Authenticity in The Age of AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way marketers communicate and create content. As AI-generated experiences become more pervasive, it’s getting harder to tell the difference between what’s genuine and what’s automated. Brands need to focus on creating content that feels authentic and is true to their core values and beliefs.
But how can we ensure that AI-driven content is used responsibly? In this post, we’ll explore the challenges associated with being authentic in the age of AI, as well as strategies for integrating AI into content marketing teams.
What is Authenticity?
Thanks to generative AI, everyone’s struggling to define what’s authentic — even the U.S. Copyright Office. But the following generic definition of authenticity at least gives us a start.
Being “authentic” for a brand means that the brand is genuine and true to itself. It means that the brand is honest, transparent, and consistent in its values and actions. This means that the brand is true to its core mission, values, and beliefs, and it upholds those values in all of its marketing and communication efforts. Authenticity also means that the brand is connected to its customers and community in an honest and meaningful way.
What’s missing from this definition are ideas of trustworthiness and humanity. We recently surveyed our audience about AI and one thing stood out… the very people using AI don’t trust it.
So you can expect the end consumer to be wary of brands that are overly-reliant on AI-generated content.
Why Authenticity is Critical
It’s getting harder to tell what’s created by humans and what’s generated by machine. Take, for example, “my definition” of authenticity, which isn’t mine at all.
It was created by a large language model or, as Noam Chomsky refers to in a New York Times piece, “a lumbering statistical engine for pattern matching, gorging on hundreds of terabytes of data and extrapolating the most likely conversational response or most probable answer.”
You may not have known that unless I told you. But does it make a difference? There’s no doubt that, in this case, using an LLM is more effective than summarizing the definition of a 1,000 content marketers.
But where do you draw the line, if there even is one? It seems to me that it’s more like shades of gray. AI-driven content is becoming increasingly prevalent, making it difficult for consumers to tell the difference between what is genuine and what’s automated.
You’d be hard pressed to find a marketer who doesn’t believe authenticity is the cornerstone of effective content marketing. Consumers are looking for content that feels genuine and reflects the values and beliefs of the companies with which they engage. However, that doesn’t necessarily align with AI-generated output.
The Challenge of Being Authentic in the Age of AI
Even if large language models can’t pass the Turing Test, machine-generated output is good enough to pass muster, while creating some serious challenges:
- As already mentioned, it’s getting hard to distinguish between human-created and AI-generated content.
- It’s difficult for those who use AI to trust and verify its output.
- Marketers can become dependent on these models, thus less likely to express their own originality and creativity. Even with rewriting every sentence, your interactions with the models may lead you in certain directions not of your own accord.
- There’s a risk of the language models being used to spread misinformation and distort public opinion. This situation can make it even harder for those striving to be authentic.
- The potential exists for language models to be used to manipulate and exploit people’s data and personal information, such as in this recent case.
- Over-reliance on large language models may lead to a decrease in communications skills. Who knows? This aptitude may very well go the way of cursive writing.
- Audiences may be less likely to engage in meaningful dialog if they believe they’re consuming machine-generated content.
Despite these issues, or maybe because of them, ignoring the advances of AI isn’t an option. You can’t realistically choose not to use it due to it’s widespread pervasiveness.
Strategies for Responsibly Integrating AI into Content Marketing Teams
The best you can do is to think carefully of how to integrate AI into your content marketing operation in a conscientious manner.
- Research and Analyze Relevant Content Marketing Trends: Advancements in AI are happening at lightning speed — to the degree that there’s been a call for a 6-month moratorium on training AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. In this environment, it’s never been more essential to ensure your strategies are up to date and effective.
- Develop a Comprehensive AI Strategy: Creating a comprehensive AI strategy is key to successfully integrating AI into your content marketing team. You’ll need to assess your existing content, determining the types of AI-based tools that can help, and how. Then create a roadmap for implementation.
- Utilize Automation Tools: Automation tools can help streamline processes, such as content curation and creation. Used judiciously, they’ll enable you to focus on more creative tasks.
- Leverage AI-Powered Insights: AI-powered insights can help inform your content marketing decisions and provide valuable data-driven savvy. This includes using predictive analytics to identify trends and patterns, personalize customer experiences, and track customer behavior and preferences.
- Focus on Human-Centric Content Strategies: The best way to ensure effective engagement is to make humans the centerpiece of your strategy. It’s in the same vein as not creating content for the sake of ranking.
Authenticity is a critical part of content marketing, yet it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between content created by humans and that created by AI. To ensure effective engagement and build trust with customers, brands must focus on human-centric content strategies. Create an in-depth plan for implementing Artificial Intelligence initiatives. Then you can consider integrating AI tools authentically into your content marketing team.
Use AI Responsibly
AI can positively impact content teams when used conscientiously. If you’re concerned about the caliber of your content, but don’t know where to start, MarketMuse’s AI-powered platform can objectively evaluate your content quality. Try MarketMuse today.