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AI is no longer a buzzword but a way of life for many entrepreneurs. It has offered faster and more efficient ways to manage many of their business processes. However, as companies discover new ways to use the technology, downsides also emerge. Harnessing the power of AI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s take a deeper look at how not to use AI based on the mistakes many brands have learned from the painful way.

Table of Contents

Getting Real About AI

Unless you’ve spent the last few years living under a rock, AI is everywhere. In the content we read, the artworks we admire, and even the products and services we patronize. It has promised and delivered revolutionary advancements and solutions to businesses and individuals. And as we look into the future, it has AI written all over it.

The possibilities with the technology are exciting, but it’s also time to get real about AI’s potential flaws. It is still evolving and far from being perfect. Many industries have benefited from it, unlocked new avenues for growth, and gained a competitive edge. On the other hand, many have also learned the hard way that AI can also incur mistakes, failures, and incidents.

The Hype vs. Reality

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The adoption of artificial intelligence by numerous industries and its stellar rise may have been primarily due to media hype. Everyone is talking about it and how it’s disrupting everything. Companies are jumping on the bandwagon, wanting to take a piece of the action, and eager to incorporate AI into their operations. But is all the hype justified? 

Using AI for your business requires you to discern which is hype and which is reality. Otherwise, you’re susceptible to fall into the following:

Set unrealistic expectations: Entrepreneurs may be enticed by promises of quick and easy gains, groundbreaking innovation, or effortless problem-solving capabilities. It is always good to remember that AI is not an all-in-one solution. Its effectiveness depends on specific implementation strategies and addressing underlying business challenges.

Overinvestment: The idea that AI can get you quick business gains may lead to overinvesting in expensive technologies. You need to get a good grasp of their value proposition and potential drawbacks before spending your precious resources on them. Otherwise, you can end up with wasted finances and missed opportunities for more efficient solutions.

Foregoing human expertise: Thinking that AI can replace human expertise is one big misconception trap you should avoid falling into. Data analysis, decision-making, and ethical considerations are a few concepts that AI won’t be able to do. A sweet balance between the human touch and AI is what you need.

Understanding the Limits of AI

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Yes, AI promises exciting advancements, but to fully harness its powers, you need to know its limitations. Below are the most crucial:

  • Artificial intelligence does not come with common sense. You may see it writing your essay for you at lightning speed but don’t expect it to have human reasoning or the ability to adapt to the complexities of the real world.
  • It lacks data quality. AI outputs are not accurate. It can sometimes generate biased or incomplete data, requiring fact-checking and relentless monitoring.
  • Transparency can be a challenging matter. Complex algorithms make it hard for us to understand how AI makes decisions. This raises questions about trust and accountability.
  • It lacks genuine creativity. AI can combine existing concepts and ideas but never generate original innovation and independent thoughts.
  • It has limited adaptability. AI struggles to adapt to new contexts that are beyond their training data.

As the technology of AI evolves, so do its limitations. Understanding these is important to avoid falling into misconceptions that can potentially cause havoc to your business.

Overreliance on AI

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In their efforts to save resources, have more efficient operations, and access more innovative solutions, many businesses fall into an overreliance on AI. Instead of using the technology as a catalyst, it becomes a crutch that can be detrimental in the long run. 

Overreliance on AI can sometimes lead to companies forgoing the creation of backup plans. They forget that AI is not infallible, leaving them vulnerable to disruptions and failures, which can result in customer dissatisfaction.

An excellent example is when CNET, a tech publication, published an array of AI-written articles with factual errors and plagiarism in January 2023. After the backlash, the publication assured readers they had a human editor fact-checking all their articles before publishing them. However, there was enough proof that they overly relied on AI, and many are now unsure of CNET’s quality of journalism.

Using AI to Copy 

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Another major pitfall of overreliance on AI is using it to copy images, graphics, and design. In an attempt to get on with the latest trends, some companies use AI-powered tools to generate pictures that simulate popular styles circulating online. While these trendy graphics can attract attention, they often lack the essential ingredients of a brand’s true identity

This can be risky for branding as AI-generated images are usually taken from what’s already out there and, therefore, don’t offer much in terms of originality and uniqueness. To leverage AI effectively, it’s essential to think of them as tools to complement your creative process. They can only help refine and enhance your visual style, never create your brand identity for you.

