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I Spy With My Eye: The Overuse of AI

By Sameeksha Dandriyal on June 3, 2024

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An illustration of a computer chip with the letters AI in the middle in white.

It was the year 2019. I was working as an editor, moderating content for a tech-giant cum international media house. After CMS software and analytics tool, It was my first foray into integrating artificial intelligence with my work. In 2020, more than 70 per cent of the work was automated; today, my division no longer exists. This isn’t the regular “artificial intelligence will take your job” story. We know we all have read enough to understand how that game will play in the next three years. This is a story of how seamless AI is making our job. How perfect. How mundane. And how so boring.

As communicators, our biggest weapon is our voice and style. It’s how we present ourselves, the very first brand identity we build before the mechanics come into play.

The way we write and recite a press release or a report gives it a character of its own and us a distinguished style. As individuals or members of an organization/brand’s team, our character is our recognition, and with AI in play, that character is becoming very much like IKEA. It’s all structured, easy to assemble, cheaper, and all the same. It’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish one voice from the other, and that creates a problem.

We must remember that AI cannot emulate our creativity and communication skills. We must use our voices and styles to stand out and make a lasting impact. It is up to us to make the most of AI and use it to our advantage.

Remember that time you spent crafting the perfect LinkedIn post to establish your brand? The one that took hours of brainstorming and meticulous word choice? Now, imagine scrolling through a feed flooded with generic, AI-generated content – all fighting for that coveted “Top Voice” badge. While there are great insights to be found, there are answers with no real value, copied from no real experience and a lousy prompt. While the fatigue of spotting AI answers is real, it dilutes the actual insights from experts that matter.

The cost of over-reliance and the art of balance

The problem? AI can’t replicate human creativity and the power of a distinct voice. Take those recruiter messages, for instance. Remember when they felt like actual conversations, not robotic form letters churned out by an algorithm? It’s the same story with client briefs and deliverables. AI might streamline the process, but where’s the room for genuine connection, the spark that ignites a meaningful professional relationship?

The problem became painfully real when a client tasked me with creating an investor pitch deck. Excited, I began brainstorming impactful visuals and a narrative that resonated with the target audience. But then came the shocker – the client had already generated “insights” using an AI tool. These generic, data-driven points lacked the human touch and storytelling crucial for captivating investors. It forced me into a frustrating dance – using AI-generated data as a cold, hard skeleton and then painstakingly weaving in the warmth of human narrative to make the pitch deck truly sing. This experience highlights the importance of striking a balance. AI can be a powerful asset for gathering data and streamlining processes, but it should never replace human creativity and critical thinking. We must become adept at identifying and checking the overuse of AI. Simple techniques like cross-referencing information and spotting the lack of nuance can help. The future of communication might be spelt with perfect grammar and efficiency, but it risks being a future devoid of character, devoid of the spark that ignites human connection. Mistakes might be less, but now the oblivion of identity and voice might emerge as a bigger threat for the brands – just like the organization I worked for in 2019, where the stories now are all the same – be it India or the U.K. They might have cracked the AI automation, but their audience engagement analytics sing a different tale. 

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