Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are already in our lives whether we like it or not: Siri, Google, credit card companies, vehicles, mortgage lenders, chatbots and many more have implemented it, although often quietly. Now, we are visibly seeing it in the enterprise via CRM platforms, targeted marketing, supply chain management, HR applications and more.
The Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) is currently on strike in part because of fears about large language models replacing humans in the writing process. Indeed, many creative types have similar fears as new AI-powered graphic design, copy writing and video applications are coming online. Is this about to destroy our marketing jobs? Are we destined to become grocery store baggers in the near future?
Putting aside personal and professional fears, is there a need now for regulation and control of this technology? I mean, if we had known 20 years ago how insidious and invasive social media would become, would we have so blindly adopted it? There’s no putting that genie back into the bottle and AI is going to be no different.
We don’t know all the answers but do believe that the people who will continue to have jobs are the ones who know how to use AI in their chosen field, which is why we have been experimenting with a few applications from the point of view of marketing in the 3D printing industry.
Marketing for additive manufacturing (AM) can be an arcane environment: Highly technical; focused on engineers who want facts, not aspiration and who don’t care much about ‘brand’; and, as my family often says, “mostly boring” (Making AM ‘funny’ is no joke). Any marketer in AM who has worked with an ad agency will no doubt have stories of how the agency teams think they know what you are trying to talk about and instead come back with copy that is comparable to early days of Turing Tests, i.e. a string of words that sound about right but actually make no sense. Can AI do any better?
Let’s take a look.
ChatGPT – AI Language Generator (reviewed by Ken Feitz)
There are dozens of different AI platforms available. My use of AI is mostly with ChatGPT, although I have dabbled in other platforms. ChatGPT seems to have received all the press, but Jasper, YouChat, Sparrow, Bard (Google) and Bing AI (Microsoft) are close behind. Each comes with its own pros and cons and limits on the knowledge they have. ChatGPT can only source information up to 2021. The other AIs have similar limits.
What is ChatGPT?
Rather than have me define what ChatGPT is, I decided to let it describe itself. Here is the result:
“I am ChatGPT, an advanced language model created by OpenAI. Trained on a diverse range of text from the internet, I have extensive knowledge and the ability to engage in conversations on various topics. I can assist with answering questions, providing explanations, offering suggestions, and engaging in creative discussions. My purpose is to help users like you by leveraging the information I have learned to provide useful and insightful responses.
I was developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research laboratory. My specific version, ChatGPT, is based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. The development of GPT-3 began in 2018, and it was trained on a vast amount of internet text to learn patterns and generate human-like responses. My knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021.”
ChatGPT is fairly simple to use. You can use Facebook or Gmail as your login and, once you do, you simply ask it a question or insert a statement in the text input field. Based on what you provide, ChatGPT will generate a response. The input can be as simple as a single sentence or more complex, telling it how it should act and think. Several 3rd party companies, such as Keywords Everywhere, have specific ChatGPT prompt templates that define a category type (website content, email, script), the voice tone, and writing style.
My first use of ChatGPT shocked me. The time it took to generate a response was incredible. Being in a niche industry, I was concerned that it wouldn’t have enough information, but I was surprised to see it generate something readable and valuable.
Does it Learn?
I have not seen it learn, but you can adjust your text input and refine what is generated. For the most part, things it has generated get me to about 80% of what I need. There is still editing that needs to happen. But if a tool can cut off several hours of time writing something, it is worth using.
This is a great tool for marketing. Yes, it is a tool. I do not think this will replace marketers. Someone has to be able to create the input and direct the AI. Sometimes in our job, you get stuck saying the same thing over and over, but this can give you a new way to look at your writing. It gives you potential new angles and insight into a topic that you may not have thought about. It can also summarize information that you have already written.
But as with any tool, there are pitfalls. The biggest drawback that all AI programs currently have is copyright and plagiarism issues. You do not know where the information comes from. They do not reveal their sources. Information may or may not be correct, especially when it comes to figures.
