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Recapping and unpacking the status quo of AI

Morning Brew x Attentive Thread NYC

5 min read

You know what they say about Hump Day. Nope, we’re not talkin’ about Wine Wednesday (though we wouldn’t turn down a pour). Wednesday’s the big midweek hurdle, the gateway to EOW. If you can conquer Wed., the rest of the week is in the bag.

Well, let it be known Hump Day was indeed crushed last Wednesday, May 15.

We were at Attentive’s Thread event to host our panel, Demystifying AI. If you’re new to the game, Thread is a series of in-person events spanning five different cities in three different countries 🤯.

We joined Attentive on stage in NYC to cover the topic currently on everyone’s minds: AI. Together, we dove headfirst into the real-world applications of AI tools and how they’re revolutionizing performance metrics, not to mention sneaky knowledge gaps that might be holding us back.

If you missed out, here’s your recap of Thread’s most insightful convos. Keep scrollin’ for the full scoop.

AI is 100% here to stay

No beating around the bush—we jumped straight in by painting a portrait of AI’s status quo within the marketing landscape.

Pattern co-founder and CBO Suze Dowling spoke about how marketers can use this new tech to enhance productivity. She characterized AI as a super-handy copilot, a tool of efficiency that can help marketers off-load boring, tedious stuff—workflows, repetitive tasks, and administrative activities—so they can spend more time focusing on high-value creative work.

Dowling pointed to AI’s well-established presence in programmatic advertising to create more predictive, customer-friendly strategies that can generate the big bucks.

Christine Lane, Head of Innovation and Experience at DDB, also dug into the nuts and bolts of AI in marketing. She looked at how advertisers are experimenting with AI across the entire creative process, particularly when it comes to building out audience profiles.

She discussed how marketing teams are creating synthetic versions of their audience to then use as living, breathing chatbots that can interact with customers in real, meaningful ways. Minds: utterly blown 🤯.

“AI is not going to replace marketers, but marketers who use AI will replace marketers who don’t.” —Suze Dowling

Curious about use cases?

People want to know more about AI’s capabilities. Dowling spoke about fostering a culture of curiosity at Pattern by creating AI challenge competitions for her teams, where employees are rewarded for doing something with AI that gets the office talking. She emphasized the need to begin thinking about our relationship with AI as one of exploration rather than mastery.

“I always think, there are no experts here. We’re all AI explorers. It’s about curiosity, but you need a plan to keep the journey productive,” she said.

Lane followed up Dowling’s emphasis on curiosity by stressing how important it is to develop your own AI use cases. She noted the widespread discussion surrounding AI’s current limitations, but argued that its lack of consistency offers a perfect foundation for experimentation and innovation.

Breakthroughs really are born through curiosity and wading through the dark.

“Identify the use case. Start small and build from there. Measure the result and then push it one step further. It’s only when we start conducting experiments that we’ll be able to make progress.” —Christine Lane

There are lots of myths floating around

To wrap things up, we went ahead and busted a few common myths in the AI space. Morning Brew Executive Editor Josh Sternberg debunked the common belief that AI will inevitably replace human jobs and, ya know, take over the world.

Sternberg drew a clear line between what people might consider “scary” AI—things like cognizant robotic dogs—and “general AI.” The latter, he argued, is essentially technology that we’ve had for a while but stronger. The version of AI we see and use every day is so prevalent and well established that it shouldn’t be feared or dismissed.

Lane followed Sternberg by addressing the general trend toward sensationalizing AI.

“AI is trending, so everyone is trying to get the topic in their headlines,” she said, before highlighting how important it is to remain somewhat skeptical of the buzz: “Take a critical eye toward the catchall language—is it really AI?”

Dowling concluded things by noting how AI can actually democratize the creative process and give tools to everyone. AI, like all tech, offers great power to change things and equal the playing field, but it also comes with great responsibility.

It’s here to stay, so we need to begin thinking about its future.

“A pen is a tool. It gets thoughts from my brain to paper that I can then send to millions of people. AI is on this same ladder but several rungs up.” —Josh Sternberg

AI sparks so many questions and opinions, and it gives us plenty of opportunities to consider the future. We were honored to share the stage with Attentive and tackle some of them. To truly understand AI (and how it can boost your biz), you need to dig deep and remain open-minded.

Only then can you use AI’s (incredible) power to propel your business forward.

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