With the rise in AI marketing, many celebrities are more than keen to cash their check in and embrace the technology with open arms – JLo’s signing off her image to Virgin Atlantic as a deep fake is the hottest and latest example of this. Other celebrities, on the other hand, are keen to highlight the less optimistic sides of an AI filled future. While excited by its disruptive potential, particularly as a research tool, Mathew McConnaughey is frustrated by the apparent carelessness with which it is being developed. 

His main concern is the lack of trust around AI and the over-focus on its potential financial profits. “So many businesses are just sprinting forward with the idea of AI being about ‘How do we profit, profit, profit,’” he told Ad Age. “Well, profitable AI without trusted AI is going to be a short-term game with a future death sentence.”

This concern is being pioneered by leading technologists and researchers who published an open letter in May of this year warning about the extinction-level risks of advanced AI. Accountability is particularly lacking in major firms with respect to enterprise players such as advertisers.

McConnaughey is highlighting the issue as a brand ambassador in a 15 second Salesforce campaign. The spot sees McConaughey dressed head-to-toe in cowboy attire (not uncommon for the Southern icon) as he struts into a small town with all the classic “old west” trappings – false-front architecture, towering cacti, a spookily whistling wind – only the entire backdrop was created by Stable Diffusion, a text-to-image AI generator.

McConnaughey asks the campaign’s slogan; “So if AI is the Wild West, well who’s the sheriff around here?” 

The inquiry is a call-to-action for businesses to more seriously entertain how trust can be built in with AI tools. It’s also a bit of a paradox, because no one entity can play sheriff for a technology with such far-reaching implications. Even if the U.S. government were to establish national policy, McConaughey said, other countries may carry on unaffected. The same logic could apply at the state and city levels.

The solution, according to Salesforce, is for businesses and individuals to take it upon themselves to self-regulate and implement trust. The software company has its own generative AI tools, which Salesforce is promoting as part of the campaign. An “Ask More of AI” microsite, set to launch in August, will direct clients to these proprietary offerings.

While worried about risks such as surveillance, privacy infringement and the erosion of civil liberties, McConaughey views AI symbiotically, and therefore only capable of causing damage if people allow it to do so.

The Salesforce campaign consists of three 15-second spots starring McConaughey that will run on social media, NBCUniversal streaming services and Roku streaming apps.

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