Also, the generated copy often tends to read like a machine. It often feels cold and lacks the personality of the writer. Fortunately, there are tools to help determine if text has been AI-generated. For example, I have used ZeroGPT to help evaluate machine generated text. But the caveat with that is it is also an AI.
As with most tools, there are limitations. For ChatGPT and most other AI tools, there is a time cap for information that it can access. Most AI systems are currently ‘capped’ at obtaining information from 2021 and before. Anything after that point is not available. So, new material, processes, or standards are generally not found in AI-generated material at this point.
While AI has many advantages, it’s vital to remember that marketing still relies heavily on human creativity and strategic thought. Instead of completely replacing human involvement in the design of marketing materials, AI should be viewed as a tool to enhance efficiency and capabilities.
AI does not possess consciousness, emotions, or personal opinions and generates responses based on patterns and information present in the data is can access. As more information – human or machine generated – becomes available, the AI will continue to mature.
Lumen5 Video Maker (Reviewed by Rachael Dalton-Taggart)
Lumen5 is an AI-based video creation tool. I walked into this one with zero expectations: I mean, video is complex and requires multiple skillsets and some hefty talent, right? How could a platform hope to deliver anything usable? Well, the results were a surprise. I used the free version, which has some limitations on templates and the ability to use your own brand, but most of everything else is available. It also licenses Shutterstock images, videos, and music, so you’re safe on copyright issues.
You start in Lumen5 by uploading some copy: They suggest a blog post as an example. Then you select a template and let Lumen5 process. Surprisingly quickly it delivers an initial video for you to review and edit. Fortunately, editing enables text edits, different images, video footage uploads, and so on.
The first test was all about AM which is not the easiest topic. It found a few appropriate clips and images but did drop in a clip of a pot farm which I found amusing (but can be edited out.) In the second test, it found more AM clips and avoided farming shots. The third test was even better in terms of imagery.
Lumen5 Rewrites and Reorders Your Words
There’s times when we all need a good editor and, although Lumen5 has some good ideas, it also has some horrible ones. You have to pay close attention to what it does to the order of your statements, since it has a habit of taking a call-to-action statement and moving it from the end to the middle, (not an ideal outcome). At times, it writes completely new statements and also changes the perspective (say from first person to third). Again, this can be edited. It does learn but can be a bit stubborn (although not as stubborn as I can be.)
It is amazingly fast. The video below was created, edited, and rendered within 15 minutes after writing out a rough script. I edited the new wording, added an image, and clicked ‘Publish’ and had this shortly thereafter.
Since it takes time and experience for humans to learn about 3D printing technology, I have to say Lumen5 did exceptionally well in a very short time. It picked up on key words and matched copy to footage. What’s not clear is just how much AM footage is available in the system and so, to avoid having all your videos look the same, you will still need to collect footage and images specific to your products. But if you have a small marketing operation, Lumen5 can provide easy ways to create effective video quickly and without much cost.
For video creators, I would say that there are areas of the field that AI cannot (yet) replace – namely video interviews and case studies, live videos and so on. Make sure you have the skills and experience to be able to align to that.
I saw a job description the other day that indicated that any writing samples submitted that were generated with AI would be rejected, which got me researching if there are tools that can detect the use of AI. And, sure enough, there are numerous AI tools that can detect the likelihood of AI being in use in a document. That’s a huge relief but it doesn’t necessarily remove the risk of an AI-generated article, which might use false numbers and fake facts, getting published. That is what regulation and controls will need to address.
About the Authors
Rachael Dalton-Taggart is an industry veteran skilled in writing, marketing and promoting 3D technologies. She currently works as Principal Investigator at ASTRO America, an AM think tank and research group.
Ken Feitz is an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience in marketing for the CAD/CAM industry. He currently is the Product Marketing Manager for High QA, a leading manufacturing quality management software company.
Feature image generated with Kapwing.