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The Great AI Masquerade: How Adtech’s Buzzword is Less Sci-Fi and More Sci-Why

In a world awash with tech jargon and gadgets that promise to revolutionize our mundane lives, nothing quite captures the imagination as much as “Artificial Intelligence.” Adtech, ever the flashy showman of the digital realm, seems to have adopted the term with an eagerness that would make a magpie jealous. However, like that overeager magpie, Adtech might just be collecting shiny trinkets rather than genuine gold.

Welcome to the Great AI Masquerade! Let’s pull back the curtain.

Remember the excitement of your first magic show? Everything seemed so real, until you realized the magician’s greatest skill was sleight of hand. Much of what Adtech labels as “AI” is precisely this – a masterful act of redirection. The algorithms of yesterday, basic and linear, are now wearing the glitzy robes of today’s AI. It’s the tech equivalent of your pet cat wearing a lion’s mane wig.

The first AI systems did indeed have the allure of the artificial – much like a soda-pop rendition of a vintage wine. But now, with platforms like ChatGPT (and many Adtech tools) coming into play, there’s a twist. They’re using real human creativity, wit, and labor, then packaging it under the AI banner. Imagine crediting the car for a journey’s tales instead of the driver.

Now, Adtech’s interpretation of AI turns this spectacle into a veritable circus. Those trusty old optimization tools? They’ve just been given a fresh coat of “AI” paint. It’s like renaming your grandfather’s old bicycle as an “eco-friendly, manual propulsion vehicle” and then trying to patent it.

This wouldn’t be as amusing (or alarming) if it weren’t for the corporate honchos joyfully jumping on the bandwagon. CEOs, CTOs, and a parade of other acronym-loving professionals proudly attach the AI moniker to their brands. It’s become the tech equivalent of claiming royal ancestry because your great-aunt twice removed had a corgi.

Companies are now marketing “AI-powered” everything. From mortgage recommendations to investment advice, there’s an “intelligent” algorithm for that. If taken at face value, you’d think these programs were holding existential debates in binary, pondering the very nature of their digital existence, before advising you on a home loan.

The crown jewels in this comedy of errors are our dear marketers. In their eagerness to stand out in a crowded marketplace, they’ve slapped the AI label onto everything with abandon. “AI-driven” this and “AI-powered” that; the claims have become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe and about as substantial as a puff of smoke.

Of course, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Machine learning is genuinely shaping our future. Like that diligent student always overshadowed by their flamboyant classmate, machine learning sits quietly in the background, making actual strides, while “AI” hogs the limelight with jazz hands.

So, where does this leave us? As technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, it’s essential to differentiate between genuine innovation and mere theatrics. Real AI has the potential to be the game-changer we all envision. Still, until that day, let’s celebrate genuine tech achievements and approach the Adtech AI carnival with a discerning eye and a bucket of salt.

In the end, it might be prudent to remember that just because something glitters in the world of Adtech doesn’t mean it’s AI gold. Sometimes, it’s just good old tech in a fancy new hat. And while hats can be stylish, it’s always good to know what’s underneath.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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