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31 March 2017

Ready to ride the AI wave?

Written by: Justin Westcott, General Manager at Edelman

Innovation, Technology

Much is being said, of late, about the technological-led demise of many white-collar professions. Accounting, lawyers, bankers and medical professionals are becoming the modern-day miners facing the creative destructive force of technology. The force behind this, as we know, is AI.

We, as communicators and creatives, should not sit idle on naive island. The impact and reach of this tsunami of algorithms, data and machine learning will not wash around us. It will, in time, break on our shores.

And you’ll be foolish to think it hasn’t already. In fact, the sea defenses have already given way and we’re standing knee deep in these strange waters.

But whilst this could sound quite dystopian, I’m an optimist. I say break down the barriers and let it flood in. Embrace, and then understand the change, and ride the wave of AI like a surfer.

I’m a believer that this isn’t about replacing intelligence, but augmenting it. A tool for greater human thinking and far superior creative output and work.

So, don’t fear for, but reappraise your job if:

  • you’re a video editor because there is an AI that can now make and edit a music video. Listening to the ad agency talk about this process at SXSW, they outlined how the AI was able to generate 200 rough cuts in minutes. So, think about how you can use these tools to get to good enough, quicker, to enable you to spend more time making good, great.
  • you’re a media buyer at a traditional digital media agency competing with Albert. Embrace the opportunity it presents to generate more creative fuel and content – enabling you to move up the value chain to higher level work.
  • you’re a writer because there is an AI that can write simple copy, news stories and press releases in minutes. Recognise that this might free you up to deepen relationships, focus on your strategic counsel, or spend time on more valuable content.
  • you’re a personal assistant working in an environment where AI’s are booking meetings and managing diaries, again think about the greater value you can now provide as a real assistant/advisor as this functional part of the job automates.

But think. And think hard about how AI will impact your role, organisation and industry.

Those that embrace the change, and accept its arrival will be best placed to ride the wave. Don’t resist, for you will be washed away.

A fan of AI. Justin.

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