What are the benefits and risks of adopting AI for your business?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI is a fascinating and powerful tool. There are virtually endless applications – chatbots, automated emails, and scheduling tools have revolutionised the small businesses that utilise them for marketing and the demand for this technology has created businesses that further innovate. Giant nerdsquee for AI.

Many things about AI, however, concern me (and they did even before I read Click Here to Kill Everybody by Bruce Schneier 5 years ago) so when I have conversations with clients about how AI could help them – it becomes clear that the risks of individual and collective adoption of these technologies are not widely known. So buckle in.

Throughout human history, we have continued to perpetuate a cycle of innovation leading to irreversible impacts on society. The earliest example of this was only a few hundred years ago and we have continued to make life more complicated and dangerous ever since.

The industrial revolution was supposed to reduce human labour, replacing it with machine labour. (Not for the benefit of the labourers who might then be able to live a life of leisure and peace, to allow their bosses to circumvent fair labour laws and continue to profit) The Luddites who opposed the introduction of technology in the textile industry for example feared that skilled craftspeople would be made redundant and understandably revolted. Because unfortunately, people who profit from technology don’t like to listen to scientists and philosophers. Or historians… they’re such party poopers.

Fast forward 212 years from the industrial revolution and we now have AI software scraping the internet or other data banks to generate images and text. AI has been used to write and illustrate books, compose music, produce poems, research, reports, articles, speeches, legislation…

There is no Global AI Governance to prevent or regulate this technology. There isn’t a machine we can smash (we’re not even allowed to peacefully protest any more!) and Pandora’s box has definitely already been opened.

Artists were not invited to consent for their work to be used or reproduced when art is synthesised by AI. The copy generated by tools like Chat GPT, Google Bard etc is derivative and filled with misinformation and bias. Given that humans seemingly cannot determine the difference between journalism and propaganda, evidence from deepfakes – you must concede that without regulation, AI is as dangerous as the internet is. The internet began in 1991 and we still haven’t created an adequate system to ensure the safety of its users. Whilst the various governing bodies around the world are theorising how governance could be approached, AI is becoming more widely adopted than people are aware of and is already having a negative impact.

The AI algorithms of social media that were created to help humans connect more led to global polarisation and extremism within about 5 years of being widely adopted. We still haven’t cracked online safety for social media or advertising. Our data is being mined by them all. We are the product, not the consumers.

Bias is a major issue when it comes to AI algorithms. AI is not neutral – it was created and coded and debugged by humans and humans have biases. Therefore AI learns the same classism, racism, ageism, sexism, ableism and other biases that humans do… and perpetuates them.

AI is used by education, healthcare, financial and government institutions to create models and automate processes. It creates inequality because it mirrors and exacerbates existing issues such as the gender pay gap or property redlining. Because these systems exist, AI upholds them. In the USA, AI already has the power to deny you a medical prodedure, insurance coverage, benefits, a mortgage, a university place, employment and even impacts the legal appeals process.

But wait, you were just thinking about using AI for your small business.

So yes, AI can create you a powerful logo. But it doesn’t know that you don’t want your logo to look like a swastika. Yes, AI can create artwork for your business. But it doesn’t care about intellectual property, leaving you vulnerable to legal issues. Yes, AI can write marketing copy for you. But it doesn’t have the 27 years of human expertise in doing so that I do in making that copy effective, accessible and relevant to your audience.

No matter how sophisticated a process you create, you cannot synthesise human artistry and expertise. For art to exist, a human has translated something they felt internally into something that exists externally – a song, a sculpture, a painting, a poem, a photograph… It will never truly pass the Turing test. Nor should it.

Being Butterflumped

Earlier in the year I was honoured to be invited onto the Working Hours Podcast in Leeds with the LOVELY and very talented Simon Treen of Western Studios.

It’s incredibly rare that I talk about myself and what I do, I spend most of my waking hours elevating good people like you that are doing such wonderful things.

But if you’d like a behind-the-scenes look at why I do what I do and what it means to me, check it out:

Lianne Marie Mease, aka Butterflump is an ethical marketing consultant. This means she only works with people and companies that are genuinely doing some good in the world. Her clients are soul-led businesses that care about their impact on the environment and their impact on our society. She has 23 years of experience in her field and began working in digital marketing when email marketing was just coming into its power, way before social media marketing was even a thing! To find out more go to

Simon is always looking for new guests, so those of you in Leeds please contact him if you would like to offer up your voice.

Responding with empathy online

I have recently been working on a project to help program a chat-bot’s auto-responses. A common concern about using artificial intelligence is whether their responses lack empathy in comparison to human responses and whether this will impact customer service. (I should say at this juncture that the sophistication and nuance of conversation that some chat bots have is truly excellent)

This project made me reflect on whether as humans we put enough thought into responding with empathy when we interact online. It’s so easy to forget the people behind the screens or be distracted by our own feelings or agendas. It can also be hard to respond appropriately when we feel awkward or ill-equipped to do so. I hope this guide will help you if you have ever felt this way.

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How to choose images for marketing

Recently, some of my clients have been getting snagged on one particular issue; taking or choosing images to use online for their marketing.

Say you are thinking of designing a marketing campaign for sharing on multiple platforms and need to look for the right stock image or take suitable product photos.

Say you wrote a blog and created a great cover image for it but now you need to share that blog and image on multiple social media platforms – tweet it, create a Facebook or Instagram post or story, a Pin, a Google My Business post…

Why might any of that be challenging, you might well ask?

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I rarely update my blog, and I’m fine with that

It’s 5:30 in the morning on a Monday and I am reading my second book of the night (Leonard Cohen’s The Flame, followed by City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert in case you were wondering) with a nagging thought in the back of my head. “You love writing, why do you never update your own blog?”

And it’s a valid question. I spend the majority of my working life here at Butterflump promoting my glorious clients, but I very rarely do any self-promotion for Butterflump. I spent some time today thinking about why that is.

Continue reading “I rarely update my blog, and I’m fine with that”