The Diverging Roads of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

time to read 5 MIN READ
The Diverging Roads of Artificial Intelligence

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

That is the closing three lines of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. It may be one of the more recognizable poems in American literature. At least one that isn’t also a nursery rhyme or song. But if you only look at the last three lines, you miss the contemplation the speaker has in choosing which road upon which to travel.

The full poem is actually this: (Don’t worry. It’s short.)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The choice is a conundrum to the speaker. It’s really a poem about decision-making. You can interpret it a number of ways. Most people focus on the last three lines and think the poem tells you to think for yourself. Choose your own path. Don’t follow the crowd.

But the narrator says the other path is just as fair. They lay equally. He wants to keep the one for another day, but laments he may not come back. He’ll be telling his choice with a sign.

Some decisions we make as brand marketers are like this. We know either path is probably fine, and perhaps we want to follow both, but can’t for reasons of resources or other insights or inputs. 

But there are some marketing decisions we make that are more clear than others. The path less traveled is not often the one chosen. Others have gone down the first path and succeeded, so we follow conventional wisdom and ignore the road less traveled. When the outcome is money or revenue or growth and not the environmental pleasantries of a walk in the woods, the road less traveled is only traveled by fools.

Until it’s not and we become the fools for following.

The Two Roads of AI

I pondered Robert Frost’s poem last week as I plowed through this month’s version of the road more traveled. Thanks to the recent explosion of free experimentation with AI through ChatGPT and other sources, my inboxes have become overrun with AI spam.

This is not unlike other spam … unsolicited, unwanted and often unpleasant interruptions of our attention. But now that a computer can generate the prose in the time it takes a hummingbird to blink, and at literally zero cost to companies that wish to scale their outbound, cold-email activities, the road is becoming far too traveled. 

I’ve even seen messages in either my email or LinkedIn inbox that stipulate, “This message was produced by AI.” Which immediately nullifies the first line of the email which says, “I see that you’re doing interesting work at CIPIO. I love what you are …”

No you don’t. Your machine doesn’t either. As good as AI is, I refuse to believe it is capable of loving me, my company, or anything we do. 

The AI spam barrage reached a crescendo last week when I finally noticed a repetitive entry to the contact form on my personal website. For eight straight days, I received some variation of the following message:

“I hope you’re having a great day. I’m a representative here at (An AI company name I’ll redact out of courtesy) and I’m contacting businesses, creators, and marketing teams to introduce them to the most powerful AI-driven content platforms out there.”

It goes on to sell the service as easy to use and intuitive. You can generate content with the click of a button and in 25 languages. It offers a free trial and a link to sign up. 

The first such message I received from Jesse. Then Summer. Then Manuel. Alexis. Dorthea. Zac. Lucas. And Susan. A couple of the messages had an unsubscribe link or instruction, none of which worked. 

Now, I’m not one to run to social media and complain about brands all that much, but I thought I would at least point out to company they were spamming my website and, in my opinion, were doing it wrong. I posted and tagged them on Twitter and LinkedIn.

No response. In fact, after I publicly let them know what they were doing and that I didn’t like it, I received another web form filled out by another bot with a human name trying to sell me on the product.

This, unfortunately, is becoming the road more traveled. 

The Immediate Blowback of AI Experimentation

AI is hot right now. The possibilities of its use for any business or brand are incredible and seemingly endless. It isn’t bad that many marketers are experimenting with artificial intelligence, nor that they’re brainstorming new ways to leverage the technology to make our businesses more efficient or effective.

The bad is when the humans behind the implementation of the technology remove their own humanity from it. 

Granted, there will always be people who push the boundaries of good taste. There will always be marketers who sacrifice good ethical or moral standing in the community if it means milking the campaign for all it can get. 

If you want 100 more conversions and it takes potentially pissing off 10,000 people to get them, there will be decision-makers that don’t care at all about the 9,900. They’ll hit their numbers.

But when smart, well-intentioned marketers, business owners, and engineers forget the human element … the humanity … or even the common sense behind the decisions they make relative to deploying AI, well … my website comment form blows up with spam. As does yours. 

Things are bound to get much worse before they get better. We had a smidgen of hope out of the gate last spring when Google’s John Mueller said content automatically generated with AI is considered spam. That alone would at least temper the use of AI to generate website content, blog posts and the like. 

But as marketers began using it more and more, Google adjusted its stance, saying as long as the content is reviewed and offers a better user experience, then AI content is kosher. 

That does not mean, however, that the bots and the spammers are free to unleash the hounds. The implication in Google’s explanation is critical. “As long as the content is reviewed.”

This is Google’s way of saying, “Human decision-making is fundamentally key to ensuring AI content is useful.”

The mothership wishes for us to keep humanity involved in our technology. We should heed the advice.

What Advises Customers About AI

Here at, we leverage artificial intelligence to drive our Community Generative AI application, or CGI. It allows our customers to input talking points or facts about an event, campaign, product or topic; choose a call-to-action, tone of voice, and length of content, then receive generative AI recommendations for social media captions.

You can literally have drafts of an entire month’s worth of social media posts written in a matter of seconds.

But CGI’s output is not something to copy and paste. It is draft content that is 80-90 percent of the way there. We insist our clients use the AI output wisely and review the draft to ensure it is “on brand,” exactly what you wish to say, meets your standards for tone of voice and so on. 

We know that taking your review out of the equation underserves your audience. And while social media captions aren’t what Google refers to with its recommendation, the wisdom prevails. Taking our generative AI output via CGI and adding your own editorial touch creates a better user experience for your social followers. 

What Brands Should Do

Please don’t stop experimenting with AI for your business or brand. In the right hands with proper intent, we firmly believe artificial intelligence is changing and will continue to change our world for the better. 

But that will only hold true if we are steadfast in walking the road less traveled.

We would be delighted if you walked a road with us on Friday. We’re offering a free webinar called Unlocking the Power of Community Influence Marketing to Grow Your Brand. We’ll be presenting it each Friday through March. Head to the link in this post at, or look for the link on our Twitter and LinkedIn channels to register. 

If you want to cut to the chase and see a demo of our Community Influence Marketing platform, head to our website at and schedule one. I might just walk you through the platform myself. 

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