‘Based on Your History… ‘ or Why I Don’t Fear the Robot Revolution
AI doesn’t know everything — it barely knows anything
I live in two worlds. During the day I spend my time trying to help companies make more money through copywriting. I consume a lot of media about marketing. I’m fascinated by this intersection of persuasion, psychology, and commerce. Lately, all I have been reading about is how AI is taking over marketing.
A.I. is Coming for Marketers
The only way to survive the A.I. takeover of marketing is to act more human
At night I spend my time writing what I call “Weirdo Poetry”. It’s poetry and flash fiction prose about stuff like werewolves, zombies, murder, and mayhem. Lately, I have been working on a collection of poems that recount the history of the Singularity from the vantage point of the few humans who have managed to survive outside of the AI controlled cities.
As much fun as it is writing apocalypse fiction, I’m not convinced the Singularity, the moment when the machines and algorithms we have created gain sentience, will ever really come to pass.
The Robot Revolution Isn’t Coming
I don’t fear the Robot Revolution.
Back to my day job. I search the net for a lot of strange things. I write about a lot of different topics. The ads that target me on social media, on search engines, and in my email are garbage. They are rarely for things I’m interested in. They are mostly for things I was researching for my client work.
If AI can’t tell the difference between my work searches and my personal searches, I’m not worried about it enslaving me.
Ecommerce AI is even worse
As bad as the targeted ads are on the rest of the web, the ones on ecommerce platforms are even worse. We shop a lot on Amazon. I have a dog, a wife, and four kids. My wife and I each have our own Amazon accounts. Amazon has a ton of data about my shopping proclivities.
Amazon’s algorithms have turned it into one of the most valuable companies on Earth.
But, when I buy a pair of red shoes for my daughter’s Halloween costume, I continue to see ads and suggestions for red shoes for months. MONTHS! How many pairs of shoes does Amazon imagine I need? Is it counting on my not being satisfied with the first pair? Does the algorithm know that the shoes I bought are garbage and are going to wear out with minimal use?
Every year for the past four years I have bought a new journal for the new year. I usually buy one in October or November on Amazon. However, Amazon ever shows me ads for journals until after I purchased another one. For weeks after I get my new journal, I see suggestions for journals everywhere from Amazon.
While I do think we need to be cautious about the power of AI and data-driven consumerism, until Amazon’s algorithms can figure out some basic truths about my buying needs, I’m not worried about waking up in the Matrix one day.
Bad AI in Marketing Means I Have a Future
There are a lot of talented coders, data scientists, and other professionals working on AI, machine learning, and related technologies. But, I am not worried about Ai taking my job.
We are a long way from AI being able to find the balance of logical and emotional appeal that great marketing uses to persuade people to make expensive purchases. AI may be able to get me to add a pair of socks to my order, but it can’t convince me to buy 25 pairs of red shoes in a three-month period.
The fact that the robots are nowhere near ready to take over is good news for my freedom and good news for my career. I still have a few years to make my money from copywriting until I have to transition into a being a standup Haiku artist or nomadic weirdo bard.