In dig at AI, Discover ad boasts they have human CSRs

In dig at AI, Discover ad boasts they have human CSRs
Photo Credit: Charanjeet Dhiman on Unsplash

Since ChatGPT emerged from OpenAI at the end of 2022, we've been hearing about how AI is going to take all our jobs. Some suggest it might even have a hand in the current round of big tech layoffs, although it's probably too soon to be laying blame at the feet of Generative AI.

In fact, when I spoke to a group of CIOs at the end of last year, ostensibly to discuss 2024 IT budgets, the conversation inevitably came around to AI. Believe me, these folks have noticed AI, and they are looking into it carefully, but the folks I spoke to were moving cautiously.

What's more, they were concerned about how to measure the supposed increased in efficiency and productivity they were hearing about by replacing or augmenting a human with AI. Will the increased cost – for example, Microsoft charges an extra $30 per user per month to use Copilot for Office 365 – actually pay for itself or save money over the long haul.

Yet a clear resentment is building for AI. Witness the attack on a Waymo car in San Francisco as proof that at least some people resent the idea of robots and AI and the impact they could have on society.

That's why I noticed with interest, this Discover ad over the weekend during the Super Bowl that actually boasted it had human customer service reps. Actress Jennifer Coolidge tells the rep, "You robots are sounding more human every day." The CSR replies that's because she is human, and voice over says, "At Discover, everyone can talk to a human representative."

It's a fascinating take, turning the idea of using customer service bots on its head, and gloating that it's only going to use human reps. It may be something we see increasingly going forward. As some companies look at AI as a way to allegedly cut personnel costs, others will see using humans as a strategic advantage.

I could see a similar dynamic in the future with art and writing, where people will look for human-generated content. Of course, it might not be so simple, as the lines begin to blur between human-augmented versus fully AI-generated.

But let's not forget that every generative AI piece is generated on the backs of other humans' work used to build the large language models on which generative AI feeds. Only humans can generate something original, at least for the foreseeable future. And some people may want to know humans were involved, as the Discover ad writers showed with their very human originality and creativity.