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  • Writer's pictureDusty Weis

Lead Balloon Ep. 45 - Replaced by Chat GPT: Are Creative and Copywriting Jobs Threatened by A.I.?

We meet one of the "first wave" of workers laid off in the Artificial Intelligence revolution, and look ahead to the future of creative industries.

The robot revolution has arrived.


And they're coming for your marketing or content creation job.


The advent of generative artificial intelligence chatbots—most notably tools like Chat GPT and Midjourney—is poised to revolutionize creative industries. These tools use deep learning technology to generate new content based on prompts from human users.

A.I. generated this image of a robot working at a desk.

But will this be the end of creativity as we know it, or a new implement to help creative people be even more creative?


In this episode, we hear from "Jess," a copywriter who was laid off from her job at a well-known national logistics company and "replaced by Chat GPT."


And then, we talk to Renato Fernandez, the Chief Creative Officer at the LA-based, global creative agency TBWA / Chiat / Day. They’re a three-time honoree as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, have been recognized thrice as Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year, and are seen as a pioneering leader in the incorporation of generative A.I. into the creative workflow.


Together, Jess and Renato will generate a picture of an industry facing an inflection point...


And, indeed, a battle for its very soul.


(We promised to link to an interesting study we saw this week about how human-generated SEO content performs better than A.I.-generated content.)

Subscribe to the Podcamp Media e-newsletter for more updates on the world of strategic communication.



Transcript:


Dusty Weis:

In American folk history, the legend of John Henry has always been one of my favorites.


Tennessee Ernie Ford (singing):

When John Henry was a little baby, no bigger than the palm of your hand...


Dusty Weis:

An African-American steel driving man, a freed slave who built railroads in 19th century Appalachia, John Henry is fabled to have fought an epic battle against a machine that was designed to do his job.


Tennessee Ernie Ford (singing):

He drove steel all over the land. Before I let the steam hammer get me down, I'm gonna die with my hammer in my hand.


Dusty Weis:

Bristling at the indignity that he could be replaced by a steam drill, John Henry challenged the machine to race. The epic battle was on to see which could cut further into the rock in a day, and John Henry's hammer blows are reputed to have shaken the very mountain on which they worked. When the dust had cleared, he had bested the machine only to die soon after from exertion, hammer in his hands as the legend goes.


Tennessee Ernie Ford (singing):

Every time a freight train comes puffing by, they say yonder lies a steel-driving man...


Dusty Weis:

I love this story because I love the pride that Henry takes in his work. I love the pure contempt for the thought that any machine could replace him, and I even love the bittersweet obstinance of fighting back against the inexorable march of automation, and I love it even more because as creatives in the year 2023, we face our own battle with a machine that threatens our livelihoods, generative artificial intelligence.


Jess:

They said that they were eliminating my position and going to throw it all through ChatGPT.


Dusty Weis:

Jess is a content strategist from a nationally recognized logistics company, just one of many copywriters and creatives who have already lost their jobs this year in what The Washington Post calls the first wave of people replaced by chatbots. But Renato Fernandez, the chief creative officer at the agency TBWA/Chiat/Day in Los Angeles says companies that are racing to cut costs by laying off creatives and replacing them with AI are making a disastrous, short-sighted mistake.


Renato Fernandez:

I think ChatGPT is a powerful tool, but if you are taking this as the only source of ideation for you, you are doomed. You are doomed.


Dusty Weis:

In this episode, Renato lays out how they're incorporating generative AI responsibly at one of the most innovative agencies in the world and makes the case for why cutting human jobs is a losing proposition for businesses. And our modern day Jane Henry tells us about her personal battle with the AI machine. I'm Dusty Weis from Podcamp Media. This is Lead Balloon, a podcast about compelling tales from the world of PR marketing and branding told by the well-meaning communications professionals who live them.


Thanks for tuning in. We're here every month bringing you the kind of stories that we love to tell in the field of communication, because not only are there lessons to learn, but it's how PR marketing and branding legends are made. So if you haven't yet, make sure you're following this show in your favorite podcast app, and if you know someone who would appreciate this story, send them a link to the episode.


