SharpNet’s Take on AI

by | Jun 2, 2023 | Advanced Marketing

While many labels can help define SharpNet, innovation has always been one of our strongest defining traits. Innovation is how SharpNet has emerged as an industry leader in the digital marketing world, and how we’ve maintained that role for 25 years. In fact, SharpNet’s first-ever award was the Mercury 100 IQ award, where IQ stood for Innovation Quotient. This is because 25 years ago, what we call Digital Marketing today was not yet an industry, and hence our award. Over the course of 25 years, we have met innovation at every corner, and the onset of AI is no different.

AI is not a new thing for SharpNet, as we have been researching, experimenting, and otherwise engaged with AI for many years. However, with the easy access to AI tools like OpenAI and Bard, we can push our processes further and faster than ever before. SharpNet has experienced engineers and software developers on staff who understand AI from both a technical and practical level. We’d like to share our take on AI, for today and in the future, with our valued partners.

SEO Process

AI Is Just a Tool… for Now

Like a computer or a car, AI is just a tool that must be wielded. But just like a car, it takes practice to do it right, and some people will be better with it than others. Not everyone can win the Indy 500, but most people can drive relatively competently. AI is also a tool, and there will be people who can master the tool and do amazing things. For now, AI will only be as good as the humans who master it. AI will keep getting better and better as it evolves, as will the AI operators, but for now it needs explicit guidance from people to do anything at all. For example, AI is already a great tool to help generate content, which can be of great benefit for websites and marketing. But if the AI operator is unskilled, it can produce odd content, duplicate content, content with errors, or content that looks, well, artificial. At SharpNet, we are testing the AI tool, experimenting, and refining. We have experienced many setbacks, and have achieved some incredible breakthroughs. We feel we have a great understanding of its immediate benefits, and as we get better and better working with it, new breakthroughs are made.

AI Has Limitations

AI could not write this article, and yes it was tempting to try. But AI does not know my passions or thoughts, or how I want this message to be received by our partners. What we have learned is that, in its current state, AI has significant limitations. It will produce the same response if prompted the same way by different people. For example, if someone asks ChatGPT to “write a web page for emergency plumbing services in Denver,” and then another person submits a similar query, but for Phoenix, the content will come out nearly identical. So identical in fact, that Google will see it as duplicate content and it will have no meaningful SEO value. This is where a skilled AI operator comes in, understanding the limitations of AI and using advanced query features for AI to produce truly unique content. And, doing it effectively enough that it isn’t easier to write original content by hand. There are many limitations beyond duplicate content. For example, it can, and will, produce inaccurate information, or it can toss in a copyright phrase without a citation/reference, or simply say something stupid. So it may seem easy to crank out 10 pages of content and publish them on the web, but if you don’t understand AI intimately, then you could be doing more harm than good. The production of flawless content, like this article (hahaha), will take a skilled AI operator.

    SEO Process

    AI Integration With Google and Bing

    Many clients have reached out to us with concerns about how AI will change the landscape of SEO. As SharpNet’s flagship product, we have taken a very close look at this new use for AI. Our research includes studying what Google has announced, what industry leaders have announced, what we can already observe on Bing, ChatGPT, and Bard, and of course our own “thought experiments.”  We feel we have a solid understanding of how AI will impact SEO over the next few years.

    From AI integration previews launched by Google, and current ChatGPT/AI incorporation in Bing, we are seeing AI content act as a search enhancement rather than a search takeover. The primary adjustment is focused on informational queries rather than business queries. For example, AI can generate amazing content that describes the “first one second of the Big Bang,” but it is not engaged when asked to show a list of “emergency plumbers in Denver.” Business queries, the kind that make your phone ring, still produce a classic search engine list of businesses. This makes sense. If a pipe breaks in my basement and is squirting water everywhere, I really don’t want to read 1,000 words on the history of plumbing. I need a hot list that I can call, right now. For Bing, even if I force it to use ChatGPT rather than standard search results, ChatGPT becomes more like a search engine and provides a list of company names and phone numbers. AI is being implemented to answer your questions. If your question is to find a landscaping company or an emergency plumber, then this business data will be provided. For those engaged in Google Ads marketing, have no fear! Google is fueled by ads, and they will make sure those clicks keep happening.

    Where Is AI Going?

    Today, AI is little more than a novelty, but it has tremendous potential. It is also inevitable, and will continue to play a bigger and bigger role in our everyday lives. One day it will drive our cars, engage in intellectual conversations, and make amazing medical breakthroughs. The rate of advancement of the human race will accelerate faster than ever, reaching a dizzying pace. But we are still a long way away from AI deciding to write content on its own, choosing what to write, publishing it on a website, optimizing it, and making adjustments based on results. Before AI can effectively function like a human, we will need breakthroughs with computing. In 2013, the Fujitsu supercomputer was tasked to simulate the human brain. It harnessed nearly 83,000 processors, and was ranked the fastest computer in the world. In the end, the computing might of the human race took a full 40 seconds to simulate only 1% of what the human brain can do in 1 second. So, we’re not there yet, and we will need a quantum computer breakthrough before AI can best us. One day it will, no doubt, and most of us will still be around to see it.

    SharpNet and AI

    AI has applications beyond ChatGPT, Bard, the generation of content, Q&A, and fetching information. SharpNet is pursuing the obvious content applications, but we are also pursuing other opportunities. We have always been about innovation and cutting-edge technology, in a very practical sense. AI will be one of the tools in our pocket in the years to come. We are not afraid of it, but we do not have a love affair with it either. AI is just a tool, and we intend to master it and make good use of it, until the next great thing comes along.