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Perspective: Remember, AI's a tool

Jonny Gios

This month, I'll be presenting a workshop at the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn on technology in marketing and strategic communications. My interest in AI and journalism in graduate school transferred very well to my current marketing career.

I founded Innovative Newsroom Consulting last year when I was unexpectedly laid off from my nonprofit job. My business goals were to work with news organizations on using technology to adapt to the changing media industry — a spin-off of my master's thesis that looked at technology and its use in local news. Then I took a marketing job at a consulting firm.

As various AI technologies continue to evolve, the knowledge I've acquired about technology and communication has been valuable. But what's more valuable is how humans feel. After all, it's consumers that have the purchasing power. No matter how great technology gets, we are the consumers.

One consistency in human behavior is that we don't like being lied to. Another consistency is that we don't like feeling like someone is trying to sell us something. Good marketing and strategic communication are transparent and informative.

When I talk to people about how to use technology to their advantage, an important part of that conversation is how not to use technology. In some cases, the technology we are being sold might not add the value that it promises.

Hopefully, machines will never have purchasing power. As hype and controversy surround AI, we must remember that it was never meant to be anything more than a tool.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Nia Springer-Norris moved to DeKalb in 2021 to pursue a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Journalism Studies. Nia is also a freelance journalist, editor, and communication consultant.