Artificial intelligence rising up and taking jobs from humans. It still sounds like something out of science fiction to me, and I'm saying that as someone who personally knows one of these humans now.


Jess:

I think I heard about it on TikTok first. I asked Casey, my son, what he thought, and he's like, "Oh, yeah, it's coming."


Dusty Weis:

When I went to work at the newspaper cluster in Portage, Wisconsin 17 years ago, Jess was one of my senior colleagues there, part of a small but talented, dedicated staff who were generally fun to be around and very generous about taking a hot shot intern under their collective wings. In the years since, she's earned her MFA, worked as a published writer, a teacher, and most recently as a content strategist for a major national logistics operation that you have heard of. We're not naming that company nor using Jess's last name here because of worries that it would run afoul of her separation agreement.


Jess:

You're a small department in a bigger company. It was up to us to do everything from emails to social media, blogs, print material, anything to get the company name out. That is what I worked on.


Dusty Weis:

How did you feel like it was going prior to the ChatGPT craze?


Jess:

We would say that we needed eight more people on our staff, but I liked what I did. I liked where I worked. I liked the people that I worked for and worked with. It was internal, it was B2B, it was B2C, it was social media. It was so much. Any given day was different than the next, but when it was good, it was very good.


Dusty Weis:

How big was the team?


Jess:

Four people. One of my biggest things that I worked on was we had a number of smaller companies under us that contracted with us, and with that there was a marketing component to it where we drove their websites and we did their SEO and all these blogs, and there was between 12 and 14 blogs each month that I was responsible for either creating or assigning. That took up a lot of my time.


Dusty Weis:

That's a tremendous amount of workload to be able to pump out that many that quickly. It's the kind of thing that takes somebody with 20 years of experience to be able to ideate and develop and complete all of those blog posts on cadence.


Jess:

Correct. And not always the most interesting topics.


Dusty Weis:

Right. Logistics is not renowned for its barn burning.


Jess:

Yes. So we had to get creative.


Dusty Weis:

Like most of us, Jess says she first heard about ChatGPT on her social media feeds. It was just after Thanksgiving of last year when the company OpenAI first rolled out a free research preview of ChatGPT, powered by the GPT 3.5 engine and online creators began to get very excited about the capabilities.


Assorted Tik-Tokers:

This is how I used AI to get me a callback from every single application that I submitted.


Whether you're asking ChatGPT to write your next term paper, create a marketing plan or something else.


So I asked ChatGPT to write a song about envy in the style of Bob Dylan, and this is what it came up with.


Dusty Weis:

So how does it work? Well, a lot of that is proprietary, but the short version is this. With enough computing power, you can train a computer to predict complex language models or imagery by feeding it lots of examples of the things that you want it to learn.


Think of it like the predictive text feature on your iPhone that tries to guess what word you're trying to type next, just on steroids. If you feed an algorithm billions of examples of something that you want it to learn, like the entire collective knowledge of humanity as it's archived on the internet, for instance, and then let it practice a few billion more times while giving it constructive feedback, a generative AI algorithm can get pretty good at predicting what words, phrases, or images will satisfy a given query. In fact, if you think about it, it's very similar to how we learn as people.


First we learn words. Then we learn how to string them together into phrases. Then we learn to extrapolate ideas and themes and so on, all while getting feedback from parents, siblings, teachers and the media about what we got right and what we didn't. And that's just the thing about generative AI. It's still just guessing, making a lot of generative guesses very, very quickly. And so for every successful song about envy in the style of Bob Dylan, there's plenty of gobbledygook that it spits out as well. Anyway you slice it though, it represents a massive step forward for technology. And Jess says it made an appropriate splash with her and her colleagues at the office.


Jess:

My boss went to a conference in February and she came back all about ChatGPT, even though we were talking about it to her before that. Apparently they had the Kool-Aid there, which is fine. It's definitely a tool. And she was saying, "Oh, you're going to be more of an editor now." Okay, that's fine. But at that point too, I was dabbling in ChatGPT, playing around with it, learning what I could. When I would put in what I needed, it always needed refining and sometimes, Dusty, you've written you've been an editor. You know that sometimes being an editor is even harder than being a writer because it takes longer. You got to sit there and you got to reword, reroute certain things, cross things off. Doesn't always make you popular when people see this piece that you've produced and then you've cut it to shreds.


