There is no doubt that generative AI is starting to change the way we work, and the hype train around chat GTP is absolutely enormous at the moment. In a lot of ways, it justifies that hype – it’s an astonishing piece of software, useful and crucially fundamentally intuitive. We’re still a long way from being able to rely on letting tools work unsupervised though. While AI’s like ChatGPT are obviously super powerful, they are not yet a replacement for traditional search methods and can’t be relied on alone for longform writing. Here's why.
Limitations in the data and fictional results
First and foremost, Chat GPT and other AI-powered search tools are limited by the data they are trained on. The algorithms that power these tools are only as accurate as the data they have been fed. While that can consist of quite staggering amounts of information, it is – importantly – not all of the information. It doesn’t “search” the web in the way a true search engine does. Its resources are limited and has a finite point – usually with an end-date somewhere mid 2021.
If the AI doesn’t have the data available to answer your question, and because it’s programmed to try to be as helpful as possible, it will often just make things up to fill in the gaps. Obviously this can risk outrageous reputational damage.
A responsible journalist might fact-check, as happened with this article about the recent controversy about Roald Dahl, but others might take it at its word, especially if they just want to get SEO-friendly content out quickly. AI’s will usually create incredibly plausible quotes and facts, and unless you know what to look for you might not spot a fake. This can be particularly damaging when companies use AI tools to auto-generate writing, as happened recently with the tech news service CNET.
We thought we’d give it a try, and asked ChatGPT to find a quote from Steve Jobs about the “power of social media for businesses”. It found one straight away:
“I think that businesses are going to be able to gain a lot of insights into how people think, what they like, what they don't like, and tailor their offerings accordingly. I think the term 'social networking' will begin to fade away, because it will be just part of how we live and work.“ - Steve Jobs
This quote from Steve Jobs highlights his belief that social media would become an integral part of how businesses operate, allowing them to better understand their customers and tailor their products and services accordingly. He also predicted that the term “social networking“ would eventually fade away, as social media becomes a more ubiquitous and essential part of our lives.
The first part of that quote is perfect for us. There’s plenty of things we might write as a business where that quote helps support the thinking behind what we do. Perfect. Except … according to Google that quote doesn’t exist. We asked it to verify the quote. Here’s the response:
I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. After conducting further research, I could not find any credible source or reference to the quote attributed to Steve Jobs about social media and businesses. It's possible that this quote was either misattributed or simply fabricated. As an AI language model, I always strive to provide accurate and reliable information, and I apologize for any confusion that my previous response may have caused.
Our main business at Buzz Radar is giving our clients accurate incites into their audience, and those clients need to know that the information we’re giving them is reliable. If we’d put this entirely fabricated Steve Jobs quote in any of our blogs or publicity we’d be opening ourselves to a huge dent in our reputation and trustworthiness. AI’s lie.
AI-powered content tools also lack the ability to understand context and nuance. While they can provide factual information up to a point, they may not be able to distinguish between different types of information or provide insights based on broader trends and patterns. For businesses trying to understand their target audiences, track market trends, and stay ahead of the competition this is a major risk.
Responsible use of Chat GPT and AI-powered tools for digital marketing
That said, there are still plenty of reasons why businesses should embrace AI-powered search tools as part of their overall digital marketing strategy, especially for automating routine tasks (for example, social media posts and content), freeing up valuable time and resources for other important activities. AI’s can analyse massive amounts of data at lightning speed, providing valuable insights into consumer behaviour, market trends, and emerging opportunities. They can also automatically personalise marketing, creating engaging and effective campaigns quickly. By analysing data on consumer preferences, behaviour, and demographics, an AI can tailor their messaging and content to specific audiences, increasing the likelihood of conversion and customer loyalty. You just have to be extremely careful and have a clear idea of what the software can and cannot do. Nothing generated by an AI should ever go live without a human who understands the subject giving it a once over.
Tools like Chat GPT are undoubtedly powerful, and they’re going to become more so. We’re only just beginning to discover the potential in AI, and it will inevitably become more reliable and usable. We’re not there yet though, and chatbots are not a replacement for traditional audience interaction or professional copywriting. Businesses that rely solely on these tools risk missing out on critical insights and opportunities, and worse damaging their reputation. That doesn’t mean they should be feared. Just used very, very carefully.