AI Pros & Cons: What It Means for Events

AI Pros & Cons: What It Means for Events - TSI18.2

Everybody’s talking about ChatGPT and other hot AI tools these days. But how do you sort through the hype and learn how to incorporate them into your event planning tool kit? Tech expert Michelle Bruno provides insights on:

  • What options are currently trending
  • Ways to use them for trade shows and events
  • How to verify the information is accurate
  • Dangers and landmines to watch out for

Links mentioned during the interview:

Plus some of my personal favorite AI tools:

(Note: Some of these are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and choose to purchase I may receive a small commission or other compensation. You will not pay more for buying a product through these links. I’m disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations regarding endorsements.)

  • LOVO Studio – Create AI voiceovers or text-to-speech with dozens of realistic-sounding voices in multiple accents & languages.
  • HappyScribe – Create transcripts and/or subtitles for your conference sessions & events, using either AI or professional transcribers. (It’s what I use for Trade Show Insights episode transcripts.)
  • Luminar Neo – AI-powered photo enhancement tool for Mac & PC

About Michelle Bruno, MPC, CEM, CMP

Michelle Bruno
Michelle Bruno

Michelle Bruno is a technical marketing writer, content strategist, and technology journalist. She has written hundreds of articles, white papers, research reports, newsletters and blog posts for technology firms and event industry publications. She also serves as a judge on several leading event-technology competitions. In her current role at DAHLIA+Agency, she helps technology companies and event organizers find their communication, product positioning, and technology sweet spots by leveraging a deep understanding of event-technology building blocks, innovation and leadership.


[00:00:00.390] - Marlys Arnold

You're listening to the Trade Show Insights podcast, season 18, episode 2.

[00:00:19.840] - Marlys Arnold

I'm your host, and exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold, bringing you tools to improve your exhibit results. On today's episode brought to you by the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, we're diving into the topic of AI, the good and bad sides, and how you can use some of the latest tools, including Chat GPT.

[00:00:57.230] - Marlys Arnold

Well, I'm sure you've all been hearing all the buzz lately about all the different AI technologies and especially Chat GPT. We're going to dive into all of that today. We've got the perfect expert here to help get us all on the same page and figuring it all out. But I want to introduce to you Michelle Bruno, who is a technical marketing writer, content strategist, and technology journalist. She's written hundreds of articles, white papers, research reports, newsletters, and blog posts for technology firms and event industry publications. She also serves as a judge on several leading event technology competitions. In her current role at Dalia+Agency, she helps technology companies and event organizers find their communication, product positioning, and technology sweet spots by leveraging a deep understanding of event technology building blocks, innovation, and leadership. Michelle, welcome back to Trade Show Insights. It's been a long time since you've been here with us.

[00:02:02.460] - Michelle Bruno

It has and I've missed you.

[00:02:04.950] - Marlys Arnold

Well, you're always welcome back. It's great to get your input and insights on so many things in the tech world, but the big buzz right now is AI. And there's so many different things we're obviously not going to have time to delve into everything. But give us a little bit of a a 30,000 foot view of what are some of the hot AI tools out there right now and what should we be keeping our eyes on?

[00:02:33.560] - Michelle Bruno

First of all, AI has been around for some time. It's just that with chat GPT, the biggest story right now, it's become more accessible to the average person. There's been AI running in the background in event technology for at least seven or so years. There's a number of companies that from the beginning were using AI like Grip and Swapcard, a company named Clipper, Wordly that does language interpretation. Zenus has been doing facial recognition for a while. EventBrite, registration platform. There's quite a lot even in our space that we're using AI as a foundation for some time. But the big deal is that because now it is so visible, it's not like cloud technology where everyone was like, Oh, cloud technology. Okay, that's great. But the average person wasn't in contact with the cloud per se. So it didn't really dawn on us. This is something that's more like when the internet was first introduced and when people could start searching and using it. That's when it became real for most people. And now with chat, GPT, and some of the other tools, DALL-E, and Midjourney, and just other tools that can pretty much mix and match any type of digital content and reorganize it, it's become exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

[00:04:21.100] - Marlys Arnold

We're going to delve into both sides of the equation here because it's true. It is absolutely amazing. You mentioned DALL-E and Midjourney. I've seen some of the art that has come out of there, and it's absolutely phenomenal. But on the flip side, I also remember reading about an art competition where the winner had actually created his art in Midjourney. And so there was this whole controversy of, did he deserve to really win the award or not? So there's a lot of that. But let's talk a little bit, since we're talking art first, let's talk about DALL-E and Midjourney just a little bit and give us an idea of how you see event professionals, trade show people, how do you see those graphic art programs playing a role?

