What if Sam Altman is only half right about AI doing 95% of your work?

Kyodo Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

This is what Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said in an interview last fall:

“It will mean that 95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today will easily, nearly instantly and at almost no cost be handled by the AI — and the AI will likely be able to test the creative against real or synthetic customer focus groups for predicting results and optimizing. Again, all free, instant, and nearly perfect. Images, videos, campaign ideas? No problem.”

To put this into context, he’s not talking about GPT-4 or the upcoming GPT-5. He’s talking about when AI achieves Artificial General Intelligence, AGI.

AGI is broadly defined as the stage at which an AI model gains enough skills to perform any task that humans can do, with equal or better proficiency.

We’re not there yet.

Sam Altman predicts we’ll be there in 5 years. Futurist and investor Ray Kurzweil agrees. Elon Musk predicts AGI will be with us by 2025.

It’s at that point – the achievement of AGI – that Sam Altman predicts 95% of marketing tasks will be handled by AI.

This isn’t just about marketing, it applies to all knowledge work.

Altman was asked specifically about the marketing industry in that interview. Hence the focus on marketing in his answer. But there’s no reason to think the same wouldn’t apply to all knowledge work, across multiple industries.

If he’s right, or even just half right, the implications are stunning. Beyond imagination. This would impact the lives of millions of people. And we have only 5 years to plan and adapt.

Humans have adapted to many technological advances over the centuries, from the invention of the printing press, radio, TV, and the Internet.

But in each case, these technologies evolved slowly, over the course of decades, or close. People had time. Legislators had time.

The thing with AGI is that its impact will be universal, and pretty much instantaneous. How can we, as a society, even begin to deal with that?

Huge questions, way above my pay grade!

As for marketing writers, we have a small window of opportunity.

The AI tools we have right now, like GPT-4, Gemini, Claude-3 and others, are just a starting point… the equivalent of a the original “brick” cellular phone.

We’re at the “brick” moment right now… but the iPhone moment is coming soon.

As a writer, how do you plan to stand out and thrive? What’s your plan to put yourself among the 5%, and not the 95% replaced by AI?

If you’ve been reading my posts recently, you’re already familiar with my 2-step plan.

Step 1 is to lean into the technology. Learn about AI and the writing tools it powers. Get to the point where your expertise is at a level that allows you help and support your clients with their own struggles to adapt to AI.

Step 2 is to do something AI can’t do… and that is to write with a high level of emotional intelligence. AI tools can read about human emotions, and can only pretend to feel them… second hand.

As I wrote recently, “AI can’t shake with anger, tremble with fear, or burst into tears.” In other words, AI can’t experience the full-body, physiological experience of feeling emotions.

Tap into that deep well of emotions as a writer, and you’ll always have something to offer, beyond what any AI can achieve.

Want to know how… before it’s too late?

Check out my course, Futureproof Copywriting.

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