John Dutton recently posted in his blog about AI “representatives” who talk to you. It’s an interesting look into the “creep” factor potentially in artificial intelligence and certainly provides plenty of food for thought on robots and AI in marketing. Read it here. Summarized below. When the media or the internet shares a look at this wierd generated image talking, its easy to spot. When not flagged, it is getting a little harder to know for sure-is it real or is it Memorex.

Unveiling AI in Ukraine

Last week, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced Victoriya Shi, a “digital representative” and AI-produced avatar. Shi delivers official statements in videos shared on the Ministry’s online social channels.

According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Shi was created to “save time and resources” for diplomats. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, this rationale seems reasonable. However, the introduction of such an AI avatar raises questions about the future and the potential for dystopian developments.

A key concern is the ease of deepfaking an already artificial persona. This challenge has been addressed by the MFA through a smart yet simple solution: a QR code in the corner of each video that directs viewers to the official text version of the announcement on the Ministry’s website. It’s worth noting that the official statements themselves are not AI-generated, which could set a worrying precedent.

While the Ukrainian version’s reception is unknown, the English version of Victoriya Shi struggles to escape the “uncanny valley” of artificial humans. Her sign-off, “I look forward to our fruitful cooperation,” has an eerie, robotic undertone. This unsettling impression might not be entirely negative.

Navigating the Age of AI

We are deeply entrenched in the Age of AI, where trust has become a scarce commodity. The concept of “fake news” emerged well before generative AI, gaining prominence in late 2016 with the rise of certain political figures. A search on Google Trends reveals the sudden spike in terms like “fake news” and “post-truth” during that period.

With AI’s potential to create convincing deepfakes, the challenge of distinguishing real from fake is intensifying. A recent incident in Hong Kong saw an employee deceived by an AI-generated video, leading to a $25 million fraud. This highlights the need for secure credentialing, especially in large organizations and potential metaverse meetings. However, in-person meetings remain immune to such digital deceptions.

AI’s Role in Authenticity

Ironically, AI might help combat its own deceptions. OpenAI’s recent collaboration with the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) aims to develop tools for identifying AI-generated content. As deepfakes become more sophisticated, the absence of C2PA authentication could become a red flag.

If this leads to a heightened skepticism towards digital media, it might not be entirely negative. AI could bolster our defenses against scams, encouraging a healthy suspicion of the digital content we consume.

The Balance of Authenticity and Truth

The distinction between authenticity and truth is crucial. A government-created AI avatar can be fake in its artificiality but still deliver authentic, official statements. As generative AI advances, we must fine-tune our skepticism. Victoriya Shi’s name reflects Ukraine’s hope for “victory” and the integration of AI (“Shi” in Ukrainian). The war may ultimately hinge on intelligent tech use rather than sheer military might.

Update and Reflections

Following the newsletter’s release, it was revealed that WPP, the world’s largest ad agency network, nearly fell victim to a deepfake scam, with the CEO’s voice being replicated by AI.

The Dystopia/Utopia Dichotomy

The generative AI revolution has begun, and its trajectory could lead to either a utopian or dystopian future. My novel, “2084,” explores a world where life appears superficially perfect, masking underlying issues.

Artistic AI Innovations

One of my book’s main characters is a sculptor, a profession I initially believed immune to AI. However, Monumental Labs, founded in 2022, uses “sensors and AI” to produce sculptures at a fraction of traditional costs. This reality mirrors the AI-driven world imagined in “2084.”

Genetic Modifications and Luxury

Fresh Del Monte’s Rubyglow® pineapple, an ultra-premium, genetically modified fruit, exemplifies the future of designer foods. My novel envisions similar advancements with patented food items and drone-pollinated plants.

The Challenger Mindset

Adam Morgan, an expert in the challenger brand mindset, emphasizes the importance of maintaining a challenger attitude regardless of market position. Companies like Netflix exemplify this, adapting and thriving in a competitive landscape by retaining a challenger’s drive.

The Right to Repair and Brand Identity

The US Government Accountability Office highlights the “softwareification” of cars, making independent repairs difficult. Similarly, Apple’s restrictive policies on iPhone repairs underline the broader trend of manufacturers controlling repair markets.

Cult of Brand Identity

The Gray Area podcast discusses how modern consumers interact with brands, focusing on identity over product quality. This shift underscores the evolving landscape of commercial competition and consumer behavior.

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