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Facing an Uncertain Future

Texas PRSSA Social Media Committee

November 20th, 2018

As I was sitting in an advertising class listening to a guest lecturer discuss the future

of “Artificial Intelligence” within the advertising industry, I couldn’t help but feel slightly

alarmed by the visualization that popped up in my head. While most other people my age get excited or intrigued by AI marketing, I tend to fixate on how this technology could impact job security, privacy rights, and how it forces business professionals to adapt more than they ever have had to before to an ever-changing job market. Josh Phipps, the guest lecturer from “The Richards Group” in Dallas, discussed how much his own job has changed within the last few years. Because of the proliferation of social media and new forms of

communicating with potential consumers, Phipps told our class that he doesn’t even have

the same job description that he did when he was hired. Is this an exciting trend or a

terrifying one? Should students be expectant for what these changes could bring to the

industry or frightened that they won’t be able to keep up with it?

In addition, Josh told the students in my class that even though UT graduates have

the advantage of experiencing one of the most prestigious programs in the country for

advertising, it does not guarantee success in the industry. He had us each look around at the

other students sitting next to us. He told us that we were each other’s competition and that

we would all be competing for the same jobs. This thought was extremely intimidating and

daunting. Public Relations and advertising are industries that require constant awareness of

the kind of world we live and work in. Today’s media professionals are not only aware of

these up and coming trends but they also act as trailblazers for these trends.

AI is one of the largest technological trends leading today’s emerging industries. It

affects every facet of marketing; from communicating with consumers to collecting mass

amounts of data to connecting companies to agencies. Some people (like me) can look at AI

as a somewhat mysterious, frightening technology that we may or may not be able to

control in the future. People like me are the conspiracy theorists, the ones who struggle to

jump on the train of advanced technology because we are afraid of the technology we do not quite trust or understand. Others who actually work within the industry disagree. Michael

Krigsman, an industry analyst, says that AI is simply a tool used to achieve a desired result.

He asserts that AI is “neither the next great hope for marketers nor something to fear and avoid,” and also warns that “with great responsibility comes the ability to become annoying-

and even creepy.”

When it comes to deciding whether or not AI is revolutionary or invasive, the decision

is ultimately up to the consumer to accept or reject related marketing strategies. However, the responsibility lies with the marketers to create an industry that values ethical

standards. The guest lecture with Josh Phipps inspired me to do more research on my own

time regarding AI and other emerging technologies. Those who want to be successful in any

industry must understand all the facets of how it functions and thrives. Awareness of new

products and trends is vital to understanding how these ideas will shape and alter the job

market we will find ourselves in after college. Whether we can get behind all of these

changes or not, knowledge and recognition are the first steps to finding our footing on the

uncertain ground of the industry’s future.

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