AI vs AI: Artificial Intelligence vs Authentic Intelligence - Event Takeaways

Ready to ride the AI wave but worried about wiping out? Fear not. We held an event, 'AI vs Ai - Artificial Intelligence vs Authentic Intelligence, how can challenger brands navigate the way forward'. Check out the key takeaways in our article below.

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Last week Southpaw hosted “AI vs AI: Artificial Intelligence vs Authentic Intelligence,” a lively and sometimes provocative panel discussion that was equal parts enlightening and fun. Expertly marshalled by Southpaw MD, Claire Lambell the panel included Southpaw’s Head of Strategy Niki Jones, and Creative Director Glenn Smith, AI Influencer agency Glo Imagine’s founder, Dom Smales, the performance artist and rapper Meduulla, and, live from the metaverse, AI Influencer,

It was buzzing with diverse voices sharing where the AI hype is heading, what we can learn from best-in-class authentic ‘human’ marketing and the advantages that artificial influence gives us. Here’s a selection of insights from the debate:

  1. Fear brings opportunity. According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, we’re about to reach ‘the trough of disillusionment with AI’, where the initial excitement will give way to failures and disappointment. But there’s a silver lining – as nervous brands instinctively hit the brakes, an opportunity opens up for braver challenger brands to go venture forth into the AI landscape, albeit with a savvy and discerning approach.

  1. Proceed with caution. Consumers are conflicted about Artificial Intelligence. They’re comfortable with AI where it’s used for admin or support tasks, but not so where it comes to the more personal such as medical advice or recruitment1. Fear and scepticism are the dominant feelings towards artificial intelligence, interestingly it’s younger people most aware that it might negatively impact mental wellbeing2.

  1. Tame the tensions. There are 3 core tensions that exist for brands to understand and navigate to ensure the AI tug-of-war is won: TRUST, AUTHENTICITY and CONNECTION.

  1. TRUST – what do we trust and how important is truth? Trust is the bedrock of human existence, but with AI, what can we really rely on? On the one hand there’s AI backed by big data and seemingly more objective and on the other hand can we even trust human-led marketing which has always had artifice baked into it? The 99p vs £1.00 burger an obvious example. Deep Fake gets a bad rap too, but it’s not all bad. Just look at this example where deepfake is used to educate and entertain, for good.

  1. AUTHENTICITY – AI's ability to generate content based on vast data sets raises questions about originality. Consumers may question whether AI-generated works are truly innovative or merely remixes of existing ideas. Can AI be truly creative? Does it have the intuition, emotions and subconscious insights to drive creativity?

  1. CONNECTION – What’s more fulfilling – availability or quality of connections? We live in perma-crisis and AI companies are solving real world problems like loneliness with AI companions, available to converse, comfort and educate round the clock, such as Moxie. And yet Pinterest Predicts the ‘Big Talk’ trend for 2024. This is all about getting vulnerable and forging deeper, real connections. It’s driven by gen z and millennials, searching for new conversation starters to help couples connect. What’s better? Going deep with meaningful exchanges or better availability?

  1. Banish the bland. Artificial Intelligence is fast-tracking us to the land of bland, or the ‘McDonaldisation of creativity’. We already live in the ‘Age of average’ but AI is accelerating us there, making differentiation harder. Brands can break free from the cookie-cutter mould by doubling down on what makes us human. That’s the secret sauce for standing out in a sea of sameness.  

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  1. Bring the human. The secret to differentiation in an AI-Marketing era, will be excelling at what AI cannot do and complementing artificial with human intelligence:

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Empathy - connecting on an emotional level, understanding people’s feelings and responding with personalised support.  

Humour – this is one of the most powerful comms tools for brands to leverage. We are yet to enjoy funny AI! Bring some levity.

Diversity – humans are neuro-diverse, nuanced of opinion and imperfect. These flaws can bring originality and beautiful mistakes. Find ways to showcase the diverse, real side of your brand and people.

Imagination - we have intuition & gut feelings, ideas & imagination and we innovate & evolve.  

Morality - we can engage in moral reasoning, weighing different perspectives and considering consequences, as a brand, ensure your intrinsic values shine through.

Vulnerability – AI ‘smooths the edges’, but rather than projecting an image of perfection, be open about your brand's journey, including struggles and failures. Authenticity and relatability can forge strong connections with consumers seeking genuine experiences.

  1. Transparency is key. Think of AI as that energetic pup you can't keep up with. Yes, it's exciting, but don't forget to keep it on a leash - and be honest and transparent about it. We're speeding towards a world where people assume everything's fake until proven real. So, if you're all about keeping it authentic, wear that badge proudly.  

  1. Make mistakes AI might be slick, but let's not forget the beauty of human balls-ups. Leave some wiggle room in your marketing for trial and error—it's where the magic happens. Embracing the messiness isn't just about growing pains; it's about birthing genuine creativity—the kind that gives you goosebumps.

  1. Feed it well. Now is the time to use artificial intelligence. Practice using it, learn the language, it’s actually quite simple. But keep your hands on the AI steering wheel. Always ensure full disclosure. Get permission from models, artists, owners of content that you have borrowed to feed the AI. And put the brakes on going too far – it’s very unlikely anyone wants the face of your brand to be an AI ambassador.  

  1. A sensorial no-no. Tools like OpenAI’s Sora can create incredible video content for brands. But what are the guard rails? Firstly, you need to find out what your consumer wants. Some people will embrace AI, others will reject it and there will be a huge area in between. Brands that need to communicate the natural sensorialness of product; taste, feel, look, such as beauty, food, fashion may struggle to use AI to convey this.

  1. Real Fake. Lastly, whatever you think about AI Influencers such as our AI panellist, if done well it can be far better to openly embrace artificial (real fake) than fall into a trap with real influencers who are not genuine in their interest towards your brand.

In the wild west of AI and authenticity, there's a whole world of possibilities waiting for those bold enough to dive in. Use these nuggets and get in touch if you want to learn more:

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