Artificial Intelligence Use: A Framework For Determining What Tasks to Outsource To AI [Template].

AI Framework Template for AI Use
With any new technology, there are benefits and unintended consequences. Often the negative outcomes happen without thought or planning. We get caught up in the “new shiny object” mesmerized by its “magical capabilities.” That happened with social media. We can’t go back on that technology, but we are in the early stages of AI. In WIRED Rachel Botsman called for frameworks to do more to avoid the negative of tech developments.

Before jumping all in, ask, “What role should AI play in our tasks?”

Just because AI can do something doesn’t mean it is good or it should. AI’s capabilities are both exciting and frightening causing some to be all in and others to be all out. Being strategic takes more nuance. Be intentional about planning the role AI could and should play in your job or business with the AI Use Template below.
AI Framework Template for AI Use
Click the image to download a PDF template.

First, make a list of common tasks and the goal of each.

List tasks you perform in your job, on client projects, or in daily business operations. Then describe the goal of the task. Understanding the goal can help determine the human versus AI value in it. If the goal is to build a personal relationship with a customer or client, AI outsourcing may save time but undermine the task objective.

Recently a university outsourced their commencement speaker to an AI robot. Students started an unsuccessful petition for a speaker who could offer a “human connection.” The AI robot’s speech was described as weird and unmoving. Without any personal anecdotes, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “Sophia … delivered an amalgamation of lessons taken from other commencement speakers.”

Second, determine which type of AI Function each task requires.

The six AI functions (Generate, Extract, Summarize, Rewrite, Classify, Answer Questions) are modified from Christopher S. Penn’s AI Use Case Categories. Can the task be performed by one or multiple of these AI functions? If yes, you still want to consider how well AI can perform the function compared to a human and consider benefits that may be lost outsourcing to AI.

In my ad career clients often asked why a certain phrase or benefit was in the ad copy or ad script. Because I wrote it, I could explain it. It could be human insight from research (which AI can summarize), truths from lived experience, or talking with customers. If AI wrote the copy or script it may be missing and I wouldn’t know why AI wrote what it did. If you ask AI it often doesn’t know. Scientists call this the “unknowability” of how AI works.

Third, categorize the level of thinking each task entails.

The six levels of thinking (Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create) are modified from Oregon State’s Bloom’s Taxonomy Revisited. Bloom’s Taxonomy categorizes levels of thinking in the learning process. It was revisited to consider AI’s role. In each level determine the level of the task and discern AI’s capabilities versus distinctive human skills.

I had a student create a situation analysis of Spotify with ChatGPT. It was good at extracting information, summarizing, and suggesting alternatives (AI Capabilities of the Create Level). It wasn’t good at “Formulating original solutions, incorporating human judgment, and collaborating spontaneously” (Create Level Distinctive Human Skills). GPT’s recommendations lacked the nuanced understanding I’d expect from professionals or students.

Fourth, review the legal and ethical issues of outsourcing to AI.

Does the task require uploading copyrighted material? Are you able to copyright the output (copy/images) to sell to a client or protect it from competitor use? Does your employer or client permit using AI in this way? Are you sharing private or proprietary data (IP)? What’s the human impact? For some AI will take some tasks. For others, it could take their entire job.

Many companies are adding AI restrictions to contracts for agency partners. Samsung and other businesses are restricting certain AI use by employees. There’s concern about performance or customer data uploaded into AI systems training a model competitors could use. Some agencies and companies are developing Closed AI versus Open AI to run local AI storing data on local versus cloud servers. For a summary of main AI legal concerns see “The real costs of ChatGPT” by Mintz.

Fifth, employ human agency to produce desirable results.

We shouldn’t be resigned to undesirable outcomes because AI change is complex and happening quickly. Penn’s TRIPS Framework for AI Outsourcing includes “pleasantness.” The more Time consuming, Repetitive, less Important, less Pleasant tasks that have Sufficient data are better candidates for AI. Don’t give away your human agency. Decide on your own or influence others to save the good stuff for yourself.

A post on X (Twitter) by author Joanna Maciejewska struck a nerve going viral, “You know what the biggest problem with pushing all-things-AI is? Wrong Direction. I want AI to do my laundry and dishes so I can do art and writing, not for AI to do my art and writing so that I can do my laundry and dishes.” She later clarified that it wasn’t about actual laundry robots, “it’s about wishing that AI focused on taking away those tasks we hate and don’t enjoy instead of trying to take away what we love to do and what makes us human.”

Marketers are getting this message. In a survey of CMOs most are using AI for draft copy and images that are refined by humans. And over 70% are concerned about AI’s impact on creativity and brand voice.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and afraid of the AI future.