So using ChatGPT, I was saying, "Okay, this is cool, but this is going to take a little longer. Am I saving time with it?" Maybe, but I'm investing probably as much time making sure that it's A, correct, B using all of the terminology we need, because ChatGPT spits it out very confidently.


Dusty Weis:

And without necessarily the expertise to back up that confidence.


Jess:

Right, yes.


Dusty Weis:

Which is the kicker there.


But as a naturally optimistic person, Jess couldn't help but marvel at the innovations playing out in the world of content creation. That is until the day that generative AI came for her job.


Jess:

It was a Monday and I was asked to come into the conference room and in there was my boss and the HR director, and they said that they were eliminating my position and going to throw it all through ChatGPT.


Dusty Weis:

Now was your boss part of the content generation team? Are we talking about a director level, manager level?


Jess:

Yes. Yes.


Dusty Weis:

So this is someone who is contributing to the content or just managing the content team?


Jess:

More managing at that point, but when we need all the hands on deck, we have all hands. And she was a good boss too, and I definitely enjoyed working for her.


Dusty Weis:

How'd you react?


Jess:

I was in shock. I think I asked three times, "This is for real? This is really happening," because I'm thinking how much work we had and how understaffed we were and thinking about it in retrospect, were there signs? No.


Dusty Weis:

As far as the layoff goes, were there other people on the team who lost their jobs as well?


Jess:

No.


Dusty Weis:

No. It was just you?


Jess:

Just me.


Dusty Weis:

That feels personal.


Jess:

Yes, it absolutely feels-


Dusty Weis:

Were you a junior member on the team?


Jess:

I was the last hired, but it was a couple of years ago.


Dusty Weis:

Right, you were two years in.


Jess:

Yeah. I started there in 2021. Yeah, it felt yucky. You can say it's business, but we were a small team in a small-ish company where everyone knew each other and yeah, I was sad. This was where I went to work. This was the relationships I was making, and just to have it all end without any warning, it was very unsettling.


Dusty Weis:

That really sucks. I'm sorry that happened to you, Jess, and I imagine that other folks on the team didn't feel great about it either.


Jess:

I don't know. I haven't heard.


Dusty Weis:

You haven't been able to check in with any of them?


Jess:

I haven't. Even my old boss. And I have a theory that she had to deliver the bad news, but it wasn't her call.


Dusty Weis:

You think this is something that came from above, somebody who said, "Hey, we can trim back some costs here."


Jess:

Which is isn't that typical of a higher up? They're not in there day to day knowing what you're up to.


Dusty Weis:

But gall darn it, they know how you can be more efficient.


Jess:

Right. All you got to do is...


Dusty Weis:

Right. How do you think it's going for them?


Jess:

I am sure that it's a lot more work than they were expecting. I don't know if they're going to hire someone at a lower salary than I was at to facilitate it in the end. I don't know. I imagine that they are busy and I would say kicking themselves. But again, I don't think it was a decision at a level that someone who's doing it every day. I think it's a higher up kind of thing.


Dusty Weis:

Right, someone else made the decision.


Jess:

Right. Someone else made the decision and created a lot more work.


Renato Fernandez:

That company that fire her, she's better out of it because a company that believes that ChatGPT is better than a human is a company that's now worth for you to working on.


Dusty Weis:

Renato Fernandez is the chief creative officer at the LA based global creative agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day. They're a three time honoree as one of Fast Companies most innovative companies, have been recognized thrice as Adweek's Global Agency of the Year, and they're seen as pioneering leaders in the incorporation of generative AI into the creative workflow.

Renato Fernandez, CCO at TBWA\Chiat\Day

Renato Fernandez:

I think ChatGPT is a powerful tool, but if you are taking this as the only source of ideation for you, you are doomed. You are doomed, because basically this company is telling her, "You know what? Average is great." Because that's what ChatGPT is right now, average. The bar is raised, everybody can deliver average.


