AI is coming for your job — and your friends’ jobs, too. Or is it?
June 23, 2023
By Colin Moffett
Apologies for the dramatic and misleading headline, but this sort of attention grabber seems to be in vogue these days. For instance, after McKinsey Digital released its latest in-depth report about generative AI last week, a Bloomberg headline read: “Biggest Losers of AI Boom Are Knowledge Workers, McKinsey Says.” The Financial Times was no less doomsday with their header: “McKinsey checks in on for whom the bell tolls.”
In fact, the report focuses primarily on the immense economic and business opportunities around AI. But many in the media have found it more effective to latch onto a single section of the report — about the ways generative AI will increasingly augment knowledge work — since this plays into our fears around AI. This is an unfortunate distraction for professionals who’d be better served keeping a close eye on the fundamental shifts on the near horizon, because how we adjust to the details will matter for more than how we tremble at the headlines.
With that in mind, we’re staying focused on three key areas — until the robots come for our jobs, that is.
We’re in the early stages of the “search shift,” but just take a peek at Microsoft Bing for clues about where we’re heading. In short, we’re moving from tools that direct us to destinations where we can find our answers to tools that assess the available resources and serve up the answers readymade for us. Put another way, imagine that your local librarian no longer pulls relevant articles, books, and digital files for you to peruse, but instead rapidly reads all of those resources for you and then gives you the answer you’re looking for. In this new paradigm, our websites and our content become sources, not destinations.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is: How will this reframe how brands and businesses become discoverable and relevant?
The evolution of search from destinations to summarizations will also have a profound effect on how we build our web pages. Gone are the days of traditional SEO and discoverability. The content we create — and the pages that house that content — will need to evolve. And the real winners in the years ahead will be the companies and organizations that embrace new (and ever-advancing) practices around the creation of quality source content for AI alongside their ongoing focus on content for people themselves. When we do this well, we’ll succeed at our age-old goal: finding better ways of connecting directly with human audiences.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is: How are we rethinking our owned channels to optimize how our brand lives in a new, distributed world?
As the value of web pages declines, we’ll see a swift shift toward more “packaged” content vehicles such as audio, video, and bundled content similar to a curated collection of magazine articles. Beyond the format and substance of a piece, content creators will need to start thinking about access and attribution, as well. That is, how available will your content be to generative AI bots? There is a tremendous opportunity in this disruption for companies and organizations of every type and size to create high-quality branded content that’s ready to be served directly to their audiences.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is: How will we continue to package up our brand content in ways that audiences want and can easily get access to?
These disruptions are still unfolding. And with them come enormous opportunities to let your brand shine while connecting humans — with a little help from AI — to the information, inspiration, and stories that they’re hungry for, now as much as ever.