The Art of Separating Expertise From AI

I’ve been writing this column for 24 years, every Wednesday.  I’ve been working in digital media officially since 1995.  I’ve been part of some great companies, great teams, and had great successes.  Does that make me an expert?

Anyone can sound like an expert these days.  AI levels the playing field.  I may be able to lay claim to the statements at the beginning of this piece, but I must face the fact that someone who started writing last week and may have only entered the industry last month could use an AI platform to come up with content that sounds eerily similar to mine and  position themselves as just as much of an expert as I am.

That's the problem with digital media today.  The internet is a self-publishing platform and that, coupled with AI, can allow anyone to present themselves as an expert, but expertise comes from experience.   Words are words.  Expertise is generated from actions with outcomes, and when you read the point of view that someone puts on the internet, you have to (as we used to say in college) “consider the source.” You must do a little homework to determine the true experience behind those words, and the accurate level of expertise that stems from those experiences.



I point this out because one of the key tenets of being a great marketer, or any professional for that matter, is to be able to “do” and not just talk about what needs to be done.  Today’s ad, marketing and media industry is filled with people who are too far removed from “the work” and are no longer capable of “doing” much of anything.  These people can manage, and they can strategize.  Maybe they can build relationships across the organization or industry.  You can get by with two or three of these talents, but you can be super successful if you can be all three, plus someone who can “do” work.

But how do you tell the difference between an expert and someone who is using AI tools to manufacture a story of their expertise?  This is where critical thinking comes in, coupled with a healthy skepticism.  You have to look for proof.  You ask questions.  You validate sources and prove stories you are told. 

I read a lot of articles from people across a multitude of topics, and I always do a little homework to determine the source of the information and the actual experience behind the ideas and points of view being presented. It takes a little more time, but what you end up with is a library of sources who can be believed.

Keep in mind, this is only going to get more difficult as time progresses.  AI is getting smarter, and the output of these platforms will further mimic what a human can do, but bringing critical thinking into the mix gives you the chance to stay ahead of the tools.  You can determine who the experts truly are, and we can share experiences that have impact, making us all in turn a little more of an expert.

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