If you want to know how to get the role of AI in advertising wrong, look no further than “I, Robot.” In this 2004 movie, a detective investigating a sentient robot for murder eventually realizes that VIKI, the central AI commanding all robots, has decided that to save humanity from itself it needs to take over. Its ambition is no less than to replace us.
Artificial intelligence has had a bad reputation in movies dating back at least to Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Some movies, including “The Matrix,” “The Terminator” and “2001 A Space Odyssey,” portray AI as a malignant force that seeks to dominate humans. Others, such as “Her,” “Blade Runner” and “Transcendence,” give it an unnerving and destructive role somewhere between human and machine.
Unsurprisingly, as new generative AI tools have come online, people have marveled at their humanlike capabilities—and reacted with dread. In advertising, you might think we’d be immune to this kind of thing, but as we witnessed at Cannes Lions this year, doubts about AI are dominating conversations and obscuring a more important role that AI can play as a facilitator of creativity.
AI is, of course, nothing new in our field. We’ve been using it for years for chatbots, targeting, personalization, optimization and many other things. And we will certainly use the new generative tools to do that even more.