While AI’s creative future is uncertain, marketers are adopting it for productivity

The news: Slack, Otter, and OpenAI have all launched AI-powered features that inch the technology further toward productivity applications.

  • Slack is launching a paid add-on for Enterprise users that uses AI to summarize unread messages and channels, with plans to launch AI-generated messaging in the future, it said Wednesday.
  • Transcription and workplace meeting service Otter.ai is rolling out a similar chatbot that generates summaries of transcriptions from previous meetings.
  • Industry leader OpenAI announced an update to ChatGPT that will store previous conversations in the AI’s “memory” for better recall. In an example provided by OpenAI, ChatGPT uses a previous mention that a user’s child likes jellyfish to influence its design of a birthday card.

The search for AI marketing use cases: The advertising industry has already significantly adopted artificial intelligence for a variety of processes, from daily tasks to data analysis to generative creative materials. But as the tech’s creative applications face mounting resistance, productivity and data analysis may be where AI in advertising finds its groove.

  • Nearly one-third of B2B marketers (31%) reported using AI for chatbots, coding, and design, per a November Sagefrog Marketing Group survey. In a January Ascend2 survey, personalization (38%), ad optimization (34%), and customer service chatbots (31%) ranked as the highest use cases for AI.
  • While creative applications are also somewhat common, they’re used less than those for data and other processes—though interest is high. In an October Advertiser Perceptions survey, 39% of ad creatives said they were employing the tech, with 48% saying they have an “interest” in it.
  • Outstanding legal issues regarding copyright infringement explain the trepidation around creative uses; the same Ascend2 survey found that 65% of respondents were concerned about potential plagiarism and mistakes from AI-generated content.

Still, companies are pressing on with creative applications. Meta and Google are both launching tools allowing brands to generate creative material with AI, a move that’s expected to broaden the well of digital ad spending.

Our take: Legal issues around generative AI have yet to be sorted out. But advertisers who are anxious about potential issues over creative uses can still explore the tech through productivity features like those announced by Slack, Otter, and OpenAI while they wait for a consensus.

  • Legal standards could be established relatively soon: A judge recently ruled that a lawsuit against OpenAI from Sarah Silverman and other authors was too broad in its claims and failed to prove monetary damages since chatbots did not produce exact copies of their work.

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