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AI as tool, not villain

Published October 19, 2023

With just two weeks to go before B2B Marketing’s Global ABM Conference, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about the role AI will play in the story of humanity.

There’s much uncertainty and concern about how this story will unfold. Many worry that AI will play the role of the villain; an opposing force acting against our collective interest. This line of thinking is fed at least in part by the anthropomorphising of AI and the sense of ‘otherness’ that this generates. Similarly, AI’s association with science fiction stories leads to concerns over whether it will ‘replace’ humans altogether. But AI is not the villain in this story. Rather than representing a threat, we should recognise that AI better fits the archetype of the special object or tool; something that the hero receives on their journey to help them on their quest. And part of our quest is to learn how to use this tool. If you’re looking for the real ‘villain’ in this story, we might consider the fact that our competitors have the same tool, matched with our own lack of understanding, and the risk that not even trying to understand represents.

Humans aren’t strangers to using tools. From the first stone hammer made millions of years ago, our ability to create and use tools has been considered one of the defining features of our intelligence as a species. To put it simply, society has developed into what it is today through the use of tools to achieve something better or faster. Some tools are very simple to use (such as that stone hammer), while others require skill to use properly (such as an MRI scanner). For the latter, it takes practice and proper judgement to achieve the right result. Like any other sophisticated tool, we have to learn how to use AI. Once you do, you will be in control.

While AI is occupying much of our conversations of late, and is the focus of my keynote at the upcoming Global ABM Conference, ultimately, the core topic is still ABM; the business outcomes we’re delivering, not the tool used to achieve them. In traditional storytelling, the hero’s journey ends with ‘The Return,’ when they have achieved some benefit that they use to revitalise the world. In our story, the ability to effectively use AI as a tool in the world of ABM is that benefit.

To hear more about how you can make use of AI on your ABM journey, join me on November 1st at B2B Marketing’s Global ABM Conference 2023.

You can see the full agenda here: https://b2bmarketing.swoogo.com/abmglobalconference/agenda. Use my discount code, SPEAKER20, to get 20% off your pass: https://b2bmarketing.swoogo.com/abmglobalconference/tickets.

Bev Burgess

Bev Burgess

Bev Burgess is the author of Executive Engagement Strategies and a co-founder of Inflexion Group, which helps technology, telecoms, and professional services companies drive account-based growth.

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