AI Task Framework: What I’d Outsource To AI And What I Wouldn’t.

This is the second post in a series of five on AI. In my last post, I introduced an AI task framework to be more intentional about why and how we use AI in our jobs, businesses, or organizations. In this post, I’ll give some examples based on my previous career as an ad copywriter.

AI Framework Template for AI Use Click on the image to download a PDF template.

As an ad copywriter, some everyday Tasks and Goals included:

  1. Fill out timesheets detailing what I worked on each day to bill time to clients and projects to get paid.
  2. Research a client’s business and industry to demonstrate knowledge of their unique challenges and opportunities.
  3. Create ideas for campaigns and individual ads to sell to a client and publish to help meet their marketing objectives.
  4. Write social media ad copy for social media marketing to generate engagement and conversions for a client.

(1.) I could see outsourcing my timesheets to AI.

I envision an AI assistant that Extracts (AI Function) file use logs from programs like Microsoft Word, Categorizes (AI Function) by job number, and Creates (Level of Thinking) a spreadsheet listing client, job, and time. I could review and adjust it before submitting.

After thinking of this AI outsource example, I discovered that Microsoft is adding this capability. Copilot for time entry creates time entries for team members without navigating through forms or filling details with dropdowns, generating first drafts for users to modify and confirm for timesheet submission.

The Level of Thinking in this example is Applying a process to Create a suggestion for my time entry (AI Capabilities). It doesn’t require creativity or imagination and I maintain final human judgment on accuracy (Distinctive Human Skill). By tracking job numbers no Copyrighted or Proprietary data is used. Human impact is positive. Everyone I knew hated doing timesheets. What we loved was coming up with ideas (Legal & Ethical Use).

(2.) AI could help with some aspects of client research.

AI could Answer Questions (AI Function) like “What are the current challenges and opportunities in the ice cream industry?” An open system like GPT would give me general answers based on open sources from the internet that may or may not be the most current, accurate, or relevant.

AI is Understanding (Level of Thinking) on a cursory level (AI Capability). To contextualize this understanding to your client and judge for accuracy (Distinctive Human Skill) you need proprietary data from paid databases like Mintel, your client, or your own research. Your personal experience with the client or industry is an added Distinctive Human Skill.

You could outsource this to AI by uploading proprietary data into an AI model Summarize and Ask Questions. (AI Function). But you’re uploading Copyrighted/Proprietary material without permission (Legal & Ethical Use). Mintel forbids input into AI systems and clients are adding AI restrictions to contracts to protect their data training LLM models a competitor could use.

Some are developing Closed AI versus Open AI systems that run locally storing data on their computers versus the cloud. The ad/PR agency network Publicis is investing in its own internal AI built on proprietary data. When available this could be a great way to quickly get up to speed on a business and industry.

How much I’d outsource depends on my previous experience. If it was a new client or market I was unfamiliar with I may worry how much I’d Understand (Level of Thinking) or Remember (Level of Thinking) if AI did it all. In an in-person meeting would I be able to recall or accurately contextualize information on the fly?

(3.) AI could help with some parts of idea generation.

I would outsource some brainstorming to AI, not idea formation, but AI could give me more material for ideas by Answering Questions (AI Function). Let’s say my client wants to sell water bottles to 25-34-year-olds. I could ask “What do 25-34-year-olds who work out look for in a water bottle?” and “What are current trends with 25-34-year-olds who work out?”

With these prompts, GPT via Copilot Created (Level of Thinking) a list of alternatives (AI capability). From the list, I put together a feature “one-hand operation” with a trend of “functional fitness.” Then I Asked for functional fitness examples. From that list, I put together a humorous image or video scene of a young woman easily sipping out of her Owala with one hand while swinging a heavy Kettlebell with the other. This formulated an original solution (Distinctive Human Skill).

Evaluating AI responses and knowing what to Ask (Level of Thinking) comes from knowledge of the client, problem, market, target, and trends to discern the best and identify AI hallucinations. I’d also use my domain expertise of what concepts are good Remembering (Level of Thinking) from my long-term memory of 17 years of creating ideas for clients (Distinctive Human Skill).

I wouldn’t have AI write ad copy or scripts directly. If it isn’t mostly Created by a human, it can’t be copyrighted to sell to your client or to protect them from use by competitors (Legal & Ethical Use). I’d also check my agency and client for specific restrictions on AI. Your Knowledge (Level of Thinking) of the client and humans (Distinctive Human Skill) is better at Creating (Level of Thinking) less generic more human copy and scripts.

(4.) AI could help in parts of social media campaign creation.

AI could help brainstorm content Answering (AI Function) “What kind of content do 25-34-year-olds who work out like to see on social media?” I’d Evaluate (Level of Thinking) AI’s best, most accurate suggestions (Distinctive Human Skill). One was “personal anecdotes.” It reminded me of an insight I read in a Mintel report about unused home workout equipment.

I combine this with the text “Peloton brings the motivation of a community to your home.” This gave me a visual idea of unused home workout equipment. I could mockup the social idea using AI to Generate (AI Function) the image. I’d ask “Create an image of an unused, dusty, stationary bike in a basement with a lonely looking guy” (Level of Thinking). This image would help me sell the idea to the client.

Generated with AI (DALL-E 3 via Copilot Designer ∙ June 25, 2024 at 1:33 PM

After approval, my art director and I would consider Copyright issues. Using AI-created artwork for commercial use is unsettled due to sources for training data. Adobe Firefly claimed to be copyright-compliant, but revelations about training data may put Firefly users at legal risk. A trusted photographer may be best to ensure compliance (Legal & Ethical Use).

We’d also consider that the medium sends a message. Does an artificial human and image support Petoton’s message of genuine human connection? I’d weigh the risk of uncanny valley. When tech gets too close to human people get an unsettled feeling. That creepy feeling can be transferred into negative feelings about the brand. Toys R Us and Under Armour have faced backlash for using AI generated video in this way (Legal & Ethical Use).

I also can’t help but think about the human impact. I’ve worked with so many talented creators who add to my ideas with their expertise. If we all decide to use AI instead, photographers, models, illustrators, designers, and writers lose their livelihoods. Levi’s faced a backlash after announcing they’d use AI generated models (Legal & Ethical Use).

Creating content variations (AI Capabilities) is a tedious part of social media. AI could help Generate (AI Function) variations to fit different platforms. I could ask “Write this copy ‘Peloton brings the motivation and community of a gym to the convenience of your home’ in 10 different ways.” I could also tell it to write to a specific length for each platform’s character limits. This type of AI outsourcing is happening. Meta Ad Manager is adding Text Variations and social media management software like Hootsuite with OwlyWriter AI.

Going through this AI task exercise makes me hopeful.

Breaking down my ad job into tasks and making intentional decisions on what to outsource to AI has made me hopeful. It reminds me of our human agency. It helps me visualize what Ethan Mollick describes in his book Co-Intelligence. Instead of replacing all human tasks, we can use AI as a Centaur (division of tasks) and a Cyborg (intertwined alternating subtasks).

Once you decide what tasks to outsource you need to know how to ask AI to get the best results. In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into prompt writing.

This Was Human Created Content!