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Picture: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Picture: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By now, everyone has heard how artificial intelligence (AI) will replace humans in various job roles because it can perform that role faster, more accurately and more reliably.  

ChatGPT is the latest evolution in commercial AI. A natural language-processing chatbot, programmed to sift through a vast pool of internet-based data and sources to answer questions and perform tasks, the technology and its capabilities have created intense buzz, and thrust the debate about AI and its potential impact on humanity into the mainstream.  

But where does the reality lie between a world full of AI workers and a world where AI uplifts and enhances our daily lives? As with any complex subject, the answer is often: “it depends”.  

For digital marketers, the launch of ChatGPT elicited both fear and excitement. While employees fear that AI will take over their job, agency heads are contemplating how the technology could reduce operating expenses and agency head counts. 

In reality, it’s less clear cut. While ChatGPT can perform certain functions within specific job roles, it cannot completely replace a human and probably never will.  

In fact, ChatGPT creators OpenAI say the chatbot is not meant to replace humans. Instead, it will offload mundane or repetitive tasks and enhance existing functions, allowing workers to tackle more complex, higher order problems and tasks. 

For example, if an SEO copywriter needs to write web articles, ChatGPT offers a valuable resource. The chatbot can generate highly detailed articles that include targeted keywords, headlines and meta-descriptions.   

However, because it doesn’t have access to real-time information, it can’t advise how to position the article based on the local South African context. In this instance, the task still requires human intervention to apply critical decision-making and strategic thinking to achieve the client's objectives. 

Embracing this augmented model, in which AI supports and enhances the human role rather than disintermediates it, is where agencies can unlock significant value from the technology.  

At CBR Marketing we’ve started exploring ChatGPT’s capabilities and have implemented recommendations and ideas across ad copy, presentation layouts and market research. We also increasingly leverage ChatGPT to validate ideas. For instance, I recently asked the chatbot a question we received from a client to compare my answer with the AI-derived recommendation, and they were remarkably similar. 

For context, I asked ChatGPT whether Facebook Ads are better than TikTok ads. While there are probably numerous marketers out there with a bias towards a specific platform, both the AI and my answer focused on understanding more about the problem before settling on a definitive answer specific to the client.  

I found it interesting that my education and experience in digital marketing led me to the same answer as the one ChatGPT provided. And while there is technically nothing wrong with this response, as a marketer with 14 years of experience, I know this is not the answer the client wants – the client wants their digital specialist to help them decide where to invest their marketing spend.  

It was only after combining the AI-generated insight with the advertising data and experience I have with the client that I could craft a more accurate and relevant answer that directly addressed the client's specific marketing need. 

Ultimately, I leveraged an AI-based tool to produce a more informed outcome. Someone with less experience or expertise could conceivably arrive at a completely different recommendation.  

This example essentially demonstrates that any tool, including an advanced AI platform, is only as effective as the person using it. Which is why ChatGPT will not completely replace humans. 

Dylan Balouza is head of Digital Operations at CBR Marketing.

The big take-outAgencies can unlock significant value from ChatGPT by allowing it to support and enhance the human role.

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