Four questions from a branding practitioner to the AI tribe


There is a fundamental disconnect between the human brain and AI. While the former is a fully alive biological organ, the latter is an abstract technology. AI has algorithms, not brains.

With advertising migrating to digital platforms by leaps and bounds, there is a tectonic shift toward smart strategies that will ultimately converge with AI in some manner or the other. Within two or 3 years, almost all digital marketing plans will have AI embedded in their activation tools.

Four fundamental queries are top of the mind among branding professionals, whose satisfactory answers by the AI tribe will help me and my fraternity predict the near-term course of branding ballgame in above context.

Will AI become interchangeable with human intelligence?

AI capabilities are nascent in comparison to that of the human brain. A chemical signal passes through the synapse and becomes a nerve impulse in nano-seconds. Besides the speed and sharpness of brain reflexes, there are perception, comprehension, interpretation, and other brain functions that help us understand human (consumer) behaviour. Entire UX and UI design journeys are based on this understanding. Intelligent visual design and semantic-rich textual content are also an outcome of the brain’s efficient interpretation of target consumer’s preferences. Hinglish in Indian advertising and the Vodafone Red are prominent examples.

Will AI begin to undertake the complex responsibilities of various design and content disciplines, in near future? If yes, will ‘smart’ become interchangeable with ‘intelligent’ in this query’s context?

Will the creature become larger than the creator?

AI is human intelligence’s baby. However, this infant is growing rapidly, like an alien sci-fi character achieving overnight adulthood. It took human intelligence 200,000 years to evolve to its present stage, as hominids matured into Homo sapiens. However, AI is upon us in just two decades! Its evolution is fiery and fearful to some. In general, how long before this creature outgrows its creator? In branding context, is my career at risk from machine learning and deep&big data-leveraged artificial logic? Are robots likely to perform branding tasks in my lifetime?

Will AI begin to have EQ?

Artificial intelligence – the very term is excluding of the emotional quotient. As such, its functions are confined to the left-brain premise. However, if AI is to replicate human intelligence holistically, it ought to incorporate emoting capability and emotional intelligence in its folds. All streams of the communication profession – from acting to advertising, currently uphold their one-upmanship over AI on this count. However, story-telling formats across platforms and channels, especially those in the digital marketing arena, are driven by SEO and predictive analytics’ dictates. Intuitive stories are gradually declining.

Will AI achieve right-brain capabilities in the next ten years? Will Alexa and the army of chat bots and robots be able to emote at a scale and depth required to engage the consumer meaningfully and effectively?

Is AI good for branding and communication professions?

To wrap it up, presuming that AI will cover reasonable ground in the communication profession, is it a good development? By good, I mean not only safe but also preferable for the consumer’s good. Human greed and ambition has misused every ingenious invention until now. What happened to the atom, the natural resources, the virtual social media? What if blockchain becomes pregnable and trillions of terabytes of consumer data is stolen? Ultimately, AI is a tool, neither good nor bad. The worry that cyber cooks will invent ways to misuse technologies for unethical business practices is not out of place. A select few rogue elements will benefit, at the cost of the practitioners and the consumers. If this seems far-fetched or alarmist, let me just utter Cambridge!

From another angle, can AI equal human capabilities in terms of emotional, sentimental, psychological and other nuancing? All branding efforts have two common goals: to help the consumer make informed and better buying decisions, and to add delight to his purchasing journey. Will AI come of age in the next ten years, to shoulder this responsibility?

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About Author

Abhay N Goghari

The author is a creative strategist, ideator, copywriter, creative writer, digital and web content developer, branding practitioner, and long form copywriter. He has over 20 years of active experience, and is a lifelong learner. Above all, he is an avid storyteller.

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