AI and adtech: Why Elon Musk has it all wrong

AI-elon-musk-2-original-Image by growtika from Pixabay

In the past few weeks some of the world’s leading technology and scientific brains have called for a pause in the hi-octane development of AI or artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT.

The move has caused shock waves across the world, with everyone from big brands and advertising firms to tech savvy consumers now concerned about the big pause call.

But Dan Moseley, Managing Director NA at Automated Creative, proposes that AI is a force for good in the ad tech industry and has some advice for brands on where to start…

Dan-Moseley-automated-creative
Dan Moseley, Automated Creative

At the end of March this year, an open letter, signed by loud voices including Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, called for “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least six months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”, the latest version of ChatGPT.

The letter itself is symptomatic of a rather panicky take on AI that has existed since the technology’s emergence.

It warns that AI is capable of flooding our information channels with “propaganda and untruth”, and that AI will take our jobs and ultimately seize “control of our civilisation”.

If this all sounds a little hysterical, that’s because it is.

And you have to wonder whether some of the signatories are using the subject’s bigger moral questions to hide the fact they’ve been caught off-guard, and are buying themselves a little time to work out how to apply or monetise the tech.

I could be wrong of course, but Elon has never previously seemed big on social responsibility.

To understand the concerns around AI, and simultaneously understand how brands can harness its power, we need to define it.

Artificial Intelligence and adtech: why Elon has it all wrong - 1

When asked, ChatGPT says that “AI involves creating intelligent machines that can work and behave like humans, and can learn from their experiences and improve over time”.

That’s pretty broad – and the same can be said for AI’s current applications. The technology is already in use everywhere, and can be found in self-driving cars, noise-cancelling headphones, monitoring and moderating social media channels, and fighting identity fraud for banks and credit card companies.

In other words, those looking to shut the AI stable door will find the intelligent horse has well and truly bolted.

AI and adtech

AI has also been hard at work in the ad tech industry for ages, and is no longer really a differentiator in the market.

For my money, AI isn’t a magic bullet for brands, advertisers and publishers, but is best used in speeding up processes that used to be manual; not a higher intelligence that is single-handedly crafting the future of advertising of its own volition, but one that can help skilled people be more efficient and productive – able to do more, better, faster and easier.

artificial-intelligence-Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay
Creative AI: Artificial intelligence tech could be used by adland in the creative process and to automate tasks.

So within that context, what are AI’s practical applications for the ad tech industry?

Foremost are the creative opportunities it presents, and the ability to use AI to produce mock-ups, starters on ideas for visuals and copy, backgrounds and generated art quickly and at affordable cost.

Linked to this is ensuring creative effectiveness – something we at Automated Creative do for our clients. Our platform produces effective digital ads whilst helping brands understand which elements of their creative are effective.

Elsewhere, AI will allow advertisers to create cookieless lookalike models that are entirely privacy safe. These can be extrapolated and scaled to target vast audiences, accurately and without the need for any user data.

chat-gpt-original-Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay
AI ambition: Artificial intelligence is set to change how we surf the web.

And on a macro scale, AI is probably going to fundamentally shift how people browse the web, so ad creative, formats and placements will need to deliver more efficiently than ever, given the reduced opportunity to catch a user’s attention.

Improving advertising performance

Ultimately, brands shouldn’t be scared or concerned about the issues recently raised by some of the world’s leading tech innovators, because much of what they say is rooted in hyperbole.

In practical terms, brands and advertisers should be talking to companies like Automated Creative, who have been building an infrastructure to incorporate AI into advertising for years.