In the 1970s, the ATM made its commercial debut. It was widely predicted that bank tellers would soon be out of a job. Instead, in the four decades that followed, the number of bank tellers increased 400 percent1 (the efficiency of ATMs plus other coinciding factors like deregulation meant it was easier to open more banks).
Then, another prediction followed…
The PC came along and “the paperless office” concept bloomed, stating that workplaces would do away with all those reams of 20-pound uncoated bonds. Once again, a decrease in popularity did not result, but a 400 percent increase in usage did. (What did decrease was the use of Wite-Out® and carbon paper as additional documents were now easier to just print or reprint versus type or retype).
Speaking of PCs, they were also forecasted to bring an end to newspapers. Granted, the physical manifestation of the large, thick, broadsheet newspaper has decreased in size and number,3 but digital publishing opportunities have skyrocketed, including for newspapers and their “digital editions”.
If these stats reveal anything, it’s simply that one cannot draw a direct line
from a popular assumption to an actual result.
Even if fortune-telling has some merit, there are contingency effects
that could morph the whole prediction.
For example, the same circa-1980s visionary who imagined catching up with the sports page
on his or her brand-new 15-pound laptop while “reading” in the water closet, didn’t know that, generally, people would probably not do that.
A six-ounce, hand-sized mobile device would be the medium instead.
What is the future concern?
Can we just assume that robots and apps and artificial intelligence will take our jobs?
No. Of course not.
Case in point: think of all the jobs that making those things has created!
But count on the fact that new breakthroughs in digital development will continue… and will continue to switch things around a bit. Especially with some of the latest “generative” AI creator apps, like ChatGPT (content creation) and GPT-3 (digital code creation), and DALL-E (image creation).
“Generative” means the apps generate new creative material
from stuff that was already created before.
Also, count on some surprising results.
For example, if it’s easier for content to be created now, won’t marketing agencies suddenly have a flood of competition when it comes to their thought-leadership publishing? Their blog post traffic? The consumption of their white papers?
Yep, for sure, count on a flood of additional content in the marketplace. But the result is not all bad news.
No generative machine can replace the sentient thought and opinion and originality of a skilled human writer. Or, for that matter, replace any of the leading creative minds that make an agency tick.
— Mark Twain
Writing is easy,
all you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
In fact, those content marketing strategies and content management systems, and thought leadership niches that agency owners are known for will become more important than ever. They will stand out amongst a marketplace flooded with cut-and-paste drivel.
But if there are “robotic” employees in the company whose work can’t be distinguished, it’s time to reassess that. Instead, more agency talent will need to be devoted to creative and strategic thought.
What is the present concern?
Witnessing a change in the competitive nature of content.
Creating the time to focus on it.
Consider that a bot could indeed write the topical, hashtag-liberal postings that may be a portion of a social media line-up. While the human writer handles the more enlightened postings, as well as colorful white papers that turn industry heads toward the agency. In this case, have the human writer use a bot to help with the grunt-work research portion so it goes even faster.
Or consider production tasks. Competitive agencies have been offloading those and aligning strategically with resources that specialize in those service offerings. An example is something like website maintenance and development. Not uncommon for an outsource partner to supplement that. Doing so frees up agency time and talent. And it costs less than full-time employees.
Q: Guess what digital partners are experts at?
A: All things digital.
The right outsource partners are going to be an absolute wealth of information about what lies ahead in the future world of AI.
Further, those partners can create more advanced content management systems for the agency to handle all that new-and-improved writing and other forms of thought leadership the humans are doing… and all the supportive writing AI is performing.
— Elmore Leonard, crime novelist,
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
“Get Shorty”, “Mr. Majestyk” and others
AI RESOURCES… Quick Reads, Quick Links…
From Analytics Insights magazine online, check out basic definitions and terminology related to AI and machine learning. Many helpful links within this article and within this site… click around for a wealth of objective info.
Find out more about generative apps for creative text and artwork, such as ChatGPT, LensaAI, Midjourney, and DALL-E 2. Other related articles link within this one.
At online educator Emeritus.org read about AI business applications by industry, such as how an airline can predict exactly how many flights it needs to get its passengers where they want to go… while keeping overbooking or underbooking in check (and many more examples).
- J. Pethokoukis, “What the Story of ATMs and Bank Tellers Reveals About the ‘Rise of the Robots’ and Jobs,” AEI Think Tank, https://www.aei.org/economics/what-atms-bank-tellers-rise-robots-and-jobs/, Jun 6, 2016.
- L. McGuire, “The Problem With Paper: Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind,” Formstack, https://www.formstack.com/resources/blog-paper-statistics, Jan 13, 2022.
- NewspaperLinks.com, “Will technology cause the extinction of newspapers?” https://newspaperlinks.com/digital/will-technology-cause-the-extinction-of-newspapers/, copyright 2023.