Sometimes I talk about bandwagons, like a
rant post I wrote about QR codes. When it comes to the artificial intelligence (AI) bandwagon, most people fall into one of two camps. Either you jumped on enthusiastically and are on a joy ride with the wind whipping through your hair, or you’re leery of it. Those in the second group stand and watch the wagon race by. There it goes… Should I jump on? Should I stand still? If I do jump on, is that like going to the dark side? Like selling my soul? How do I take advantage of AI with integrity?
Will AI Take People’s Jobs?
When AI first came on the scene, largely with ChatGPT, so many writers and marketers started to fear for their jobs. Let’s examine that for a bit.
AI Still Needs Humans to Function
A writer and marketer I respect, Ann Handley, wrote an article about what AI means for writers. She opened with this image:
Umm… I don’t think that’s what she really said.
The point? A robot automatically added subtitles and heard “year-end budgeting” as something else entirely. (Insert middle school laughter here.) Similarly, I remember watching a broadcast where automatic subtitles kept displaying former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone as “Patsy Baloney“.
Fortunately, Ann was using the LinkedIn caption tool, which allows the user to go back and edit the captions. You should always take advantage of that. The robot/AI has done the hard work, preventing you from having to transcribe the speech, but you need to go back and make your own edits. AI still needs humans to check behind it.
How is AI Like a Cake Mix?
Throughout history, humans have come up with ways to make life easier. Basically, we’re pretty lazy. Think about cake mixes. When they showed up, they didn’t put bakers out of business. Just because you can use one to make cupcakes for your kid’s party doesn’t mean you’ll never use a professional baker again. When that same kid gets married, I have a feeling you’ll find a professional to make the cake.
A cake mix makes it easier for a regular person to perform the task at hand.
I was talking with a friend who’s an AI expert (more on that conversation in a bit), and she brought up the tool Canva. SO MANY PEOPLE use it now to make decent images for various reasons. I don’t know a single graphic designer, however, who has lost a job because of Canva. It has just allowed people, who were probably going to make their own images anyway, to create images that look a little nicer.
Canva makes it easier for a regular person to perform the task at hand.
Using AI as an Integrity Preserving Tool
AI is a tool, and tools are only as effective as those who use them.
If you go to ChatGPT and ask it to write a 400 word article on a topic, copy and paste the results into a post on your website, and click publish, do you use AI with integrity? I would argue no. What if, however, you use it to help you in the writing process, to make it a little easier and faster? Is the final product still yours? Yes.
As of August 2023, ChatGPT has over 180.5 million users, which is an 80.5% increase from when it was still pretty new in January. Do some of those users have integrity issues? Probably. But the optimist in me believes that most of them don’t.
Getting Your Feet Wet with AI
The friend I mentioned earlier, Laura Pence Atencio from Social Savvy Geek, has eagerly started using AI and can teach you to use it, too. It’s allowed her to take on more clients because she can do more with less time. I was really impressed with all she showed me. She had even taught it to sound like her, but she always goes back and makes her own changes.
If you’re like me and are not quite there yet, how do you get started using it? Well, ChatGPT has a free account and serves as a great place to start. The very first time I used it was to brainstorm ideas. Try asking it for a list of blog post ideas on a particular topic. You can then ask it to hone in on one aspect of that topic. Just chat with it, and it will answer your questions.
Another great use for AI is just to get something down on paper. If you have “blank page syndrome” and a hard time getting started, ask it to help you write an outline or introduction. Sometimes all you need is a little something on the page to kickstart your own creativity.
Try experimenting these, too:
- catchy titles or headlines
- social media posts
- email subject lines
- anything your imagination thinks of!
All of these are examples of using AI with integrity!
There Will Still Be Those Using AI Without Integrity
Will people still try to use it to cut corners? Most likely. Anyone who uses AI to write all their content instead of hiring a writer to do it will end up with dry content that sounds just like everyone else. It won’t take long for people to be able to spot AI generated content a mile away.
Additionally, there will be those who egregiously take advantage of AI, using it to create fake images and videos of others. People who have problems with integrity will always be around, and they’ll figure out how to use any available tool dishonestly. Don’t let that be you.
So dip your toe slowly into the AI waters, keep ethics in mind, and keep swimming along!