AI or Bust

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: AI or Bust

AI has been a hot topic for quite some time but this year’s sentiment is different. Previously, AI conversations were almost always coupled with concerns and calls for government regulation. We have reached a new milestone in AI which feels like an arms race to adoption and we are seeing it in use in almost every aspect of this industry along with day-to-day life. I had the pleasure of recently attending CES along with Sara Sowsian, MiQ’s US Director of Product Partnerships. This year’s conference had a few notable themes with the largest centered around AI. While 2024 is just getting started, there has been an abundance of AI announcements including AI pocket gadgets like the Rabbit, Amazon’s use of AI to standardize sizing charts and the launch of Sora, OpenAI’s text-to-video generator.

These advancements bring a lot of excitement but as AI moves full steam ahead, there are some points we all need to consider.

How Deep are Your Pockets?
The Wall Street Journal recently cited that “Using [ChatGPT] to summarize an email is like getting a Lamborghini to deliver a pizza.”When you start to think about the cost to keep these powerful servers up and running, you better start adding more and more 0’s to the number you have in your head. As AI costs become cumbersome for the big tech, the expense will naturally be passed on to consumers. We’ll see the same concept in advertising, where the end user price tag will increase as AI is incorporated throughout the campaign workflow. AI advancements in targeting, enhanced insights, campaign optimization and creative building will require a lot of funds and resources to power. Sara Sowsian told me “We will quickly learn how much companies and advertisers are willing to pay for these efficiencies and deeper learnings” as her partner conversations become more and more AI focused. The silver lining in all of this is as AI matures, the expectation is costs will start to come down. This is a proven theory- Think back to the first VHS player (if you are even old enough to know what that is). When first introduced, a VHS player would run an average of $1,000, although I’m sure someone has one in their basement they are willing to give you for free.

The Green Conundrum
While it may feel like sustainability was put on pause in 2023 (which makes sense in economic downturns), conversations are ramping back up this year with companies, such as Amazon and Sony, pledging to net zero carbon emissions by 2040 or earlier.

So does AI fit in the green initiative? It’s hard to think so when it takes more than the average power usage of a small county to power these servers. We know AI can help in green initiatives. We see it being used in ocean restoration and agricultural projects and the continuous industry chats about ‘green AI’, but the focus is always more around green use cases instead of AI itself being green. Do green projects and business productivity outweigh the mass amounts of resources to power AI? Let’s ask ChatGPT to run a cost-benefit analysis.

Where do we go from here?
This weekend you may walk into Sephora and find the perfect shade of foundation in one go after using ColorIQ. Maybe you’re on Ebay and their shopping assistant helps you find the perfect gift for a friend. The reality is, it’s here and AI isn’t going away anytime soon. As a society, we are well more adapted to AI than we probably think. Putting back on the advertiser hat, 2024 will be the year of testing AI at much higher functions of the org. Instead of the menial calendar task, AI is going to be front and center in process.

From an agency perspective, I am excited to provide clients with deeper insights and reporting capabilities, both more holistic and granular than ever before, or maybe offer a client the possibility to launch a campaign tomorrow although creative hasn’t been built yet. The question a year from now is after testing and learning, is the output worth the input? I think so.

This article was co-written by: Oscar Rondon, Senior Vice President US Products Partnerships, MiQ & Sara Sowsian, Director of Partnerships, US Product, MiQ

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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