Putting the ‘trainee’ on the internet; Will Google Play ChatGPT Whac-A-Mole?

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AdExchanger’s daily news roundup returns on Tuesday, January 17th. We will not publish any content on Monday, January 16 in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Non-human capital

Is AI the new intern? For an agency, the answer is “yes”.

At Codeword, a tech marketing agency housed in WE Communication, its new “interns” come in the form of software models who produce content and graphic design, Axios reports. (It’s unclear if Codeword is simply leaning on ChatGPT and DALL-E or has another software provider.)

The Codeword interns are named Aiko and Aiden, and they apparently report to actual people. Aiko sits under Senior Art Director Emilio Ramos, while Aiden will face performance reviews by Senior Editor Terrence Doyle. (Seriously, both will receive performance reviews.)

Aiko and Aiden aren’t ready for client-oriented work – but that’s not the point.

“It’s an opportunity to streamline internal processes by eliminating necessary but mind-numbing and time-consuming tasks – or at least handing them off to numb interns who can’t be bored,” says Terrence Doyle.

Like so many unpaid interns before them, Aiko and Aiden receive no compensation. Instead, Codeword says it will donate the equivalent hourly wages to the interns Grace Hopper Celebration.

This was written by a person

Speaking of AI development, tech news and review site CNET has been quietly using “automation technology” to create a series of articles framed as economic explanations, Futurism reports.

Byline credits “CNET Money Staff,” which, when clicked, acknowledges that the articles were created using automation.

Still, the first layer of obfuscation is noteworthy, as Google in particular is laser-focused on weeding out AI-written content and AI-created images from its front page search results.

Over the past few months, Google has made major updates to its search algorithms to reduce spam and low-quality content. Interestingly, Google considers “low quality” and “AI generated” content to be practically synonymous. In Google’s eyes, content written by tech (*cough* ChatGPT *cough*) is junk regardless of the quality of the end product.

Google will likely dig its heels into that position when Microsoft completes a reported $10 billion investment in ChatGPT‘s parent company, OpenAI, and incorporates ChatGPT responses into the Bing search engine.

Look forward to lots of good debate about whether Google is ruining the news by swallowing advertising revenue, or whether ChatGPT is taking over the newsroom jobs. Can’t both be true?

What killed the growth?

A full recession hasn’t hit yet, but Apple’s ATT policy created a mini-recession in the social media advertising economy, writes Eric Seufert at Mobile Dev Memo.

During 2022, Big Tech stock prices fell as interest rates rose. But ATT’s effect on revenue was evident even before the Fed began raising interest rates in March 2022.

Google, Meta and Snap all cited tough macroeconomic conditions as the reason for missing growth targets. But consumer brands like Nike, Walmart and Costco have seen their sales and revenue numbers continue to grow.

While consumer spend remains healthy, advertiser spend has declined thanks to ATT’s effect on overall ROAS. When direct response advertising is less effective, marketers reduce their budgets. The share of ad revenue generated on iOS devices fell from 60% in 2020 to 46% in Q2 2022.

Need more proof? Although ad-dependent tech companies are implementing mass layoffs, the same is not true of the broader U.S. economy. Unemployment remains around 3.5%, a 53-year low.

Guess social media and DTC advertisers can blame Apple and not the economy for their problems.

But wait, there’s more!

Lowe’s is bringing the ad sales and operation of its One Roof Media Network in-house. [Ad Age]

What happened when this olive oil startup apologized. [WSJ]

Neiman Marcus executives argue for sustainable retail profitability. [WWD]

Players are flocking from premium titles to free, ad-supported games in a volatile economy. [Digiday]

You are hired!

JEGI Clarity promotes Rich Kanefsky to CEO. [release]

Power Digital hires Michael Murray as chief product officer. [release]

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