As Tech leaders sprint forward in an AI arms race and regulators woefully lag behind, the rest of us shouldn’t sit back and wait for our world to change. Unlike the Internet and social media, let’s be more intentional. Don’t fall prey to The Tradeoff Fallacy believing that to gain the benefits of AI we must give everything away.

In Co-Intelligence, Ethan Mollick says it’s important to keep the human in the loop. It’s not all-or-nothing. Some warn of a future when we don’t have choices in what role AI plays in our lives. It’s not the future. Today we can choose how to use AI in our professional, educational, and personal lives.

What keeps me hopeful is breaking my job and life down into tasks and making intentional decisions on what to outsource to AI. Using this framework allows me to get excited about the possibilities of AI taking over my least favorite or most time consuming tasks. In my next post, I’ll give some specific examples using this framework.

This Was Human Created Content!

Are You My Audience? 7 Misconceptions About Target Audiences in Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategy.

How to determine target audience.

A narrowly focused message stands out and reaches and motivates an audience. General messages addressing everyone get lost in the crowd. As a communication professional or student, you need to know the target audience for any strategy or plan.

How to determine target audience.

Usually, clients do provide a target audience defined by the various bases of segmentation shown above. Yet it is not always the right target. Oftentimes business people are good at their business but are not the best marketers. Even top marketers at Fortune 500s can get it wrong. If you don’t start with the right target your strategy will not be successful and not meet the objectives the client is hiring you to help deliver.

Remember that clients are hiring you or you are getting a new project from a boss because current efforts are not working. There is a problem to be solved. Sometimes it’s an SEO problem, sometimes a social media content problem, but it can also be a target audience problem. How do you know you have the right target?

  1. Don’t assume your target is your social media followers. A client for the social media agency BSquared defined their target audience as 18-24 year-olds. They had the most followers from this age group. Yet BSquared took the time to look at additional social listening data beyond the brand pages and social media and digital advertising data. They found that the next two older age groups actually accounted for 90% of sales compared to just 10% of sales coming from the younger group.
  2. Don’t assume everyone that could use the product is your target. Gatorade learned this shifting to a mass-market target of hydration for everyone 18-49 and sales declined 10%. The core athlete got the message – Gatorade was no longer for them. Further research revealed high school and endurance athletes made up just 22% of customers but accounted for 46% of all sales. Only when they focused back on these two niche audiences with fewer mass ads and more target digital ads did sales return.
  3. Don’t assume the people who use the product are your target. Proctor & Gamble’s brand Old Spice sales were declining. Additional consumer research revealed that women purchase 60% of all men’s body washes. For the first time, the brand targeted women as the audience for its men’s brand. Within a year, sales grew 125% surpassing competitors to become the #1 brand in the category.
  4. Don’t assume your target audience is current customers. When sales level off or decline marketers need to reach a new group of people that is not their current users. The market for two-door coupe cars has been declining for years. The Ford Mustang Mach-E all-electric SUV is designed to reach a new audience. Targeting current Mustang drivers would not be effective as the car was designed to gain EV market share from Tesla. In the first year of sales, 70% of Mach-E buyers were new to the Ford brand.
  5. Don’t assume there is only one target audience. There may be multiple target audiences that influence a purchase decision. Colleges know that parents influence high school students’ college decisions. Therefore, enrollment strategies often include a primary target audience of high school students with a secondary target audience of parents of high school-age children. Messages and channels must be targeted for both.
  6. Don’t assume the target is consumers of the product. Other audiences can be selected for corporate communication and public relations to manage company reputation with employees, investors, suppliers, regulators and the media. With the Crock-Pot ‘This Is Us’ crisis an episode of the popular show killed the main character in a fire from the brand’s faulty product. The PR agency responded quickly with a message to multiple stakeholders assuring the public that Crock-Pots were safe.
  7. Don’t assume the latest hyped up platform is your target. As marketers, we tend to be attracted to new shiny objects. If the trade press is hyping up something new like Second Life, Google+, Meerkat, Blab, Clubhouse, Ello, it may be good to check it out and experiment. But don’t make the platform your target audience pulling money and resources out of existing platforms that are generating revenue now. Not every new social app lives up to the hype like TikTok. TikTok’s large user base still skews much younger and may not be a good place to reach an older target audience.

Also, note that business to business (B2B) target audiences are usually segmented with different variables called firmographics based on company size, industry, geographic market, and business needs. A B2B target audience can include people with certain job titles, and members of professional organizations.

If you are a marketer at a business or marketing communications professional working for the business, it is always good practice to verify that the target audience is really who you think. You need the right target audience to meet the business objectives. How do you know you are addressing the right business objectives? Perform a Root Cause Analysis.