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Greenville Business Magazine

Seeking Authenticity in the Face of AI

Mar 01, 2024 09:31AM ● By Leah Stoudenmire

Every brand launch, marketing campaign and social media package I have worked on for the past 25 years has revolved around a client wanting to be seen as authentic.

So, when I see stories and studies about users wanting authenticity more than ever, I become a little skeptical. Yes, people will reply to a poll that they want to see authenticity, but do they actually choose it in their media consumption?

Consider the fascination with the launch of new AI programs in 2023 that allow people to write novels with a couple of clicks or create videos and art within seconds. Many of the same people who love the idea of “authenticity” are consuming AI, and likely don’t realize it.

AI integration has completely changed the narrative and is used in multiple aspects of our daily lives including voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, Apple CarPlay and GPS, smart home technologies, facial recognition, e-payments, text editors and autocorrect, chatbots, and so much more. It’s no surprise that these advancements have enhanced and enriched our lives, but it’s crucial for us to reflect on how we keep our humanity amidst the AI revolution. How do you stay human when artificial intelligence is incorporated into so many aspects of life both personally and professionally?

As AI and human interactions deepen, we need to define what it means to be human within this context. Our humanity comprises our creativity, empathy, emotions, morality, critical thinking, and our ability to connect with others. 

While there are many cognitive functions and specific tasks AI can mimic, it does not possess the ability to replicate the qualities that make us human or create of its own volition. In other words, while AI may be able to process complicated information, it cannot empathize with someone’s business and provide them with customized solutions that cater to an emotional level.

Prioritize human connection: Because of Covid-19, quarantine, and distancing from one another, collectively we felt the tension of losing genuine human connection. And as AI systems become more sophisticated, we risk losing those relationships in a deeper way. Keep in mind that while AI works to streamline work processes, provide convenience, and answer/bounce ideas off of, it cannot and should not replace empathy and warmth that other humans provide. By encouraging open communication and developing mutual kindness, technology will remain a tool rather than a barrier or a replacement for each other.

Nurture creativity and innovation: While our AI counterparts can work through complex processes when prompted, our ability to think creatively and innovate is key to our humanity. By fostering an environment that encourages our curiosity and imagination to spark, we create a space for us to explore and understand the world in ways AI cannot.  Leveraging AI as a tool for our creativity is how we enhance both our artistic and scientific minds and make for easier and unique entrepreneurial adventures. 

What AI can and cannot replace: It’s easy to look at our current state with technological advancements and feel fear for our future. The whispers of “AI is taking over our jobs” is prevalent and causes panic where it’s often unnecessary. There are certain jobs and professions where the use of AI will become more widespread including manufacturing, transportation, data entry, and medical input. 

But there are also a lot of limitations with artificial intelligence. It cannot replace creative work such as art, music, and writing (it can only copy, not create from scratch), and it will be hard-pressed to take over jobs that require a high level of emotional intelligence such as therapists, social workers, and nurses. It also cannot take over positions requiring complex decision-making skills such as lawyers, doctors, and politicians as these require tough answers, assumptions, and understanding of the complexity of people.

Continually learning and adapting: As we learn, grow, and move through our advancement, we need to embrace lifelong learning as our birthright. While AI can assist us in gaining knowledge and new perspectives, it’s purely up to us to cultivate critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and grow our emotional intelligence and self-awareness. For the rest of our lives, we will be continually adapting to the newest technologies and expanding our skill sets, and we’re learning to adapt to our new advancements. We can effectively collaborate with our AI systems rather than being frustrated by them. 

Efficiency versus well-being: Most of us find ourselves in the capitalism-driven machine of society where most advancements focus on efficiency and productivity as their KPIs. But striking the vital balance between efficiency and well-being is also, genuinely, human. While AI works to provide more information, answers, etc., we as humans need to remain mindful of our mental and physical health, set important personal and professional boundaries, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Taking breaks from technology, prioritizing our well-being and mental health, and living in community with one another will prevent technology from consuming our lives and losing touch with our humanity.

AI remains a valuable tool in our marketing tool belt instead of consuming our day-to-day lives. The challenge lies in preserving our personhood while repeating the benefits of technology. By balancing humanity and technology, we navigate the age of technological advancement with critical thinking, empathy, and a commitment to our shared humanity.

Leah Stoudenmire is the founder and CEO of The Rock It! Co., a full-scale marketing and events company. With offices in Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina, the company serves clients across the country. Let’s Rock! Learn more at