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The AI revolution: what is it and why is it happening now – or is it?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for years, but in the last few months, it seems to be all anyone can talk about. Or tweet about. Or post about on any social media platform really.


Why is there so much happening in AI right now? And what does this mean for the future?


Let’s take a closer look at the AI revolution – or is it really accurate to call it a revolution?


But first, let’s go over the basics of AI. 👇


What is Artificial Intelligence?

In simple terms, AI refers to the ability of machines to imitate human intelligence and thought processes. More specifically, AI is a branch of computer science that deals with the development of algorithms and systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, problem-solving, and decision-making.


What is Generative Artificial Intelligence?

Generative AI is a subfield of AI that involves creating new data or content through machine learning algorithms. It does this by generating new outputs that are similar in style or content to the input examples it has been trained on. The goal of generative AI is to create outputs that are creative, unique, and useful in some way, such as generating new ideas, designs, or products.

In simple terms, generative AI creates new things, rather than just recognizing or classifying existing things.

Generative AI is particularly useful in marketing, which is why the marketing industry has been very vocal about AI these past few months. In marketing, the use cases for generative AI are very clear, for example within:


  • Content creation – AI can be used to generate articles, social media posts, product descriptions, and other types of marketing content. This can save time and resources compared to manual content creation.

  • Image and video creation – AI can be used to generate images, videos, and animations, reducing the time and cost associated with manual content creation and increasing the efficiency of the marketing process.

  • Predictive Analytics – AI can be used to analyze customer data and predict future behavior, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and improve marketing strategies.


What are the benefits of AI

AI offers many benefits for businesses and for our society as a whole. Some of these include:

  • Increased efficiency – AI can automate repetitive tasks, reducing the time and resources required to complete them, and improving overall efficiency.

  • Improved accuracy – AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data, detecting patterns and making predictions with high accuracy, reducing human error and improving outcomes.

  • Improved decision-making – AI can provide insights and predictions based on data analysis, supporting better informed and data-driven decision-making in various industries.

  • Innovation – AI is a rapidly evolving field with the potential to drive new breakthroughs and technologies, leading to economic growth and improved quality of life.


Is the AI revolution happening now?

Some people talk about an AI revolution happening in 2023 - others talk more specifically about a generative AI revolution. And some claim that the AI revolution started years ago. The truth is – so much is happening in the field right now that it’s hard to predict specific milestones or revolutions at the moment.


But it might feel as if the generative AI revolution is happening in 2023, for several reasons:

  • The increasing availability of high-quality data and computing power has made it possible for AI models to generate more accurate and sophisticated outputs.

  • The advancements in generative AI have made it possible to generate new and creative content in areas such as text, images, music, and even videos - faster and more efficiently than ever before.

  • There is a growing demand for generative AI in various industries such as marketing, entertainment, and design, as it allows for the creation of unique and personalized content at scale.

  • The new class of AI language models like OpenAI’s GPT-3 (explained below), are more powerful and flexible than ever before. These language models are now being used to build practical tools and real products that can be used by anyone.

💡 What does it mean? GPT-3 - a very advanced artificial intelligence language model created by OpenAI. GPT-3 is one of the largest AI language models to date and represents a significant advance in the field of AI language processing. It has demonstrated the ability to generate coherent and diverse text, perform language tasks with high accuracy, and even create original content in a variety of styles. ChatGPT, the chatbot that was released in late 2022 and took the world by storm, is a fine-tuned version of GPT-3 specifically designed for conversational AI.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of research and development projects focused on AI, leading to improved algorithms, increased investment, and increased adoption of AI in various industries.


The future of AI

The future of AI is both exciting and uncertain. On the one hand, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work, improving our lives in countless ways. On the other hand, there are significant risks associated with the use of AI. For example, AI could be used for malicious purposes like deceiving people or attacking networks. And it could be programmed to be unfair and make social and economic inequalities worse. What's more, it's hard to tell if something is wrong with AI because it's not always transparent or accountable.


AI is getting more and more advanced every day, so it's important that we invest in R&D and work toward creating AI systems that are ethical and responsible. We also need to make sure we have the right regulations in place. The EU is working on an AI Act – a proposed European law on AI and also the first law on AI by a major regulator. In the US, there was an initial approach to AI regulation in 2022, focused on specific AI-use cases, but more general AI regulatory initiatives will most likely come in 2023.


Learn more about AI

So much is happening in AI right now and as a beginner, it can be hard to filter through all the noise. Of course, we will continue to cover AI in our newsletter, so make sure to subscribe to At Scale if you want to keep learning more.


Here are a few additional resources that we recommend, all beginner-friendly.


Free online course - Elements of AI

In Elements of AI, a free course created by MinnaLearn and the University of Helsinki - you get an introduction to artificial intelligence for beginners. The course combines theory with practical exercises and you can go through it at your own pace. Elements of AI is a great place to start if you are a complete beginner and want to learn more about the basic concepts.



Podcast episode - Interview with Sam Altman on The Ezra Klein Show

To try to grasp just how much of an impact AI can potentially have on our future as a society, I highly recommend listening to this episode of The Ezra Klein Show, where journalist Ezra Klein interviews Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI. Although it was recorded in June 2021, the issues they discuss are more relevant than ever.





Podcast episode - Marketing Against the Grain

The podcast Marketing Against the Grain is geared toward marketers and hosted by HubSpot’s CMO and SVP of Marketing, Kipp Bodnar and Kieran Flanagan.

In this episode, they discuss whether AI is the next iPhone or the next internet, and how innovation within AI unlocks new business opportunities, especially for marketers.





Final words

The AI revolution might be here, or it might have started years ago - depending on who you ask. Either way, make sure to buckle up because we’ve only seen the beginning of AI’s impact on us as a society.

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