Dusty Weis:

You recently sat down for a chat hosted by Adweek at Cannes where you and several other executives talked about the future of advertising and generative AI and how you're using those tools right now. And during that discussion, you said something that really stuck with me. You said AI needs a creative director. We will always need a creative director. What did you mean by that, Renato?


Renato Fernandez:

In Cannes everybody was talking about AI. This is the hot topic and everybody's trying to find the answers to AI. But in that specific talk, I was trying to point to what happened to technology. I am old enough in this industry that I saw the beginning of computers in creative departments, in advertising agencies. And when they came, there was a similar effect. People that worked in the creative departments feeling threatened by computers.


But computers, they brought an edge. Everybody believed that now everybody could do great work and soon enough realize that's not the case. The brilliant minds could take and extract from the computer what others couldn't and make the best of this.


So with AI, it's going to be similar. AI, it became the equalizer in the industry. Now, soon enough, everybody going to have access to so much more content and data provided by AI. But with this equalization we still need to stand out, we still need people to extract and take the best of AI. So it's going to be the nature of the technology, always the nature of technology.


But the other thing that for me is important is computers, they don't have empathy. They don't have the emotions. They don't have the ability to build intangible connections. So with all the data, you still need somebody that can orchestrate the data, direct the data, shape the data, and take the best of this, the same way as that we did when start using computers and people had an ability to do better than others, we still need people that are going to be able to do better than others with data and take the best of this. Those people will be the creator directors of this new technology gen AI.


Dusty Weis:

Essentially what you're saying is it's a new tool in the toolbox, but you still need that human touch. You still need somebody to point the tool in the right direction, to give it feedback, to help keep that human element in the creative process.


Renato Fernandez:

Yes. But the thing also is, I use this metaphor for AI that is like the calculator. Again, that I am aging myself here, but when I started studying math, you were not allowed to bring a calculator to the exam.


Dusty Weis:

Right, it was cheating.


Renato Fernandez:

You're cheating. But then when they allowed calculators, everybody thought, no, now that's easy. No, because now the teacher, they know you can do easily. So the tests got to another level. That's the same thing that's happening here with AI. The bar changed. Whether you like it or not, is a different bar. Everybody has access to that. So now we need to step up. We need to take one level up to stand out, and that's again, that's where humans and the creator director will make this connection and leapfrog his agency or whatever company he's working on to take advantage of the technology.


Dusty Weis:

So just to recap here, the CCO of one of the top, most innovative ad agencies in the world says that laying off human creatives like Jess and replacing them with generative AI is a recipe for irrelevance. Our world was already awash in information. Now that everybody has access to ChatGPT and other generative AI tools, the flood of mediocre content is going to reach a new crest. In fact, there's already some early data from comparison studies to suggest that human generated copy is outperforming AI generated copy in terms of search engine optimization. I'll make sure to link that in the episode description, but if the algorithms can't even win the love of another algorithm, why would we expect them to succeed at concepting the next big ad campaign or writing the next great think piece for a human audience? Chalk up a point for the modern John Henry's of the creative industry, I guess.


But the race isn't over. Generative AI will only grow and improve its capabilities in the months and years ahead. And I don't know about you, but I am in no rush to die with my hammer in my hands, so to speak. So coming up after the break, Renato discusses how they're incorporating AI into their workflows at TBWA/Chiat/Day, while still maintaining that human element.


Renato Fernandez:

Learn the skill, learn to master and tame the technology.


Dusty Weis:

And Jess tells us what's next in the wake of her battle versus the machine. That's all coming up in a moment here on Lead Balloon.


This is Lead Balloon and I'm Dusty Weiss. The advent of AI generated content and iterative design in the creative industry is a disruption on a scale that we haven't seen perhaps since the invention of the print press. Renato Fernandez, the chief creative officer at TBWA/Chiat/Day says the industry has so much more to wrap its head around right now than just the moral and strategic implications of outsourcing human jobs to ChatGPT.


