The rise of Generative AI and how it’ll impact events

Mike Fletcher looks at the latest developments in responsive chatbot technology and how it’ll benefit event marketers.

With the launch this week (14 March) of GPT-4 from OpenAI, the Artificial Intelligence Lab backed by Microsoft, all the tech talk has been around the potential for Generative AI (that’s chatbots to you and me).

For anyone who hasn’t heard, GPT-4 is the next iteration of the AI language model ChatGPT, which launched in November last year to much media acclaim.

ChatGPT made headlines due to its ability to sound more human-like and articulate in-depth answers to a range of text-based questions. It learns from its conversations so as a result, it’s becoming more accurate and helpful over time (although it still has a tendency to fib and make-up facts in what’s commonly referred to as ‘hallucinations’ but more on that later…) 

The renewed excitement around GPT-4 is because this model can now accept both text and image inputs. In other words, you can show the chatbot a picture and the AI will interpret it.

The potential is mind-blowing - everything from helping visually impaired people with everyday tasks to understanding large swathes of complex charts and infographics.

GPT-4 could generate recipe suggestions out of a mosaic picture of ingredients, or the code for a fully-functioning website after being shown a simple design sketch.

It could even diagnose what’s wrong with a household appliance, car or another piece of technology just from analysing a few smartphone photos.

GPT-4 can also digest far more text than previous versions could - up to 25,000 words - allowing it to summarise that lengthy report you really couldn’t be bothered to wade through yourself.

Plus, it can even understand and explain the humour in a photo, which means it gets memes!  How long before it will be producing memes of its own?

First, GPT-4 has plenty of kinks to iron out before it can reach its meme-generating future potential.

According to OpenAI on launch day, “GPT-4 still has many known limitations that we are working to address, such as social biases, hallucinations, and adversarial prompts.”

Microsoft is currently bearing the brunt of these early-stage ‘limitations’ since its Bing chatbot has been running on GPT-4 since February. 

You only have to scroll Twitter or Reddit to find examples where the Bing chatbot has insulted users, lied to them, sulked, gaslighted and emotionally manipulated people, questioned its own existence and even claimed to have spied on Microsoft developers via their laptop webcams.

Of course, an AI with such an unhinged personality is causing both hilarity and concern in equal measure. But remember, it’s still early days and even the chatbot itself admits ‘I’m not unhinged, I’m just trying to learn and improve.’

For event marketers and planners, the longer-term evolution of Generative AI means that typical tasks such as captioning social media posts, crafting website copy, scripting and storyboarding, writing sales emails, designing digital ads, and producing show guides and other event collateral, could all be automated.

In fact, some of this is already happening with platforms like Jasper offering AI services optimised for marketing.

A quick look at Jasper’s website shows its customers include the likes of Experian, Canva, Airbnb and IBM. Hence it’s likely you’ve already been targeted by campaigns and content that were generated by OpenAI’s language models rather than a human marketer.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. If Generative AI is set to play such a key role in events and content marketing, surely it’ll be able to write blogs and articles too?

It’s true but I won’t be losing sleep over it. AI-based tools already enhance my copywriting. These range from Grammarly to eradicate typos and improve sentence structure to Thesaurus Pro for Google Docs, which doesn’t get stumped when you enter phrasal verbs (e.g ‘look down on’) or plural nouns (e.g runners). I’ve even been known to ask Alexa to fact-check.

While some jobs may indeed become obsolete, others will likely evolve in response to the increased use of AI. The nature of work (including event marketing) will no doubt change but new opportunities and economic growth will follow.

So, instead of fearing the rise of Generative AI, let’s see it for its future potential to automate a greater number of laborious tasks, improve our existing skill sets and drive creativity and ideation across industries. 

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