Critical Mass’ VP of Technology, Ricky Bacon recently published an article on the Drum titled: “Let’s Address the AI Elephant in the Room.  You’d Never Hire Someone this Mid”.

And I think Ricky is right.

AI has been all the rage. And it does have its value, but its value is limited.

Eventually you’ll need talent and the tools to truly stand out.

As Ricky points out: “At a hand-wavy level, both Transformer models (like ChatGPT) and Diffusion models (like Midjourney) are statistical models that predict the next most likely token. For GPTs, which means words. For Diffusers, that means pixels.”

He goes on to say: “If you’ve worked with these models in their various shapes for a while, you’ll start to notice a sea of sameness. The text generated feels flat. The images are striking at first, but eventually, the novelty wears off.

He suggests that the machines are making average things: because that’s what they are designed to do. They aren’t witty, they aren’t funny, and they aren’t insightful. They are algorithms that spit out the next-most-likely-thing based on the data and settings you use.

And the “intelligence” in artificial intelligence is a bit of a misnomer because you would never hire someone this mid-level.

We all have to remember that having AI or using AI doesn’t make you special. Doing something creative, or soulful, or humane, or useful with it makes you special.

AI can do great things…like it has helped Rembrand, the world’s leading platform for enhanced in-scene advertising.

It can speed up processes and help create foundational content faster than any human or group of humans can do.

But when we stop to take a breath, we can gather our thoughts to ask some very real questions:

  • If the new baseline is what a Diffuser or an LLM can spit out with zero effort, where’s the new creative bar? (Hint: much higher)
  • If we have a higher level of mediocre output that we can reach in a matter of seconds, are you going to settle for it? Before you answer, consider this other question: have you ever settled for mediocre before and gotten away with it for very long? (Hint: you’d better not have, and you’d better not now)
  • Are you going to replace the majority of your teams with AI or hire marketing agencies who are doing that? (Go for it–but only if you want the same kind of work anyone with commonly available AI tools can do)

AI is best used, generally, when it removes pain points and creates new opportunities for things that weren’t possible before.

Don’t fire your internal team or your agency, because if you do and rely on the output of AI to move your ideas and business ahead, you’ll likely look like everyone else and lack the meaningful point of difference that can make a difference for your brand.

So next time you’re reviewing agencies to bring one on board, just be a bit critical of what you’re hearing and how agencies talk the AI game.

If you need help sorting out what is real from what is hype, we at RSW/AgencySearch are more than happy to help in that search.