This month, Elitsa Konstantinova, Director Strategic Services explores the ongoing discussions surrounding AI, and what it means for our future.

The (m)adtech landscape has faced numerous challenges in its lifetime, many of which have created uproars of concern. And these concerns often lie within the rise of technology. The paradox of technology advancements is that despite the incredible opportunities it brings, it equally takes away from another arena. I remember when I first started out in my career, the rise of technology advancements within ‘programmatic’ and ‘Open RTB’ was hitting headlines proclaiming ‘Man vs Machine’, or ‘The Robots Are Taking Over’. Skip forward to now, we’re witnessing a similar reaction to the rise of generated AI.

When ChatGPT was first introduced last November, there was a real sense of excitement and amazement – how on earth does it do that?! Even with some factual errors here and there, the hype surrounding conversational AI and chatbots became huge. But, with every new tool that breaks the mould, comes a real feeling of fear. What does this mean for me? What will my job look like in the near future? Am I going to be replaced by technology?

Like many, I began to ponder these questions myself. As a consultant within the marketing technology landscape, I did stop and think, ‘will AI change my role as I know it?’ Or worse, ‘will it surpass me in the future and consult better than I ever could?’

AI is nothing new. We have seen an abundance of technology advancements and innovations take place since the dawn of programmatic. Machine Learning, for example, has gone from strength to strength to help manage consumer data and orchestrate customer journeys; Data management platforms have evolved to customer data platforms as privacy and compliance became evermore important; And, marketing automation platforms continue to evolve and mature over time.

So what is it about this subcategory of AI that has ruffled our feathers?

Well, ChatGPT demonstrated the ability to summarize complex topics in the matter of minutes, seconds even. It is able to deliver a digestible summary of key information, as well as engage in a conversation and react to feedback, in a way that exceeds anything we have seen before. In fact, the technology has already been used globally to create complex written content in instances where it would have taken months to compile. So much so, ChatGPT has been used by students for their coursework, creating mass concerns over the misuse of the tool.

All of this noise, concern, and chatter around the AI tool got me thinking. How good is it really? And how can it both hinder me – or – complement me, in my day-to-day role as a consultant?

Myself and some equally interested colleagues did some testing. Firstly, let’s explore the positives.

Where can I apply ChatGPT?

  • Inform ourselves with accelerated speed across a topic or a question
  • Understand the building blocks of a topic
  • Quick fact-check
  • Re-write a paragraph and provide helpful structure to classify

Did ChatGPT intelligently summarize broad and complex topics – in an easy, digestible format – whilst detailing a key message and takeaway? Absolutely, and we were impressed! There is no doubt this level of artificial intelligence is unmatched by any previous similar solutions. What’s more, the most recent update, GPT-4, seriously ups the stakes.

However, do we think it will ‘take on’ – or even worse – replace consultancy? No, of course not.

Because despite the real concerns surrounding smart tech, there’s a part of us that knows there has to be a human element in order for things to work the way they should. Consulting is so much more than automatically generated content on a given topic – it’s about the true understanding of nuance, sentiment, and emotion. It’s about building relationships and trust. It’s about being able to adapt, change directions, and be nimble. It’s about the specifics around business objectives and measurable actions.

It’s about being human.

However, it will change things, and that’s a fact. Whether we see that change in the near future, or further down the line, it is facing us and our futures. But rather than see it as a tool to be feared, I urge you to see it for what it is – a tool to aid you and enhance your role. For me, I believe it will sharpen my skills as a consultant. In some instances, it might help ease my time, speed up certain projects and automate others. And on other occasions, it might help me gain strategic input, and give me more time to apply that ever-so-important human level of logic and thinking.

My final thought.

Picture this. You could have the most intelligent self-driving car that the world has ever seen. It could be packed with smart GPS systems that remember your previous destinations personal to you. It may even play your favorite playlist and set the aircon to your ultimate temperature. But remember this – you will always need a human mind to create the direction and path to reach your destination so that any technology or AI machine can get you there with efficiency. It’s mind and machine. Not one, or the other.

So, can AI replace consultants? No. Because if it could, you weren’t really consulting in the first place.

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic! Contact me via LinkedIn: Elitsa Konstantinova