Change isn’t coming. Change is here already and it’s getting faster.  

An AI revolution is in full swing thanks to massive advancements in machine learning capabilities over the last few years. Like previous revolutions, the way we work will change dramatically and greater automation will increase workplace efficiency and productivity.

The question is: Is AI a risk or an opportunity for agencies?
The answer: Early adopters will gain a massive advantage. Those who resist change will ultimately lose out.

There will soon be Machine Masters dominating the agency space who know exactly how to use AI to complement their workforce. They will realise humans and machines can work hand-in-hand, where each provides essential contributions to operations and ultimately growth.

What is a Machine Master?

Machine Masters are agencies at the forefront of the AI revolution, integrating technology into their businesses to drive better results for themselves and their customers. They realise it’s not about replacing humans with robots – it’s about building collective intelligence to increase agency efficiency, productivity and speed whilst improving the effectiveness of customer marketing spend.

With AI’s deep learningcapabilities and 24/7 availability, machines will simply be more efficient at certain tasks than humans and this list is getting longer all the time, encroaching on creative and visual domains as well as the more obvious analytical ones. It’s going to be extremely common for AI to take on workloads that have historically been resource intensive. There will, however, always be a need for human judgement, creativity and action within the workplace, and symbiotic working will bring about the best results.

Being a Machine Master means being able to bring human and machine strengths together to unlock value and growth.

Agencies need to understand AI and its implications. Now

Many industry leaders are getting more and more comfortable with AI already. ChatGPT passed a million daily users in five days – something that took Netflix three years*. Many agencies are already considering how to best use the technology. As with many market developments, these early adopters will gain a critical advantage from the vital activities of experimentation and learning.  

Currently there’s a lot of discussion about AI being a threat to jobs. However, this has been said about every ground-breaking technological development in history – from computers to steam engines.

Generally, these developments have not caused long-term unemployment. Instead, they have changed the nature of work as new jobs emerge to complement the latest technological developments… Jobs are at risk when companies fail to adapt to modern technology, or do so too late.

Failure to utilise tech advancements puts your agency at a competitive disadvantage.

Deploying AI effectively

AI is much better than humans at making objective predictions based on large volumes of data. We have in-built biases and are unable to effectively assimilate large amounts of data, which is where machines excel. 

This means that in no time at all, automation is going to swamp prediction-centric and research-based agency tasks. This includes tasks traditionally considered creative in nature, such as the generation of written and visual content, which are essentially just a specialised form of prediction.

In contrast, humans are vastly superior than machines at making judgements. It will be hard for AI to understand personal preference in the way humans can, and for all its merits, AI applications like ChatGPT lack our skills in forming opinions. AI can mimic many human qualities such as empathy, storytelling and reasoning, but it is not sentient; it’s just making statistical predictions based on the data.

It is getting more and more unproductive for agencies to continue to use expensive humans to do operational tasks that machines can do faster and cheaper. Those remaining in this middle ground will become progressively less competitive over time. Much better to let machines do what they do best and humans do what they do best: machines make the predictions; humans make the judgements.

How to become a Machine Master

To continue business success, every agency leader needs to become a Machine Master. Our Tech Growth Advisory team are experts in this field and can help you tackle AI and other emerging technologies to give your agency the boost it needs.

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Martin Ward is a Partner at Waypoint with 30+ years’ experience in the software industry. He has recently been appointed West Midlands Tech Commissioner.