Surviving the Robot Uprising: How I Told My Kids to AI-Proof Their Lives (and Marketing Careers)

John Scott
12 Sep 2023

I was recently chatting with my tweenage kids about what they should be learning to prepare for a future ruled by our AI overlords. As someone who’s worked in marketing since before the Internet was even a thing, I felt I was on the most solid ground sharing my thoughts on how AI has become every marketer’s new frenemy.

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Marketing

Back in the day, we marketers had no choice but to do everything manually. That’s right. Before digital we used our digits. Then along came AI, casually reshuffling the deck, taking our jobs of sending out 10,000 slightly personalised emails, and making our coffee—wait, no, that's still baristas.

Robo-Skills vs. Human Shenaniganisms

Before you panic and imagine a future where AI has automated every little task—even coffee making—let’s see where humans still have the edge:

Emotional IQ: AI can detect if you're "sad" from your online rants, but it’s clueless about why you’re upset. Like I told my kids, robots don't get tweenage angst.

Creativity: Sure, AI might create a jingle, but can it explain the emotional depth of SpongeBob SquarePants? I think not. Storytelling is a human endeavour.

Ethical Judgements: Navigating the moral complexities of campaigns, especially in diverse and culturally sensitive markets, requires people. And even then we still manage to get it wrong. Think necro-advertising.

AI-Proofing 101 (Things I Yell to My Kids)

Never Stop Learning: Until robots take over school (fingers crossed?), keep updating your skills. You think your homework is hard? Try deciphering AI trends. 

Flex Those Soft Skills: Yes, talking about feelings is important. Robots don't have breakups, but you do. Emotion, creativity, empathy—stuff robots watch dramas to understand.

Roll with the Robots: Don’t fight the bots. Put them to work for you. Let AI handle the boring stuff while you focus on plotting how to become the next viral sensation.

Be the Good Guy: In the world of big data and big surveillance, remember that with great power comes... no, not a great WiFi connection. Responsibility.

Untitled 15Storytime: Robots, Humans and Who Does What Best

Let’s paint a picture where AI and human marketers join forces to launch a sustainable sneaker made from recycled banana peels (don't ask).

AI's Role:

  • Audience Segmentation: AI scouts for people based on purchasing behaviours, online activity, engagement with previous eco-friendly campaigns, and anyone who recently Googled "uses for banana peels".
  • Predictive Analysis: Anticipate the success rate, optimal launch time, and potential hurdles based on past launches to ensure you don’t slip up.
  • Automation: Automate emails, push notifications, and reminders for the product line like, "Remember these banana shoes? Get yours now!"

Our Role:

  • Storytelling: Milk your humanity to craft a story about your brand's journey from banana smoothies to sustainable footwear.
  • Engagement: Collaborate with influencers, bloggers and eco-warriors—basically anyone who thinks banana shoes are cool.
  • Ethical Considerations: Ensure the world knows we're not just jumping on the eco-train for fun and profit.
And there you have it, AI and marketers in peaceful and productive coexistence.


Like the not-so-old adage goes, AI won’t take your job, but someone using AI almost certainly will if you don’t embrace it now.  And by embracing it, you can free yourself from the more mundane tasks to focus your people on the stuff they’re best at.

More insights
Modern websites need modern browsers

To enjoy the full experience, please upgrade your browser

Try this one