Want To See The Future? Talk To ChatGPT

In a turbulent tech market littered with layoffs, diminished funding rounds and notorious bankruptcies and scandals, one sector burns red-hot: artificial intelligence. On Nov. 30, OpenAI launched a prototype of its new chatbot, ChatGPT. Within days, over a million users had experimented with it, and today, OpenAI is weighing a tender offer valuing the company at $29 billion. ChatGPT demonstrates how AI will soon revolutionize search, marketing and content creation.

OpenAI invites users to participate in a “Free Research Preview” of ChatGPT by registering an account and asking questions or feeding prompts to its chatbot. Users can then provide feedback on the quality of its answers.

ChatGPT has limited knowledge of events after 2021, and my first query, “What is the most-watched show on TV?,” elicited a low-quality answer. However, the next question, “How is Gen Z different from other generations?,” elicited a four-paragraph response providing an accurate, comprehensive overview, exploring many themes previously detailed in this column. And the third question, “How is Coca-Cola marketing its products to Gen Z?,” elicited a six-paragraph response that could easily run as a column.



The implications are staggering. For starters, these chat-based queries have the potential to upend search. When researching these columns via traditional search engine, I typically type key phrases into a text box, gets back hyperlinks to hundreds if not thousands of articles, click through  eight to 10 of them, bump into paywalls, read the best six to eight stories, and attempts to synthesize them into one column. Now, anyone can type a topic or thesis into ChatGPT and get back four to six perfectly synthesized paragraphs, all ad-free. This could disrupt the last 25 years of Internet search, and billions in ad-sales revenue.

Secondly, AI has the potential to dramatically alter and potentially decimate white-collar employment. Those concerned about “the rise of robots” typically worry about losing blue-collar manufacturing, retail and service-sector jobs. However, with effective AI, there’s even less of a need for human writers. Publishers can run AI-generated content; Hollywood can produce AI-generated movies and TV scripts (featuring virtual talent); brands can run AI-generated campaigns; and lawyers, bankers, market researchers and other professionals can be replaced by chatbots.

And lastly, AI is disrupting education. If I can use ChatGPT to crib six suitable paragraphs on Coke’s marketing strategy, students can do the same with term papers and essays. Already school districts are limiting access to ChatGPT, and teachers and professors are running student essays through counterintelligence programs to detect AI-written content. AI has the potential to improve learning accessibility, but also to increase cheating, plagiarism, and the spread of misinformation.

How might AI revolutionize brand marketing?

*Truly interactive websites: Many retailers including Amazon already use chatbots to help process orders; however, chats can go a lot further in recommending products to consumers, suggesting use cases, and even allowing consumers to experience the product or service (say, by showing a new couch in their living room).

*Custom brand content: Brands can use chatbots to generate thoughtful, custom content for consumers to, say, draft a heartfelt note to go along with their gift; write a poem or love song to their partner; or provide life lessons to their child.

*Idea generation: Finally, brands can use AI for fresh perspectives. The query, “How should Coca-Cola promote soft drinks to Black consumers?” elicited a six-paragraph response with four suitable suggestions. Marketers needing new ideas, thought-starters or insights on underserved communities and emerging audiences can find solutions at the push of a button.

2023 promises to be “the year of AI.” Brands embracing it will demonstrate a natural intelligence that never goes out of style.
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