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The Impact of AI on Brands and People


July 1, 2024 By Carlos Pacheco, Head of Strategy, dentsu X Spain 

Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) cause a disconnect between the economic progress of companies, and the social and cultural advancement of individuals?  

 A dentsu study, surveying hundreds of marketing professionals worldwide across more than 30 countries, sheds light on this intriguing question. It reveals a stark contrast in sentiments towards Generative AI at a professional level versus its societal implications. While over 50% of marketing professionals feel excited about the potential of Generative AI within their companies, less than 30% share this enthusiasm when considering its societal impact. What’s more striking is that over 40% of respondents admit to feeling concerned.xv  

 In Spain where I operate, these contrasts are even more pronounced. While half of marketing professionals remain enthusiastic about the professional possibilities of Generative AI, over 50% harbor concerns about its societal repercussions.  

 Why does this difference exist between the enthusiasm at a professional level and the concerns at a social level? Does it imply that the possibilities offered by this technology at a professional level are incompatible with its broader societal implications? One thing is certain: the potential of AI is almost limitless. Within the marketing industry, Generative AI promises several advantages, from enhanced consumer insights, and sentiment analysis based on social listening, to behavioral prediction, customer experience transformation, personalization at scale, content creation, process automation, and agile decision-making, among others.  

 The reality is that the possibilities of AI are nearly infinite, limited only by human imagination and ethical boundaries. And therein lies the crux of the matter. If we use AI ethically and responsibly, professional progress can indeed coexist harmoniously with social and cultural advancement.  

 Yet, here’s the dilemma. Ethics are not absolute, and many companies, countries, politicians, and other leaders prioritize their personal and professional interests over societal well-being. Take Elon Musk’s recent denouncement of OpenAI. He accuses them of prioritizing economic profit for the company (after Microsoft’s acquisition) over the “benefit to humanity”, which was precisely the original vision and ambition with which OpenAI was created.xvi Beyond this case, many political and technological leaders have warned about the dangers of AI while simultaneously pushing for its development.  

 It falls on us to act responsibly to ensure ethical use of AI. Technology should serve humanity, not the other way around. Business and social progress can and must coexist. We must consider the well-being of future generations as we navigate this landscape. 
As marketing professionals, we hold significant sway. Our industry is at the forefront of adopting using emerging technologies. Our responsibility is to use them ethically and honestly, prioritizing the balance between business growth and safety and privacy of individuals. We must adopt marketing strategies rooted in respect for individuality, so that we can forge relationships built on trust, fostering sustainable long-term brand growth. 

 What do you think? Will we be able to achieve sustainable growth? Will we use AI responsibly in a way that balances business progress with social progress?  

The future depends on us, let's build it together. 

For more wisdom and insights from other dentsu X leaders worldwide, download our report ahead 2024: branding beyond impact.