Renato Fernandez:

We are taking AI very seriously. We are concerned about ethical and privacy issues. We are part of C2PA, the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity. We are part of Adobe's content authenticity initiative. We have a steering committee for AI that analyze everything that the agency does because it's important to protect our clients in this space. We don't know exactly how copyright will end up being a reality in AI. We know they're talking about a watermark on Ai, a digital watermark. All those conversations are happening, but it's still a little bit loosey-goosey. So we are trying to be incredibly diligent, taking care of our clients and the privacy of the clients.


Dusty Weis:

TBWA / Chiat / Day is aided in its AI ventures, Renato says, by its parent company Omnicom, which is working to build partnerships with MAJOR players in the AI space.


Renato Fernandez:

We are now partnering with Microsoft, with Adobe and with Google to shape what's the future AI for us. Because there's two ways for you to think about AI. One is the low hanging fruit usage of Ai. I go to ChatGPT, I go to Midjourney. I go to the platforms. I extract and I do something with that. But the other is to think what is going to be my engine, my AI engine, and we are now orchestrating that, building what can be the engine that we're going to be using as an AI power element. Because truth be told, everybody's using the same Ai, but in the future, AI, you're going to be separated by the quality of the engine that you have. The way you're going to be curating AI and making something proprietary, we will define who is best in that game.


Dusty Weis:

But as important as those big picture concepts are, Renato says the agency has also invested in upskilling its workforce, running labs to make sure that all their creative and strategic talent has a grounding in the immediate practical applications of generative AI. These are all things that you've probably already heard about on social media, but with the click of a button, you can now conjure up proofs of concept for out of the blue inspirations, dummy up those mind-numbing presentations that nobody wants to work on, or grind out dozens of creative ideas and then pick the best to advance and refine with a human team.


Renato Fernandez:

It is a playground. So we are all playing with that.


Dusty Weis:

And yet Renato says he's most excited about developing the use cases that we haven't imagined yet, like taking a high production value celebrity ad and localizing it to any market in any language instantly.


Renato Fernandez:

I'm going to be able to get the voice of the actor and the face of the actor and the lips of the actor will move in Spanish while I'm generating a voice in Spanish. That is already something that is in the realm of possibilities. But for me, what's going to happen is that this is going to be immediate. As I'm editing my film in English, in the same moment, the film in Spanish is ready to go and in Japanese and in Cantonese, whatever it is. And if I change something in the first version, all the other versions, they change accordingly. So this is for me what future is going to look like in advertising. I'm trying to shape something like that in the agency right now.


Dusty Weis:

I really look forward to seeing Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln ad speaking Cantonese. That's going to blow my mind. That's going to be incredible.


Renato Fernandez:

That's why they create this technology, for that reason. I think we're still scratching the surface of the possibilities. There's still something to come that's going to be revolutionary. Think about Midjourney, how everybody is in love with Midjourney.


Dusty Weis:

If you're not familiar, Midjourney is an image generation tool similar to ChatGPT where you provide the AI with written prompts and then it generates images to match your idea. Whether it's a polar bear downhill skiing, astronaut cats or Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit.


Renato Fernandez:

Images are fantastic. Well, they have a look. Now you probably see your feed is crowded with this loop and it is easy to detect. So now you need to do something that's unique and different and here comes Photoshop.


Dusty Weis:

Adobe's graphic design stalwart made headlines just a couple of months ago when it announced that it had a Midjourney like generative AI feature in beta testing.


Renato Fernandez:

The beta version of Photoshop allows you to edit the detail because the Midjourney doesn't let you do a short correct the image you have. You have a prompt and then a new prompt and it's always trying to guess to get the machine to get it right. With Photoshop, you are able to microtune and adjust the idea. That is like a professional, a evolution of Midjourney. What I think is that we're leaving amateur hour.


Dusty Weis:

Indeed, amateur hour in the generative AI revolution has not been without its conspicuous and sometimes hilarious failures. You've probably heard in May about the New York attorney who prompted ChatGPT to write a legal brief on his behalf only to face court sanction when the AI spouted a handful of nonsensical case citations that he didn't bother to verify and he was caught.


