Not long ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was viewed as an intriguing field with specialized applications, often being a futuristic abstraction. That’s not so anymore, thanks in large part to ChatGPT, which led the way in bringing the tangible reality of AI into mainstream attention.
Now AI has become a ubiquitous buzzword in the marketing and agency landscape. Companies of all sizes are responding to AI at varying levels of adoption. Some are bold pioneers, while others are still grappling with what this new technological era will mean for them.
Why We Are Embracing AI
At Signal, it’s our belief that AI represents more than just a trend – it’s destined to be a core component of modern businesses. While it may not completely overhaul existing practices, it undeniably offers advantages customers are seeking.
In its various forms, AI aims to replicate the human abilities of perception, reasoning, learning, problem-solving, and even creativity. The benefits are evident, with AI demonstrating remarkable speed, precision, availability, accuracy, personalization, and cost-effectiveness in comparison to traditional methods.
Granted, there are certain limitations and controversies surrounding AI in its present state, as we will address below. But we believe these issues can be overcome and AI will emerge as a wildly transformative positive force in the coming years. While not all industries will be equally affected, service companies like Signal are poised for substantial change.
“Fully two-thirds of US jobs could be partially automated through AI, and up to one in four current work tasks could be completely automated by AI in the US and Europe.”
— Goldman Sachs
This shift towards AI is not exclusive to a single industry or region. It’s a global phenomenon affecting businesses across the board. In the US in particular, reports like the one below highlight this trend.
A New Age for Signal
We believe AI aligns perfectly with our company’s mission and our mindset. As modern tools have evolved over our 30+ years, we have always strived to combine creativity with technology to effectively communicate messages. Since 2020 we have called this Creative Intelligence.
AI heralds a new era in technology, one we are keen to embrace. Just as we adapted to the digital age in the early ’90s with the shift to desktop publishing and design production on computers, we must now embrace the next transition that AI represents.
The integration of AI technologies presents many exciting opportunities, just to name a few:
- Creating deliverables more quickly than ever – AI helps our creative teams become more efficient in handling production tasks and deliver projects more swiftly, thereby boosting our overall productivity.
- Hyper-personalization in digital advertising – where ads can be dynamically tailored to individual viewers based on various variables.
- Predictive analytics – AI revolutionizes analytics by processing vast amounts of data efficiently, enabling insights that were previously challenging to obtain.
“The future belongs to those who are ready to embrace the AI wave. Remember, AI may not take away your job, but could be something that can help you do it more effectively.”
—Anant Agarwal, founder of online education provider edX
Disruption Creates New Opportunities
In our opinion and in our business, AI is not here to take jobs away; it stands to make them more productive. AI should be seen as a handy assistant, offering creative professionals new capabilities, rather than being a threat to human expertise.
We are seeing the emergence of new roles such as “prompt engineers,” individuals who craft the right inputs to achieve desired AI outputs. As AI continues to advance, more new job titles and skill sets will undoubtedly emerge, creating opportunities for professionals to enhance their capabilities.
Agency staff who embrace AI as a valuable tool and continuously adapt to the evolving technological landscape will likely thrive in the AI age. This goes for all disciplines, from marketing and creative to IT and account management. Our daily challenge for all our employees at Signal is to identify AI’s sweet spot in our daily roles and discover where AI can excel. We understand AI’s strengths and areas where automation and augmentation can enhance tasks.
We have put processes into place at Signal to collaborate and share our exploration as a collective effort to adapt quickly to AI’s capabilities, as diverse perspectives are crucial in navigating the evolving landscape.
Recognizing AI’s Limitations
Today’s generative AI technologies draw on collected data sets that may infringe on unauthorized intellectual property. This has led to an anti-AI backlash in creative circles, while giving prospective AI users pause about the risk of unintended plagiarism. These concerns are being addressed through increasing transparency around data sources and respect for copyright. In time, customized AI tools will allow companies to input their own proprietary data sets and documented sources, assuring that generated output is not only factually accurate but also legally cleared for use.
And of course, AI is not human. While it can excel in performing tasks, it lacks the qualities of trust, accountability, warmth and empathy that are essential in everyday communication and business relationships. Integrating our human qualities alongside AI capabilities can provide a holistic and personalized service in the evolving marketing landscape.
AI can recognize patterns and follow algorithms emulate them, but it remains in the purview of creative agencies to break patterns and come up with truly innovative and creative ideas. This ability to think outside the box and generate unique concepts remains an irreplaceable human skill. Much like buying a musical instrument doesn’t make you a musician, AI systems will still require trained composers and conductors to play a harmonious symphony.
Our staff continues to use new AI tools regularly, making them a part of our routine, just like using search engines and GPS. This approach helps build comfort and familiarity with AI for various tasks, including writing, research, and automation. With responsible use, there need not be inherent guilt or stigma in using AI to streamline tasks or automate processes. Apprehension that an agency is cheating their clients by using AI will be replaced by the notion that it’s cheating not to use AI.
We encourage everyone to embrace AI as a powerful tool, emphasizing that it doesn’t mean taking shortcuts but rather staying updated with technological advancements. Incorporating AI processes into daily workflows, embracing innovation and creativity, and taking the initiative to use these tools effectively to stay competitive in the evolving landscape of design and technology has been and continues to be Signal’s vision and mindset.