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What AI Can’t Do for Building Materials Companies

I don’t want to read another article about AI. Everyone seemed to jump on the AI train like it was a Peloton during the pandemic. And it is almost as exhausting to make it through one article “master class” on the doom and gloom, opportunity, and Mecca that is Artificial Intelligence.

Then layer on top of that our industry: Building Materials. Not exactly a first mover in any aspect of sales and marketing, we are now being forced to consider something anathema to the building contingent who still has an unsettling number of flip phones in use.

Let’s discuss what AI is not. It is not a smile or a laugh, or an awkward silence. It is not an eye roll, a sigh, or a disappointed stare. It does not have body language. It does not have that human element or emotion that we depend on to read the room, to gauge how we are being received. What does that mean? Perhaps that will be the piece that people miss and begin to long for in the age of AI. It is also not an if, not a when—it is a straight up NOW.

I read something somewhere about not worrying about AI but worrying about the people that figure out how to use it, instead. And don’t just worry about them—hire them! They are going to make your business run so much more efficiently and smoothly.

We used to have a team that labored over a single Instagram post. Do we have all the right hashtags? The right caption? Do I need a better image? This is contemplation of the past in the world of AI. They will write your captions and suggest your hashtags. You can have days of posts that are actually very good and accomplish your goals. But you don’t get the sarcasm, the social references, the trending terms that you would from a human generated post.

The question is will people be able to recognize what is NOT AI generated and appreciate it? Is it us who can recognize a human generated marketing piece from an AI generated one? Should we be able to? Will this be the great differentiator in content going forward, being able to create something that is clearly not AI? Will customers value and appreciate that?

AI can not have in person meetings. When everything is auto generated from a collective pool of information, do we become immune to the information? We may begin to long for interaction with reps we previously hustled in and out of the office with a few polite nods and an obligatory grab of their business card. Meaningful, personal interactions could very well be more valued and more productive than a push button chatbot telling us everything we need to know in a mechanical, emotionless fascinating interaction.

The concept of physical interaction will shift from a need to a want. We can get all the information we need from behind a screen but we will want to bring that human element in so as to remain connected.

AI is going to change the way we interact with everything. Hopefully, for the best.

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