But other cautionary tales are more dire. The National Eating Disorders helpline has for 20 years provided people who are struggling with self-destructive body image issues with support and basic counseling over the phone. When the staffers who worked the phones voted it unionize this spring, the association behind the helpline announced that they would replace their human workers with a chatbot. This ill-conceived experiment lasted for only a few weeks as it was discovered that the chatbot could be prompted to provide dangerous advice to users about cutting calories and weight loss, exactly the opposite of the kind of thing that you want to be giving to people suffering from eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association immediately pulled the chatbot from service and closed the hotline for good. Those human workers are still out of a job and Renato says there's no doubt that AI poses a distinct threat to jobs in the creative industry as well.


Renato Fernandez:

It's happening, so I'm not going to deny. There's a lot of optimization that will happen in the industry. We have a lot of positions in agencies. They're due for a revolution. So I was telling you about localization for example. There's a lot of jobs that are going to be lost in that part of the business, but other one will come. No. Every time technology comes, it kills some jobs and create new jobs. Remember, with Industrial Revolution, the machines replacing the man in factories. Yes, it did replace one kind of job and create so many other jobs. It's basically forcing us to up our skills.


So for everyone that's afraid of losing the job, my point to them is like learn the skill, learn to master and tame the technology because technology comes and everybody going to be able to use it. And denying it and pretending they don't exist, that's going to be doomsday for you. But if you really understand what the power of technology, you want to use it to your advantage, you can play that. And then for companies, it's a cautionary tale. If you are believing that the ChatGPT will replace the talents working for you, soon enough, ChatGPT will replace you in the leading of the company because a company that has a bar that's that low, any machine will be able to replace them.


Dusty Weis:

I think that's really good advice, and I hope that there are more executives out there who are taking it to heart, because I get the sense that at companies where they are replacing human laborers right now, human creatives with generative AI, that that's not a decision that's being made at a manager or a director level. That's a decision that's being made at an executive level and then foisted down upon these departments where people are being let go. And I don't think that that's ever a great way to make decisions without the buy-in of the boots on the ground people who are doing the work.


Renato Fernandez:

To that specific point, so many companies that are making those calls because it's a financial decision and it's not a strategic decision. That's my main cautionary point here. When you make the decision because of the financial implication of that, you are making the wrong call. You have financial implications, but need to have a strategic point of view. And if you don't understand that technology is available to everyone and you're not going to have an edge if you're using the same thing that everybody has access to, that is plain stupidity. Think about targeting advertising and pragmatic advertising. That thing with AI is going to be piece of cake. Everybody going to be able to do this with excellence, but the problem is if everybody does, nobody has an edge, it becomes table stakes.


Dusty Weis:

Right, excellent is average now.


Renato Fernandez:

Yes. Then what will you need to make to stand out? Agencies, they need to equip themselves to be able to deliver excellence in a new reality where excellence became average. If you use this strategically, you try to create something proprietary and you build AI to help your team to have a kind of access to AI that anybody has, then it's smart, then it's a strategic.


Dusty Weis:

As for Jess, my old friend who was laid off from a copywriting job and told she was being replaced by ChatGPT, she sees the wisdom in the advice that Renato has to offer creatives like her.


Jess:

When you think about technology, I don't think there's ever been any instance in time where there's been such a huge innovation where they're like, "Nope, we're going back to the way it was." I think that we're going to see in the short term a lot more situations like mine with a lot more out-of-touch people making decisions that they don't understand the ramifications of ultimately. But I think that when it's all said and done, they're going to walk it back to it being a tool or creating positions where it's an AI handler of some sort. Whatever the new lingo is going to be, that's going to be a position.


Dusty Weis:

And I think that Jess's attitude here is a healthy one. She's not mad about it. She sees the technology for what it is and isn't afraid to adapt and embrace it, even as she still takes pride in her work and her abilities as a living, breathing reasoning and empathetic human. In fact, in an ironic twist, she's been able to use her extra free time this summer to spend some time and prepare her 18-year-old son to head off to college where he's planning to study, of all things, artificial intelligence. Can you imagine how John Henry would have reacted if his son had gone off to work for the steam drilling company?


