Like it or not, it’s time to prepare for an AI avalanche

In the News Social & Digital

In January we attended our 14th Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’ve ever been there, you know that CES provides an amazing lens on the future of technology and its impact on our culture, our businesses, and us personally. We have seen products in their infancy that within a few short years took the market by storm. Of course, we’ve also seen products flame out before ever making it to store shelves.

This year, while there was talk about AI (“Artificial Intelligence”) in concept, you could tell most of the companies were just in the early stages of figuring out how to apply this powerful technology to their products. If you spoke to ten companies, you got ten different interpretations on what AI is. So, it was easy to put AI on our mental “back burners” and focus on things like flying cars (yes, they will hit the market in 2025) and robots.

That was January. By February, we began seeing a technology earthquake start to rumble as AI products like ChatGPT and many others hit the market. By early spring, Futuri introduced “RadioGPT,” which provides computer generated DJ’s with the potential to replace the real thing. Then the creators of ChatGPT suggested that everyone slow down the development of AI because of its unknown implications on humanity, and that was backed up by Elon Musk, Apple’s co-creator Steve Wozniak, and other tech CEO’s. And now, Congress is going to open investigations into the entire thing.

And as all of this has happened over the past five months and I would guess most of you still haven’t figured out what AI is and how it can impact your business.

Frankly, we are all figuring it out. These are early days and whatever AI is today is much different than it will be in a year. So instead of sharing what I think it can do, a few words of advice are below. Over the next several months, we will share what we believe are the best applications for AI.

  1. AI is potentially too big to ignore – We have never seen a technology take off like this (ok, the Metaverse tried and there are already indications it could flame out). But unlike the metaverse, there are significant business applications for AI that should be tested and explored. Our advice is to start reading and watching, and if you’re up to it, experimenting.
  • Don’t focus on the noise – When Futuri announced RadioGPT, the industry exploded in anger, and many began to define AI by its potential to replace humans. This has led many to simply reject AI instead of looking into it and identifying ways where it can help grow revenue and audience. 

Here’s two examples – first, consider using AI to create lead generation for your sales teams. You can put in the parameters that you want and generate a list in seconds. Or, if there’s a large Spanish-speaking community in your market, AI can create a Spanish-language version of your station . . . . in minutes.

But those who simply reject AI because of the noise will miss these opportunities. Don’t be that person.

  • Embrace change – One of the reasons why advertisers are shifting dollars away from legacy media is the impression that radio and television are “old.” AI is squarely on their radar screens and having an AI strategy demonstrates your willingness to modernize and evolve. No harm in that, plus you might discover ways to actually make your business better.

I could go on, but at this stage, I encourage you to do some reading and talking with smart people. There’s definitely something here, and those that act with an open mind and curiosity are ultimately going to benefit. You don’t have to dive into the deep end of the pool right now, but it wouldn’t hurt to get your feet wet.

Or in the words of the greatest coach in college basketball history, John Wooden, “Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry.”

More to follow on AI in the months ahead.

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