Tech marketing and PR agency Codeword’s newest interns are not your typical college students.
The agency has “hired” two AI-based algorithms to join its creative team.
The algorithms, called Aiden and Aiko, will provide two functions. Aiden will ghostwrite, collect information from top news stories and analyze voice and tone for the editorial team. Aiko will create brand designs and large volumes of concept thumbnails that Codeword’s human design team can build upon.
Neither will produce work directly for Codeword’s clients, such as Google, Qualcomm and Korean tech company Coway.
Like other interns, both Aiko and Aiden will be given new responsibilities as the agency figures out what they’re good at. Also like other interns, they’ll be given a trial run of three months, a manager to report to and regular performance evaluations.
But unlike regular internship programs, it’s the agency that hopes to do most of the learning this time around.
“We sit in the middle of tech and the media and marketing, and those are all industries that will be heavily impacted by AI,” said Kyle Monson, founding partner at Codeword. “Let’s tackle that stuff now, let’s experiment with it now.”
Monson sees AI becoming an indispensable part of Codeword’s tech stack. As a ghostwriter, he imagines ChatGPT, the technology that powers Aiden, becoming a mainstay in his work. The combination of Stable Diffusion, Midjourney and Dall-E underpinning Aiko could take “drudge work off the design[ers’] plates,” he said.
By having a program dedicated to learning how AI can enhance creative work, Codeword can develop use cases and create a plan of action for implementing AI more regularly in its work. The agency hopes to learn what AI can accelerate and create efficiencies around, what it makes possible for creatives and, equally as important, what still requires human input.
Framing the test as an internship is partly a marketing stunt to capitalize on the recent deluge of headlines about AI, Monson admits. But it’s also a good point of comparison as the agency sees what AI is capable of. Like human interns, Aiko and Aiden are testing their skills in marketing and learning if they have what it takes to establish their presence in the long term.
Codeword plans to publish its findings about working with the algorithms at the end of the three-month program.
“Skeptical enthusiasm” is the mood among Codeword’s 106 employees as the interns gear up for their first day, Monson said.
Aiko and Aiden have been assigned to Emilio Ramos, senior art director, and Terrence Doyle, senior editor. As AI-skeptics, Ramos and Doyle can provide a more pragmatic view of their interns’ performances, Monson said.
“Marketers are under a lot of pressure to do things faster, cheaper, better,” Monson said. “Budgets and head counts are getting cut. We’re going to be under pressure to reform our processes this year with or without AI. If AI can help us do it, then great — we should embrace it.”
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.