Jess:

It's going to be kids like Casey that are going to be tasked with figuring out how to make things like ChatGPT work responsibly and ethically. They have a huge task at hand. This is going to be a lot bigger than I think they understand, or I think anyone understands right now. And I'm sure someone's going to try to bottle what the human brain can do, and I'm sure they're getting close, but there's so much nuance, so much nuance. I don't know how they're going to do it, but they're going to try.


Dusty Weis:

What about you? How are you doing? How are getting by in the wake of getting laid off here?


Jess:

You lick your wounds, you take some time. Honestly, been okay. Taking my time trying to find my new opportunity. I've got some good things on the horizon. It sounds counterintuitive to what I just experienced, but communication is something that people always need. I am a good fit for many positions, but when you sit back and think about, at least for me, what I went through, yeah, is this going to be the future of my career? Is this a turning point? Is this happening to other people? I'm sure it is. I'm sure there's going to be a lot more. I think though at the end, I can't be that jaded or at least I don't want to be that jaded because this is a tool and ultimately you use the tools around you to make better things.


Dusty Weis:

The phrase that I've seen thrown around a lot is you're not going to be replaced by AI, but you might be replaced by someone who is using AI. And if the choice is adapt or perish, the answer's always going to be adapt. And so now we have to go about redefining how we work in this world with this new tool. It's good to know how to use the tool, but you can't rely on just the tool. Every problem is not a nail.


Well, we could probably teach ChatGPT how to ask this question, but every good writer, every good journalist knows that there's one question that you finish every interview with, and that is, do you have anything else to add?


Jess:

And I knew that you were going to ask that question too.


Dusty Weis:

I learned from the best.


Jess:

Yeah. And I was thinking about it. When this all happened I took it more as a, like you said, a personal affront. But like anything else, I learned from it. As sad as it is, I threw my resume through ChatGPT, and it helped a little bit. It also added some things that I never did. So you definitely have to edit it, but this is not the enemy. AI, ChatGPT is not the enemy. It's another way, and it's something that we have to adapt to.


Dusty Weis:

There's a lot of wisdom in that. Well, Jess, no last name for the purposes of this one. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and wishing you all the best of luck in finding your next step going forward here. But I know you'll land on your feet.


Jess:

Well, thank you for having me, Dusty.


Dusty Weis:

So maybe we don't all need to die with our hammers in our hands like John Henry. Maybe it's enough to just channel that spirit, to remind ourselves that you could teach a machine to string words together or make pictures, but you can't teach it intuition or curiosity or insight into the human condition. Maybe it's time to rededicate ourselves to the idea that the world doesn't need more mediocre content, it needs more inspiration, and that AI is a tool for helping creative people be more creative can be a welcome addition to that palette.


Thanks to Renato Fernandez from TBWA/Chiat/Day as well for his inspired contributions to this episode. And by way of update, Jess, well, since we talked a few weeks ago, she's got some hot leads and is well on her way to landing in a new employer.


I'll also note the alarming number of mediocre LinkedIn posts that I've read over the last six months, recommending that aspiring podcasters should use ChatGPT to generate their scripts and do other odds and ends tasks. And I even had one salesman pushing me to try an AI podcast tool recently. I scoffed and told him that I hadn't spent 20 years honing these skills only to be replaced by an AI that can't hold a candle to what I can do.


And I actually said, "Call me a modern day John Henry." To which he replied, "Who?"


I bring it up not only for the purpose of laughing at such a middling, ludicrous suggestion, but to remind you that Lead Balloon is produced by the good people at Podcamp Media, where we provide branded podcast production services for businesses. Our podcast studios are located at the heart of beautiful downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but we work with brands all over North America, podampmedia.com.


I was the producer, writer, and story editor for this episode. Will Henry and Matt Covarrubius our genuine human dialogue editors. And music for this episode by Andy Ellison, Crack Skippy, Dario Benedetti, Heartland Knights, Ian Kelosky and Wastelander.


So until the next time, folks, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.

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