By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

March 27, 2023 | 7 min read

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It’s poised to deeply disrupt every industry – but how can brands benefit from efficiency gains while balancing the ethical pains of powerful AI technology with superhuman abilities?

Cracking the code: how conversational AI is hacking human behavior

Cracking the code: how conversational AI is hacking human behavior

“The ethical question for brands is: do you want to be the Apple of the future with regard to artificial intelligence (AI) or do you want to be the Facebook of the future with regard to data? There are strategies that will win and some that will not, as public awareness of privacy increases” – Sören Stamer, the chief executive and co-founder of CoreMedia, believes we’ve reached a pivotal moment for human mankind.

AI developments are accelerating at speed, opening up fascinating potential for marketers to reduce complexity and increase relevance. But he warns: “the more powerful AI gets, the more dangerous it gets” and “brands must take an ethical stand to ensure responsibility and accountability for the use of AI.”

Stamer was responding to questions posed by AI itself in a session titled ‘AI Asks’ to kick off The Drum’s Deep Dive on AI to Web3: the tech takeover. Rather than seeking answers, we turned the tables on ChatGPT to come up with the top questions marketers want to know about the potential and future of AI – and then invited Stamer to give his expert take on the challenges and opportunities. Watch the full interview ‘AI Asks: efficiency gains or ethical pains?’ at the top of the page.

Fascinating or frightening?

Despite the fascinating opportunities AI brings, there’s a frightening aspect too. The biggest caution for brands, Stamer notes, is the ethical considerations around AI: “It’s a very open field and even the founders and builders of these technologies don’t know exactly how they work and exactly what could happen. And the more powerful it gets, the more dangerous it gets [at risk of] doing something that you don’t want, unintentionally, because it’s a side effect per se of an emergent property.”

Brand value is the biggest part of many businesses – but if AI does something (that even the creators haven’t anticipated) that can break the brand, it can have a detrimental effect. “For marketers to give control up to a computer program that they don’t know how it works can be dangerous,” he says.

Brands must consider how they own responsibility for what they are doing with AI and be transparent about how it is being used to empower their marketing efforts. “There are some ethical questions like understanding the impact of what we do here and who’s responsible for that,” says Stamer. “Brands have to take a stand to strong ethical standards and say we commit to first being transparent and taking accountability for the things we do.”

He also urges brands to have a very deep conversation around fighting biases: “For the time being, what works well is to have AI plus humans. AI should be more like a co-pilot for brands, but humans should be in the driver’s seat. Humans have empathy, we have the ability to judge, we are the people who can make a choice, own that and be held accountable.”

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A new kind of interaction

The fascinating part, however, is the efficiency gains that AI can propel in driving better customer experiences through data, insights, targeting, personalization and optimization. Not only can it help to solve complex tasks by helping marketers to “derive the next best action” but it’s opening up greater possibilities to create a “new kind of interaction.”

“Fortunately, or unfortunately, AI will be deeply disruptive, but it is driving so much change,” says Stamer. “Deeper insights, better results, better targeting, ideally a better customer experience where the customers feel more delighted and less annoyed (or spammed) – and everything happens faster.

“It helps us understand the customers better, find the right audiences, find the message that resonates with them but also can help optimize ad spend and the like. It’s this deeper understanding that helps us to then spend our ad dollars more effectively.”

“Take the time to experiment and play around with these things to try some crazy stuff. That’s the best advice,” he says. “It’s unthinkable not to use AI [in the same way] as you would choose not to use email, or a smartphone, or Google. Maybe it’s possible but it’s not successful. In a few years’ time, I think every one of us will use AI daily, as potentially the most important tool we work with.”

Watch the video above to hear from Stamer as he explores the exciting potential for marketers in enhancing creativity and efficiency through AI, and more.

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