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Codeword’s AI perspective in Digiday

Plus: A few thoughts on AI and creativity

February 20, 2024

Headshot of Kyle Monson - Founding partner at Codeword

Kyle Monson


Antoinette Siu had a good piece in Digiday yesterday about how agencies can/should/shouldn’t be using AI, which uses me for the scene-setting quote (btw I’m very good at scene-setting quotes, [email protected]). The industry convo about AI is bonkers right now, as you’d expect from an industry full of non-technologist fortunetellers. Codeword has an interesting perspective though, for a few reasons:

  1. several of the big AI leaders are long-time clients
  2. we’re actively pushing and experimenting with the tools
  3. more than half the Codeword team are professional writers and designers, fields that are already impacted by AI

With that in mind, I figured I’d publish the thoughts I shared with Antoinette last week, in case they provoke some thoughts of your own…

What kind of risks do you see in future AI projects?

It’s tricky to figure out the risks for this new generation of AI models, just like it’s tricky to describe what they do. They’re designed specifically to be big, amorphous, and wide-ranging, and to get better over time at the things we’re asking them to do. So it’s hard to pin down specific risks for a technology that has near-infinite use cases. 

In my opinion, what’s most scary for people is that AI made the future much more hazy and unpredictable. This is a powerful new technology that’s very much in its toddler phase, and we don’t know yet what it will grow up to be. 

What I do know is that AI will shake up the status quo, especially in how we get information about the world around us, how we build, and how we express ourselves. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. The same technology that can destabilize industries can also be super empowering for individuals.

What are some of the exciting areas for agencies doing AI right now?

There have been a bunch of stunts and gimmicks that get the most industry attention around AI. But I’m especially excited about how AI is being integrated into tools we’re already using, like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office. Where the AI goes from being a tab in my browser to a tool that’s fully baked into my workflow on documents, spreadsheets, slides, and emails.

What could become differentiators for agencies?

My north star for Codeword is that we’ll use AI to become “digital centaurs” (wish I’d come up with that term but I didn’t). In other words, we’ll all harness the technology to work faster, more creatively, and more efficiently. The agencies that will thrive will set expectations that everyone gets comfortable with these tools, and know how to use them responsibly, rather than a team of specialists who sit in the corner and are siloed from the real day-to-day work.   


Also, the AI discourse has been particularly heated the past few days. Here’s a fav from the socials…

Why isn’t AI doing the tedious shit for creative people instead of the creative shit for tedious people

That’s the dream! And some spicy AI takes in my inbox this week…

Garbage Day: “Studios won’t be making a ‘TV show’ with AI because by the time AI is good enough to make one they won’t exist anymore.” 

Flaming Hydra: “There are few genuine conspiracies in the Information Age, but I think this is one of them: that art itself is mere information, that it exists to flatter an audience, and that there is no value in it above that flattery, and money it can bring.”

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