It’s been just over a year since the world collectively hit the snooze button on its AI awareness slumber party, awakened only by the jarring buzzwords and headline-grabbing capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In hindsight, that launch served as a cannon shot across the bow, kicking off what has become an increasingly fierce commercial AI arms race.
In fact, as we close out the year, the battle lines are drawn, the stakes are higher than ever, and the future of AI is hurtling towards us like a runaway freight train. So, grab your popcorn and buckle up because this is going to be a wild ride.
For those of us with a memory of prior technological shifts, we are seeing strong parallels to the early days of search. Many are asking: is Google the AOL in this new tech battle? R.I.P. to all those free internet CD-ROMs that used to come in the mail. Will ChatGPT be AI’s ‘Ask Jeeves’? It’s certainly off to a great start but could quickly fade away if management doesn’t align sooner than later. Has Microsoft Bard learned anything from the search work done with Bing? And perhaps most importantly, is this all just an AI-driven simulation? (Eh, perhaps we’ll leave that topic for another post).
The battlefield of commercial AI is awash with unspent resources, ready to fuel further advancements. In fact, the investment community sees an opportunity as even bigger than the internet itself. In the words of tech investor Gene Munster who recently appeared on CNBC; “If I think about the scale of how transformative AI is; if we put electricity in at 100, I’d put AI at 90, the Internet at 50 and smartphones at 30.”
And the bullish outlook is certainly there for consumers too as AI usage quickly moves across the adoption scale, jumping from innovator audience to early adopter fanatics in short order. Nearly every corner of the economy and tech infrastructure is in the crosshairs of AI’s disruptive force, with search especially vulnerable.
And, after more than 20 years of Google’s dominance in search, we may finally see a fundamental shift away from the brand. AI is changing how we discover and retrieve answers to our questions and threatens to take a bite out of Google’s lunch. Many industry trackers concede that the tables may be turning now that Google has launched Gemini. For those following, it turned out to be a bungled unveiling that wowed audiences at first before facing immediate scrutiny when it was revealed that the demo may have been faked. Regardless, Google’s clearly in the hunt and may even leapfrog OpenAI with what appears to be next-generation tech. We shouldn’t count them out but rather watch how the brand adapts in the coming months and years.
No matter where you stand on AI, the new year will likely prove dizzying when it comes to advancements in the space and expect a series of “leapfrogging moments” between all players involved – be they Microsoft, OpenAI, Google, or disruptive newbies to the space.
No matter who inches into leadership position, we’re excited to see what these brand advancements bring to the world, and the marketing industry overall.