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What did we learn from ‘dashcon 2023’ in Manila?

by Joanna Deala

IT was definitely a productive and knowledge-packed Wednesday for professionals from different industries, particularly business and marketing, who attended the four-part artificial intelligence-centered roadshow “dashcon 2023.” 

The convention, organized by content platform DashoContent, aimed to fuel professionals with knowledge about AI and how it is ethically integrated into businesses and marketing. 

This year’s theme is “I’m Not A Robot: Navigating Business and Marketing in the AI Era.” 

“Dashcon 2023” kicked off in Cebu City in October and concluded at AWS Philippines in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on November 29. 

There have been misconceptions about AI, and that’s what the roadshow wanted to enlighten people about. Here are some takeaways from the Manila leg of “dashcon 2023:”

AI can help in ‘revolutionizing’ storytelling

AI has existed in the digital arena for decades, but it only gained traction when it was further developed to be the advanced technology that it is now, which made several individuals feel threatened about their careers.

Bran Reluao. Photo courtesy: Ryan Baldemor | republicasia

But for millennial chief executive officer Bran Reluao of republicasia, AI is not something that humans in the workforce should be scared of. Instead, it is a tool that can actually help them elevate their work.

One example is how it helps republicasia, a digital platform dedicated to the young generation, with its storytelling.

The digital disruptor specifically noted how AI became a collaborator to republicasia in improving the way it delivers narratives to its targeted audience, which is the young generation. He recalled how AI helped the digital platform calculate and enhance data under a pressing deadline.

It also helped the Gen Z-run newsroom to better understand its young audiences.

“As we understand our audience, we’re able to engage and create content that really resonates with the younger generation,” Reluao said in his keynote speech.

Reluao believes that combining AI with human insights can “revolutionize” storytelling, and that is what republicasia aims to achieve.

AI can lighten loads of overworked employees

Each of us has only one brain and a body, but most of the time, we are forced to shoulder workloads that require at least five individuals to execute. 

While we understand that we need to be flexible in doing our tasks, we’re all just humans who get drained and burned out from ticking all the boxes on our to-do list. We became overworked to the point that we’re not just suffering physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

These overworked employees include marketers or those individuals who promote themselves as “a perfect partner” to “someone they are trying to win over,” said DashoContent chief executive officer Fleire Castro.

Fleire Castro. Photo courtesy: Ryan Baldemor | republicasia

During the roadshow, Castro cited a 2021 study that found that there was an increase in mental health issues among marketers. It noted that 62.6 percent of them faced major mental health effects because of their workload.

Like other jobs, marketers do not stick to one task. They don’t finish their working day by just creating content and publishing it–they have to juggle a lot of things, including strategic management and resource management.

So how does AI help these overworked employees? Simple. This advanced technology can help reduce their workload by finishing a certain task a lot faster. Castro listed down the many advantages this may give to the human workforce, but one that really made an impression on the audience is the generative AI.

Generative AI can automate, augment, and accelerate a marketer’s work by producing various content, but for Castro what’s more interesting about this technology is its ability to “see,” “understand,” and “create visual content.”

Castro mentioned several AI tools that can do these things. The list includes GPT-4 Vision which gives marketers a clear picture of an illegible text such as doctors’ prescriptions.

“You can upload it on GPT-4 Vision, and it will tell you what the doctor was actually trying to give you or recommend,” she said.

AI also helps marketers determine the tone of a brand’s voice, said Castro. 

“Some brands are like super professional, serious tones, but some brands are also funny and young. When you put your website, it will try to detect your brand voice,” she added.

Another use of AI is it helps marketers generate their own visual content through tools like Dall.E image creator. Through this, Castro said they can get credits and produce their own images, may it be for professional or personal use.

AI hasn’t outmatched humans’ abilities

The roadshow did not end without the speakers tackling ethical concerns about AI, including the dilemma of job displacement.

Witnessing what AI can now do, many workers expressed concern that such technology might replace them in the future. It may have a lot of advantages, but Castro emphasized that human skills remain beyond the reach of AI.

“AI can do a lot of things that humans can do. It can now see, it can understand, it can even hear, it can create. The only thing that’s left is actually to get a body for the AI,” the digital marketing consultant said.

But she stressed, “It has not surpassed a lot of things that humans can.”

Photo courtesy: Ryan Baldemor | republicasia

AI is not something humans should be afraid of. Castro said that people should instead look at it as their “partner” in their workplace.

“For me, I believe AI can be your partner. Think of it like the assistant, a co-host, a co-organizer. Everything that has a ‘co-,’ AI can do that for you,” she said.

Castro ended the event by encouraging professionals to dig deep into AI, especially since no one knows yet how such technology will become more advanced in the next few years in this ever-changing digital world.

“We have to be AI literate not just as employees, as startup founders, as business owners, but also, you have to look for partners that are AI literate at this point,” said.

There are many things about AI that many of us still don’t know and understand. Perhaps, this roadshow might be the starting point for us to explore more about AI.



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