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

AI Framework Template for AI Use
This is the first post in a series of five on AI. 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!