When Everything Is AI…Nothing Is

Las Vegas – a city built on hype—and bad deeds. So it’s very much the perfect backdrop for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, America’s largest trade show with thousands of marquis brands represented. …And a crazy little thing called AI.

AI was EVERYWHERE and built into every—thing you can imagine from care-giving robots to autonomous vehicles to grills, pet collars and wet-dry mops. (Yep). Except not much of it was REALLY AI.

AI is the buzziest of buzzwords right now and EVERYONE wants to get on the train. It’s like Wheel of Fortune and everyone at CES wanted to buy those two vowels this year instead of other now tired hyped buzzwords like Web 3.0, blockchain, crypto, bitcoin, and NFTs. AI is just the next one.

But my problem is that AI stands for something and it’s something pretty scary really. True AI is sentient, meaning it’s alive and this concept challenges our very core as humans. Because if humans are capable of creating life then it can be said that humans are as powerful as God. God created man. Man created AI so man is equal to God. VERY dangerous thinking. True AI is SkyNet, Ultron and the WorldMind (Guardians of the Galaxy) mixed together and thankfully we aren’t there…yet.

So when you call something AI and it’s really just a mop that works against a geofence and has cameras to detect spills and follow its programming, that isn’t being honest. It’s not AI, it’s just some clever tech.

When you call a grill AI because it “learns” how you like your meat prepared, that isn’t true either. That is a complicated program of preferences coded into the software and hardware of that product. It’s NOT AI.

I saw AI toilets (not really AI, just software doing some useful things), AI drawing programs (also not AI, but at least they tap into OpenAI’s ChatGPT so we’re getting closer to something resembling AI. From a branding and comms perspective it’s confusing when you call something by a known scientific/technical term and it isn’t that thing. …And when you confuse, you lose.

Humanity is inching closer to the day of having true AI and if the world’s most brilliant minds are right, we will wish we didn’t. But from YOUR marketing perspective, please don’t go along with the buzzwords and trends just to seem more interesting— be CLEAR about what you’ve got for YOUR customers and secure in the knowledge that it’s useful and good without being tied to AI or any other buzzwords.