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AI Tools Bug Out Because the Internet Can Never Forget

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AI Tools Bug Out Because the Internet Can Never Forget

The internet never forgets.

That famous meme dates to at least the early 2000s. The digital internet acts as a more permanent version of what philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs deemed as the “collective memory” in his book of the same name almost 100 years ago. He concludes societies have a collective memory that depends on the framework within which they exist.

Put simply: In groups, both individual and group memories exist. I experience this when a group of my childhood friends remembers me doing things I haven’t the foggiest recollection of doing.

For better and worse, the internet has become society’s collective memory. Unlike a disagreement between friends arising over whose memory is more fallible, the internet doesn’t forget.

For better and worse, the internet has become society’s collective memory, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Over the years, this collective photographic memory has presented interesting challenges for society. Young people recording their – let’s just call it formative – behavior and opinions on social media experience greater challenges than those who did similar things in their youth without the ability to make them part of the collective memory of the internet. The same is true for post-internet companies. People can retrieve almost every word of anything the brand’s ever said in a press release or digital marketing and communications channel.

For example, if you asked me last week if I’d ever given an interview on Fox News, I would laugh and say “no.” But in writing this article, I used the Internet Archive to review a website I wrote in 1998. A press release (that I authored) was right there, highlighting my appearance on a local Fox News TV affiliate talking about this new thing called the “world wide web” and how I believed families, individuals, and companies would build websites in the future.

I forgot all about that interview, but the internet did not.

Photographic memory is a bug, not a feature

In my last weekly CMI News video, I covered the launch of Microsoft’s integration of OpenAI’s ChatGPT into web search. In that story, I also talked about Google’s attempt at newsjacking Microsoft’s announcement and its resulting very bad day.

Google’s bad day stemmed from the AI chatbot returning an inaccurate “fact” that the James Webb Telescope took the first picture of exoplanets (those that lie outside our solar system). In fact, the first telescope to photograph exoplanets did so in 2004.

Did the internet have that information? Yes, of course, it did. Did the internet forget? No.

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The internet remembered perfectly. Its memories, though, are inaccurate. Most of the popular search engines (including Google and Bing) returned results with the Webb-did-it-first answer as hundreds of articles from media outlets repeated the same inaccurate conclusion.

The mistake seems to have originated from a NASA release that opened, “For the first time, astronomers have used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to take a direct image of a planet outside our solar system.”  Say what you will structurally about that sentence – the end result led all those media companies to run with one distinct interpretation of the “fact” – that it was the first time exoplanets had been photographed.

The thing is, when NASA distributed the release in September 2022, almost no one cared about the erroneous interpretation of the sentence. (A few articles contained comments to correct the record or detail the event more precisely.) The internet stored the results in its memory. When an artificial intelligence tool used collective memory to answer a question about the James Webb Space Telescope, it dutifully remembered. Perfectly.

@Google’s Bard AI mistake on the Webb telescope discovery was built on an erroneous interpretation made repeatedly by media five months earlier on the internet, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The internet is our collective memory. The more of us who remember inaccurately, the more likely the collective will do the same.

Forgetfulness is a feature, not a bug

Scientists have long shown the human trait of forgetfulness is a good thing. It helps people prioritize, think better, make better decisions, and be more creative. Human “memory” is not designed to retrieve facts from a database but to help people retain what is valuable to make intelligent decisions. Your brain isn’t broken when you forget something. It often purposely disregards the information to let you focus on retaining more important information, simplifying a concept, or allowing you to find new information about what you already believe you understand.

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Think about when you watched a movie for the second time and forgot how great it was or saw it in a new way. Or think about when you say to someone, “What you’re saying doesn’t sound right, but I forget why,” and look up something you feel you should already know.

Humans have the ability to forget irrelevant information. Now, your brains aren’t the perfect judge of what’s irrelevant. Sometimes, they wrongly judge what information is irrelevant. When I forgot something at the grocery store after my wife explicitly asked for it, my brain either decided the request was irrelevant information or it made room for something else (like what I was going to write about for my weekly article). Believe me when I say my juicy rationalization for my forgetfulness is the latter, not the former.

Overall, the flaws in AI – and specifically generative content at this point in its development – demonstrate why forgetfulness can be a feature and one to incorporate into your process. AI designers have their work cut out for them to design systems that can forget and “not know” things so that they can reframe AI learning to understand what information is relevant and irrelevant.

Don’t forget to forget your content

As marketing and communication practitioners, you have your collective memory challenges. Don’t forget your repository of digital content acts like the internet. It, too, never forgets.

AI tools can present an attractive opportunity to learn from your website, digital asset management system, measurement data, CRM platform, etc. One marketing director told me recently they turned an AI chatbot loose on 128,000 documents collected over the years to learn how to suggest and create new content and insights for the marketing team.

That’s a wonderful experiment, but don’t forget (pun intended) that just because you created it, the information can still be inaccurate, irrelevant, or something the brand would rather forget. As you deploy AI-oriented tools, be more mindful of these two things:

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1. Remember you are the AI

An AI-based tool predicts a content topic won’t work because of how poorly it performed in the past. The AI dutifully recalls every image, word, and punctuation of the content campaign you long forgot. It remembers how poorly it all turned out.

The AI tool returns answers based on that collective memory. However, while the memory isn’t wrong, you may have been. It’s possible that just like the reporters that misread the NASA release and created hundreds of articles with an inaccurate description, you’ve created tons of messaging, content, analysis, and measurement data based on something just as inaccurate. (The same thinking applies when the AI tool suggests content topics based on positive performances.)

Just because the machine learned correctly doesn’t mean it learned something correct.

2. Remember why people forget things

People forget things to allow room to focus on what’s important. That’s not because they can’t “fit” more information inside their brains; it’s because people’s memories are meant to help them focus on the information that they believe is most important and make better choices.

AI can help develop content based on learning from a perfect collective memory of everything created. But sometimes, forgetting details allows people to see a new forest. Sometimes it’s because you forgot why you loved that old content so much that you could see something familiar in a new way.

If you put all your trust in the photographic memory to write content or suggest creative based mostly on irrelevant or (worse) inaccurate information, you can bet it will always be accurate to what you remembered but never benefit from what you’ve forgotten.

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Don’t forget this

Remember, everything relevant is always worth remembering, but remembering everything isn’t always relevant.

Sometimes having some memory loss can be a good thing in making better creative decisions.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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