Thinking

Last Month in AI:
Interface

Published
July 9, 2024

June 2024 was all about the interface, and new ways to interact with generative AI. Ditching the chatbot, Motorola, Toys“R”Us, and McDonald’s all decided to go direct and serve us up AI-generated ads. With decidedly mixed results. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s foreign ministry and assorted politicians invited us to interface with their digital doppelgangers. Because nothing says “trustworthy leadership” like a pixelated politician.

By: Paul Marsden, Digital Strategist SYZYGY GROUP

TikTok, not content with the drama-llama land of human influencers, announced AI influencers as the next evolution in the brand-consumer interface. Google’s Illuminate proposed a new interface between scientific papers and the public, transforming dense text into easy-listening radio-style interviews. And for marketers, SYZYGY’s mothership  WPP announced its AI Production Studio, a new interface based on NVIDIA’s Omniverse platform for creating AI-generated marketing assets.

Anthropic launched a new interface for Claude, allowing users to manage projects and view output in real-time – a step towards more intuitive human-AI interaction. OpenAI, meanwhile, reeling from ScarJo-gate hit the snooze button on its native voice interface for ChatGPT. Ilya Sutskever, ex-board member of OpenAI, and missing in action since his role as Brutus in the Sam Altman soap opera, re-emerged to interface with the world once again, announcing the launch of SSI (Safe Superintelligence Inc). Their mission? Not simply to create AGI, but to beat it with ASI, artificial superintelligence. Great.

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But the real interface news in June was from Apple, with the launch of ‘Apple Intelligence,’ pitched as ‘AI for the rest of us’. What is Apple Intelligence? In essence, it’s Siri, the Forrest Gump of voice assistants, with a desperately needed and overdue IQ upgrade. Siri will finally be able to chat intelligently, answer intelligently, follow instructions intelligently, help you manage your device and apps intelligently, and perhaps even make your life seem more intelligible. And when Siri’s smarts aren’t enough, there’s a natty new ‘call a friend’ option for Siri, allowing the AI to call its new BFF, ChatGPT, thanks to a new Apple-OpenAI tie-up.

With Apple Intelligence, the promise of a true private and personal AI assistant is a step closer. The techie bit is that Apple Intelligence happens mostly on-device, so you’re not interacting with the big AI in the sky. A little less smart than Skynet perhaps, but the advantage of on-device privacy-minded AI is that it can use sensors and content to offer you contextual and personal help. With Apple Intelligence, what happens between you and your AI stays between you and your AI.

There’s more to Apple Intelligence than Siri’s brain transplant, but it’s this prospect of a genuinely smart, private, and personal AI assistant that has big implications for marketers. Most notably, expect AI assistants to become the key interface between brands and consumers. Marketing in an AI world won’t be about brands offering their own AI assistants or conversational interfaces. It will be about adapting to consumers’ own private and personal AI assistants. And as personal AI assistants become agentic, and take decisions on behalf of their owners, expect marketing to be as much about appealing to AI personal assistants as to their owners.

Think about it. Who will bother to go to websites, get interrupted by ads, or wade through search spam to find an answer when they can just ask their private AI sidekick? These personal AI assistants, whether Siri on steroids, augmented Alexa, or some future Claude, will be the gatekeepers, translators, and mediators between consumers and brands. They’ll filter information, make recommendations, and even negotiate on our behalf.

The concept of ‘B2AI2C’ has all the fluency of a bad haiku written by one of ChatGPT’s ancestors, but the idea that brands will interface with AI assistants, who then interface with their owners, is set to become a reality. If your AI strategy is all about using AI to directly interface with consumers, you’ve missed the plot twist in this interface revolution.

Welcome to a brave new world where the primary digital interface for a brand won’t be a website, an app, or even a human – it’ll be our personal and private AI assistants. This time brands will need to adapt to us and our AI assistants, rather than take us on some godforsaken branded customer journey. It’s less talk to the hand, and more talk to my AI assistant.

So, marketers, it’s time to face the music: your new audience isn’t just consumers, it’s their AI assistants. Marketing success will hinge on the ability to communicate effectively with these AI interfaces, to appeal to their logic, and to provide value that they can recognize and relay to their human owners.

The interface of the future is here, and it’s personal, it’s private, and it’s powered by AI. Brands that master the art of interfacing with our AI assistants will thrive; those that don’t may find themselves lost in translation.

Let’s talk about AI
Dr. Paul Marsden
Dr Paul Marsden Digital Strategist
SYZYGY GROUP
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