller

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