Everyone is talking about AI at the moment and its potential implications on work and how we interact with the world around us. Phoebe Netto, founder and managing director of Pure Public Relations, believes that while the tech will have a huge impact, it won’t spell the end of the world as we know it.
Over the past year, generative AI has offered humans a glimpse into a future where AI plays a central role in how we work. While the impact of this technology cannot be understated, you would be mistaken for thinking this was the first time major technological breakthroughs have changed the way we operate in our day-to-day lives.
Cast your mind back to the 90s when Microsoft Excel burst onto the scene with this hilarious announcement video, showing for the first time how the program revolutionises the process of data manipulation, analysis and calculation. Much like Excel changed the game for number crunchers, AI is shaking up the creative realm, from marketing and journalism to PR, photography, art, and music.
While AI will undoubtedly have a negative impact on jobs, it poses a risk to some more than others. The first people on the chopping block will be those who provide mediocre or menial services that can instead be produced faster and more affordably by programs like ChatGPT. By changing our expectations and definition of value, AI will inevitably take the place of those who aren’t able to keep up.
For professionals who offer high-quality, valuable services, however, AI is more likely to become our ally – if we use it responsibly. Consider this: You’ve got a busy day ahead of you, so you use AI to sweep tedious and time-consuming tasks off your plate. It’s a bit like having a personal assistant who doesn’t need breaks, coffee, or a pay cheque. From generating ideas to editing copy, conducting thorough research, and summarising meeting transcripts, AI has the potential to help us work smarter, not harder.
It can even offer a great starting point for creatives. Perhaps you’re staring at a blank page, the cursor blinking at you while your mind remains empty. You turn to AI for some help and it offers a solid first paragraph that gets your creativity flowing. Far from making creative jobs redundant, the power of AI is harnessed best when we use it to intentionally enrich our creativity rather than substitute it.
But the power of AI doesn’t stop there. It has begun delving into the fascinating realm of deepfake technology by replicating tone of voice and speaking style. While it doesn’t replace your authentic voice, it holds the power to amplify reach and quite literally make the impossible possible.
Musicians are even joining the party posthumously. Paul McCartney recently revealed that AI is being used to clean up old demo recordings from the late John Lennon, giving fans the chance to hear one last song from the legendary artist.
And if you thought AI was only being used for entertainment, think again. The ATO has recently used AI to identify billions of dollars worth of unpaid tax debts and fraudulent claims – a feat that would have taken human employees countless hours to achieve.
Despite all these interesting, intelligent, and downright wacky examples of what AI can do, it can only do so much. AI can draft content, but it isn’t capable of the nuanced judgement one needs to decide whether an idea should see the light of day. As it stands, the human touch will always be needed to ensure AI-generated work is relevant, high-quality, and appropriate.
Context is another area where AI stumbles. It may be able to generate copy with remarkable speed and human-like creativity, but it cannot pick up on cultural sensitivities, critically consider the way a message will be received, or provide the emotional depth that makes communication innately human.
And let’s not forget the uniquely human power of strategic thinking and intuition. AI might rival humans when it comes to analysis, but it cannot replicate the strategic insight that comes from years of experience, honing your craft, or simply following your gut. Humans can take a lifetime of knowledge and information and contextualise it into something great. AI can’t understand the historical context that is needed to write an article on the devastation caused by Australian bushfires, nor does it have the emotional capability to know what language will be appropriate for such a sensitive topic. It can only take a stab in the dark.
This irreplaceable human element is at the heart of why AI will not replace talented professionals, even as it continues to change our world. All great works – whether it be thought-provoking articles, punchy press releases, your favourite book, or the songs you love to sing in the car – are intrinsically born from qualities that ChatGPT cannot replicate: human experience and emotion.
Singer-songwriter Nick Cave described the inherent limitations of AI perfectly when he said the following:
“Songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing… it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend”.
Without the ability to feel, grow, and create in the way humans do, AI will be no match for human creativity or skill. However, the integration of this technology into our world offers more than just saved time; it’s about freeing up mental resources and unleashing creativity. When AI shoulders mundane tasks, humans are given the chance to embrace what only they can do – create great work using their unique experiences, emotions, and brilliance.
So let’s embrace the way AI can work for us while acknowledging all the ways that human skill remains unmatched. Let’s allow AI to compose the framework, but leave it to humans to infuse it with soul. Let AI analyse data, but let humans apply the wisdom. Let AI generate the content, but let humans bring it to life.
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