While not branding-related, this misstep from a known brand using AI is an excellent example to illustrate this. Microsoft was shown to generate violent and terrifying images on command using its AI image creation technology. The photos are solid proof that when AI is used without human intervention, it can generate disturbing photos that aren’t fit for consumption.

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Caption: These are AI-generated images made with Microsoft’s Image Creator that were deemed disturbing by The Washington Post.

Using AI to Manipulate

Market research is a crucial part of managing a business. However, it is a long and tedious process. This may be the reason many companies rely on AI to handle it. They use it to predict what customers want to hear and write copy based on that. 

This typically involves using AI algorithms to create customized messaging that answers their customers’ desires and emotions. Sadly, many of these use exaggerated claims or unreal promises. This results in failure to deliver, thus disillusioning their customers enough to have them leave negative reviews. 

Companies such as FedEx, Amazon, and DHL have all started using AI in their shipping and delivery logistics. It has set high standards for its customers, but sadly, AI has shown inefficiencies, especially during peak periods. This resulted in many of their customers’ expectations being shattered.

The Pitfalls of AI-Driven Decisions

Another way businesses shouldn’t use AI is when making vital decisions. You shouldn’t rely on its predictive analytics and data to get information when making critical decisions. If you think you must, always ensure that there is sufficient human intervention.

A good example of this is when companies use AI algorithms to analyze data to predict market trends, anticipate customer demands, or optimize operational processes. AI can provide valuable insights, but you need human judgment to ensure your data is accurate, ethical, and accountable when making substantial business decisions.

Reliance on AI for Customer Services

One of the most popular business uses for AI is providing customer service, most especially through chatbots. They can provide immediate customer support where humans have limitations (24/7 or multilingual services). However, relying solely on this can be disadvantageous. Providing human support alongside AI-driven tools is the best workaround to this.

AI lacks the empathy, understanding, and problem-solving capabilities of human agents. It won’t be able to address complex issues and specialized concerns, resulting in customer frustration and, worse, desperation. This can lead to dissatisfaction and disappointment in the company.

International delivery service DPD used an AI chatbot that was found to have used profanity and criticized the company as “the worst delivery firm in the world.” The disgruntled customer also made the chatbot tell a joke and write a poem about a useless chatbot. Although obviously egged on, this type of response should not have happened if there had been human intervention.

Relying Solely on AI for Content Generation

If you’ve ever tried writing content with ChatGPT, Jasper, or Frase, you’d be in awe. These tools write at lightning speeds and with considerable quality. For the uninitiated, these pieces of content will suffice for whatever purpose they may need them for. 

However, when you look closely at these AI-generated content, they lack authenticity and are usually formulaic, impersonal, and disconnected. If you’re looking to establish genuine connections with your audience, AI-written content will not address this need. If you rely solely on AI to generate your content, you run the risk of gaining disengagement and skepticism toward your brand.

To prevent this from happening, use AI only as a tool to enhance or improve your content rather than replace your human writers. Combining human creativity and AI-generated insights is the secret sauce to content that resonates with audiences.

To illustrate this, let’s look at what happened with the supermarket brand PAK’nSAVE from New Zealand. It created an AI-powered meal planner to recommend recipes to its customers. The aim was to help households save money and reduce food waste. It generates meal suggestions with full recipes that use ingredients readily available to its users. However, one recipe suggested the use of chlorine gas, which it called “aromatic water mix.”

Again, it was prompted by a user trying to test the app to generate such a recipe, which it blindly followed. Still, it is proof enough that reliance on AI can have detrimental results, for now.

Final Thoughts

AI can do so many amazing things for your business: it can help you brainstorm ideas, create content in a fraction of the time, and answer your customers’ questions quickly, among many others. The problem can be summed up in one word: overreliance. The misuse of the technology brings about many issues. So, to be fair with AI, let’s all look at it as an ally instead of a worker.