AI or artificial intelligence…this word is used quite frequently in the last months/years. More and more AI-based services pop out and offer their services to potential customers. From AI-optimized Amazon Ad-handling, over maximizing your profits to writing complete articles based on some keywords you throw into the machine, and getting good SEO copy out…great! Not quite.
Don´t get me wrong: I accept the idea of AI in general. I think AI can be very beneficial to mankind. In the medical sector, in fighting crime or to help battle the massive flood of trolls and misinformation that we are confronted with on a daily base. There are a lot of fields where AI can be very useful indeed. Even in art as DALL·E 2 showed us recently by creating “The Last Selfie on Earth” as an art experiment as long as it is declared as AI art. But there are some borders, some red lines you should take into consideration because they can backfire on the way we see and use the web.
Since I´m into photography I like the comparison between “the old” and “the new”. Today’s cameras are way more advanced than cameras 30, 40, or 50+ years ago. They have hundreds of autofocus points that can shoot 20-30 images per second and can store hundreds of images….but still, the images that impress us most are the ones taken by people decades ago and they use cameras with NO autofocus at all. They have none of those new features…but still, the quality of those images is outstanding and people pay a lot of money for a print. Why? Because they are handmade images by people who know what they are doing. They didn´t need all this tech because they used their skills to create those masterpieces… and people respected that kind of work. Today almost everyone can be a “photographer” even if they do not have a single clue about handling exposure or shutter speed, but tech has involved and people tend to not understand the difference between bad, good, and outstanding photography anymore due to the pure mass of images that are uploaded in various channels on every second, minute or hour per day. Ok, that may be harsh but the greater mass indeed does not recognize greatness anymore. Sadly. And like advanced technology made photography more “common” and accessible….AI is doing the same in regards to content creation. A digital landscape that is dominated by quantity and not quality will become a digital landscape of average dumbness…and we are heading straight into a world of search engine-optimized mass content that puts search ranks over quality content.
I see all those services that offer you to create SEO-optimized content in no time. But at what effect? We all know that Google´s algorithm values a website based on various factors. But one is “Frequently fresh new content that matches the topic of your site.”
Ok, let´s assume you are a small business and you’re doing your homework…you did some research on your product and you build your website accordingly. With a lot of passion, time, and research you set up your site and content. Now imagine you have a competitor that sells the same product. He´s maybe not that passionate about his website, but he´s not dumb and is willing to spend less time but more money on the topic, and he not only creates the basic sites but tons of “useful websites” perfectly aligned with his product by some way less time but hacking some keywords into such an AI. So no matter how much love and time you invest in your site, you will be outranked by this competitor. There s nothing you can do, as long as this “lazy competitor” doesn´t make a mistake, you will always be second because he provides more frequent fresh content. And being second place means in most cases less business means less income.
So to keep up with this competitor and not lose any more market share on the digital “battlefield” you have to start taking countermeasures and that leads you to start using the same mechanisms and tools as your competitor….and this leads you to AI and the devil’s circle is closed where AI is battling AI and the winner is the one with the “better AI” and the more frequent updated “content”. In the end, we push each other to more and more “good content” so that the message and the essence of it all get lost in the mass of produced content. Do you see where this is leading?
It´s estimated that there are around 25 billion websites active websites (source: Link) and every day around 250.000 new websites are launched globally (source: Link). These numbers don’t include new content on current pages. But let’s agree on the fact that a single human brain can consume only a tiny fraction of the content that is published every minute globally. And now we want to increase the amount of content with AI that doesn´t sleep, eats and that can produce content nonstop that is pushed into the world and gets indexed by Google, Bing & Co. Is this the future of content? Where people who are mostly not able to consume the amount of information today should consume, filter, and make good decisions once we increase the amount of information by today’s standards? Where does this end?
I mean, for the sake of good rankings and (client-) profits we are willing to put more and more content into this world but forget, that we are not even by today able to get essential messages to our customers. The answer always seems to be: If the consumer doesn´t hear my message, I have to scream louder. And AI is helping this strategy because it seems to have no limit in creating those contents/messages. The thing is the ones that should receive it don´t get it because they are already bombarded by other stuff that blocks their senses.
If there is no rethinking of this process shortly, we will not only make our job even harder as ad people. We make ourselves redundant because sooner or later those AI processes will be taken over by companies themselves. After all, quality is no checkbox anymore to tick. It´s just the “who gets the most content out of the door.” And this is a losing game: For everyone.
Happy to discuss.