EQ in the AI age: Machines will NOT take your job

The onslaught of Artificial Intelligence is not the first time the world has experienced significant shifts in employment due to new technology…

But history, being our greatest teacher, actually tells us that in the long run technology is a net creator of jobs. 

With commerce being increasingly impacted by new technology, it’s not uncommon for professionals in many fields to feel threatened. This is nothing new. Since the turn of the Industrial Revolution jobs have been “replaced” by machines. 

According to 140 years of data, technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. And as marketing AI technology grows, there will naturally be a jump in the number of AI professionals required to guide and run the machines. Gartner Research Company estimates that in the next year, these increases will far outnumber any jobs replaced. Instead of replacing jobs, technology has historically served to reshape the workforce and force the disappearance of many jobs that were largely repetitive and didn’t require the unique skills humans possess, like empathy and strategic thought. So why would the proliferation of AI and machine learning be any different? 

This is not the Industrial Revolution. This is not coal shovellers being replaced by internal combustion engines. What’s happening now is a revolution of data and information. We have more data at our fingertips than ever before, yet we will never again have as little as we do today. A sobering thought. When it comes to building valuable customer relationships, brands simply must turn to AI marketing technology to help support and enable a seamless experience that takes advantage of this data.

For those organisations and brands that don’t act now, they won’t get a look-in and could end up like the 88 per cent of Fortune 500 companies that existed in 1955 who are now gone. That’s 440 of some of the largest, most iconic and, in many cases, most powerful companies in the world that have either gone bankrupt, merged or fallen from the summits. 

As the life expectancy of companies continues to diminish, leaders must be more vigilant than ever in remaining innovative and future-proofing their businesses – and AI is no exception. So, why is it that many still can’t see past what they know and are fearful of the change? 

The fact is, to use data in a meaningful and impactful way – to deliver the type of experiences customers have come to expect – humans simply cannot keep pace anymore. But for marketers, AI technology is not here to steal our jobs – it’s here to augment them and allow us to get back to the basics of our craft – where we deliver the most value. That is the storytelling that connects and ultimately moves customers to action. Data is great, but it cannot deliver a narrative or inspire human connection. 

Machines might bring an additional layer of IQ, but we need humans to bring the EQ – and brands need both to deliver an optimal customer experience.

To be frank, digital optimisation in your business should just happen – it shouldn’t need significant human input anymore. We must save our people for creating the stories that inspire others and move them to action – leave the machines to deliver the messages and optimise for maximum efficiency. 

Artificial Intelligence may create uncertainty (as new technology and change always do), but in reality, it opens up a world of untapped opportunity that can only be discovered by thinking differently and acting immediately. Without fear. Marketing is, and always will be, about the creative output that influences an emotional connection with the customer, and that is simply not in the skill set of a machine.

There are a number of myths surrounding AI marketing technology, and these are limiting the ability of many brands to stay competitive in the new world. What we see with potential and current customers of Albert is a level of anxiety around what exactly the machine will be doing. There is a real reluctance to let go of control, driven by this fear of being replaced.

We see most of this anxiety in those whose job it is to deliver high performing digital campaigns, often with KPIs and bonuses tied to performance. And when a business brings in an AI marketing technology, all digital marketers tend to see is the machine doing it more efficiently than they ever have or ever will. 

This creates a challenge for us. There are believers who embrace the technology for the long-term sustainability of their business, but we also see the flip-side to this. We see key stakeholders almost willing for Albert to fail, undermining the execution to justify the worth of the human on the account.

And this is very dangerous for any business. Why? Because people can leave your business at any time, taking with them the knowledge and know-how they have acquired. But the machines are permanent – they never go on holidays and they are on the tools 24/7 without the threat of burn-out. What’s more, they continually teach you new things about your business because they are able to analyse millions of data points, testing different approaches and channels, all the time bringing new customers and growth. 

In the world of marketing our roles are continually changing – that’s simply a fact. And humans alone cannot keep up with the rapidly shifting platforms and algorithms that dictate the digital marketing landscape, or any technological landscape for that matter. Functions of marketing are not being made redundant – they’re simply changing, as they have always done.

And in line with this change, it’s time for business leaders to stop fearing AI and start embracing its capacity to free our greatest assets – our people – from the time consuming and repetitive tasks that swallow up time. Humans should instead spend more time focussing on the strategy, the stories and the creative that moves customers to action.