Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is coming to the workplace and it’s up to people to prepare themselves to take advantage of the up-and-coming technology rather than being overtaken by it, said Shivvy Jervis, futurist, during the first session of Promax’s Festival of Virtual Content on Wednesday.
“We need to augment human intelligence with AI rather than AI simply taking over,” Jervis said. “We have to understand how to work alongside these tools. There are a lot of people who don’t have the digital prowess to be able to do this – no wonder many people feel threatened by this. You don’t need to be able to code but you do need to be able to get under the hood of some of these technologies and learn how to work alongside them.”
Along with AI, Jervis also says that augmented reality will play an increasing role in using immersive storytelling to persuade consumers and audiences to do, to watch and to buy.
“AR is going to explode even further this year or next,” Jervis said. “I’m seeing AR used creatively by marketers for brand discovery.”
Jervis also thinks AR can be used to persuade customers and win new business, to train teams, to hire and recruit, and to boost workplace productivity.
In the workplace, AI is going to affect the ways people work and create new jobs, such as social media managers who can create content in new spaces, including 3D, AR and metaverse; coordinators who understand how to use AI tools in ways that do not breach intellectual copyright; and digital ethicists who can guide companies’ use of the new technologies.
“AI can’t distinguish what is ethical or not, so tools like this can unfortunately present people, situations and content that aren’t quite authentic,” Jervis said, including “deep fake” that have begun to pervade the internet.
People also can use AI as an ally to increase their productivity. Virtual assistants can keep track of schedules while AI can help draft documents, model spreadsheets or create visually interesting pitch decks, although human intervention is always required.
“AI can free you up from the laborious part of your role … shaving days or even weeks off of production times,” Jervis said, allowing creatives to spend more time being creative.
She also predicts that certain soft skills – such as critical thinking, digital dexterity, the ability to influence, creativity and open-mindedness – will be even more in demand as the world gets more digital.
“Soft skills are going to surge in importance as automation becomes an important part of our jobs. Software cannot motivate people, for example,” she said.
Humans look for certain things when connecting with other humans, such as empathy, authenticity and equity and AI so far is not good at replicating any of these things.
“When you are engaging in conversation with someone, your brain is constantly looking for equity and thinking, ‘what influence do I have here? Does all the decision-making power in this dynamic actually sit with the other person?’” Jervis said.
And even though technology tends to be connected to logic, human logic is not without emotion. “We do not think our way to logic, we feel our way to reason,” she said. “Emotion has a place in business.”
It’s for that reason that storytelling is so effective in marketing – “the narrative brain trumps the rational brain,” Jervis said.
As it progresses, AI will become more personalized, using machine-learning to determine a person’s preferences and cater to those. That type of technology is also useful as marketers work to deliver personalized content that will keep audiences engaged.
“Streaming services know how long people watch. Providers can know with extreme precision what one person’s tastes are. It will be possible to generate advertisements entirely created for a person’s own preferences,” she said.
That extends to interactivity – “users will soon be able to ask questions of the trailers they see, engaging with them in the same way they do with chat bots.”
While new technologies and new platforms are drastically changing the ways we work and live, humans will still remain the drivers of these new tools, Jervis said.
“We are entering a human-led digital future. Our needs are still at the core of all of these tools. We as people don’t want to be the afterthought and we won’t be as long as we take charge of our own futures.”
To watch Jervis’ entire presentation, head to Promax’s Content Library.
Promax’s Festival of Virtual Content offers one hour of new content each Wednesday through November 1. Register here for free to join each week to learn something while connecting with your peers in the live chat.
On September 13, Promax is presenting “Cracking the Code of Gen Z Marketing” with Fabienne Fourquet, founder of Spain’s youth influencer platform 2btube; “How Web3 and Blockchain Will Change Marketing Forever” with Landy Slattery, creative director at All 4 at 4Creative; and “Creatives on Creativity” with Steve Brouwers, creative director at Brandlove.