[00:05:11.790] - Michelle Bruno

Well, I can definitely see, for example, booth design, not just the fabrication piece, not just the booth layout piece, but even traffic patterns and color schemes and palettes and visuals and video content all having an AI component or being used by designers to create these things. I'm really interested in seeing just from a booth design perspective, how much and if we'll even be able to tell whether AI was used because the beauty of AI is that it digs deep and it, it examines a broad range of inputs in order to come up with the outputs. And that isn't something that we've really been accustomed to in the event industry. Over the decades that you and I have both been in this, I mean, how much has booth design really changed? I mean, it's still a square. There's still some angular walls and things like that. What is AI going to do for that? But there are other sensory types of components of trade shows and of events in particular that I think will be influenced. Sound, in general, music, the ability to create original music just even the CEO delivering a presentation will change. The content around what he'll speak about, we won't even know really unless we know what the CEO looks like, we won't even know if that's him. Or we're accustomed to seeing him in his mannerisms. I mean, all of that could be faked now, right?

[00:07:13.080] - Marlys Arnold

That gets into the creepy down side of things.

[00:07:16.680] - Michelle Bruno

I just think anywhere where we can access digital information, AI will have a footprint. And I think we'd be smart to pay attention to how we can use it for good and recognize when it's used for evil.

[00:07:38.360] - Marlys Arnold

And that's a very good way of putting it. I like how you talked about... I hadn't really thought about using the art programs for booth design. But you're right, the whole idea of just brainstorming and exploring and experimenting. There's a lot of potential that can come out of that. So let's shift gears and talk about, since it's the 800 pound gorilla right now of Chat GPT. And you're right, the whole idea of AI content creators or content spinners or whatever you want to call them has been around for a long time. I mean, what was it? Jarvis is now Jasper. I started hearing about that probably four or five years ago. So there's been those tools, but what is it about Chat GPT that makes it different? And I know you've been in and exploring it. I've been studying it, but I haven't jumped in yet. So give us a little bit of some personal perspective on what it is and what makes it so fascinating.

[00:08:33.260] - Michelle Bruno

There are a couple of things. One is the speed with which it will return the information based on the prompt that you've given it. That we never really had before when AI was in play on some of the software. It was either invisible or you just didn't understand how complex it was. Now it just seems so simple. You can say, Give me a list of X, Y, and Z, and within seconds, less than two seconds, you'll have a whole list. So it'll either create a lot more lists out there of anything you can think of, or it will be the end to human created lists. That is one thing that the speed with which it does. I'm surprised by how smart it is, even though it's not by any stretch of the imagination, from my perspective, a subject matter expert on the event industry. It is pretty smart in that it's able to access and contextualize information in a way that is really surprising. I've challenged it with some more complicated questions, some more niche questions, and it at least comes back with something. It's not gibbersh. And I think that's in contrast to some of the language interpretation.

[00:10:04.700] - Michelle Bruno

There's mistakes, there's obvious errors. You know when you were actually speaking, but it was recording that you were talking about something else. Or if you speak more than one language, you can see that it's not a good translation. So those are obvious errors. You don't really pick that up in Chat GPT because, well, for one thing, it's in English, so you can read it. But there aren't obvious errors. So it could be mistaken for truth, the truth, when it's really not.

[00:10:38.400] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and it is interesting because I saw an article just this week where the person was saying that she is not going to be using Chat GPT because she said she wants her audience to know that everything that she puts out is her ideas and her perspective, human generated, not AI generated. She called into question the whole thing, like you said about how do you trust somebody's subject matter authority if you find out that they're using material that's been generated on Chat GPT? So I think that is one of the gray areas that we have to be careful of is relying too heavily on that. So how do you see event professionals using this tool going forward?

[00:11:24.080] - Michelle Bruno

Well, I don't think you can trust what Chat GPT is saying, especially in a niche industry like we're in, you have to rely on the person who's putting their name on it. That's a sign that they have reviewed it, that they are putting their reputation behind it, and that there is a level of truth or authenticity about it. And so I see where I thought the same way at first, I thought the only way that I can protect what I write or my personal brand and things like that is to just dismiss AI and Chat GPT, wholesale. But then I started really thinking about it. And if you use it appropriately for the busy work around writing, the pre writing work, I think it could be quite useful. But to really answer your question, I think that the only way that we can protect content that we produce from being thought of as fake is to put our names behind it and to be the subject matter experts. Because the stuff that I've asked Chat GPT was really surface level. And it wasn't not true, but it wasn't very deep. So I've become then the value add, the way to...

[00:12:57.300] - Marlys Arnold

You're the interpreter.

[00:12:58.480] - Michelle Bruno

Yeah, to go deeper to interpret, to contextualize it, to add examples. We don't have examples that come from experience. So really, I don't know that there will be a way to authenticate a lot of this stuff, whether it's text, or pictures, or pictures or music or any of that stuff. But you're going to have to just do your research, try and verify it on your own, either from your own experience or look at some other sources. I don't know, whatever you use now.

[00:13:35.740] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. Well, with my book coming out, I'm thinking it's like, obviously, I did it all myself, but I'm thinking I should almost claim it as this book is 100 % human created. And for blog posts going forward, when it's something that we do write from scratch, it's almost like we are going to have to put a credit on there that's saying, I did not rely on AI technology to write this. This is my... Kind of like how a lot of times companies will have their employees say, this is the employee's perspective. This does not reflect the views of the company or whatever. Maybe that would reverse. It's like, this is my own perspective. This is not generated by AI or something.

[00:14:15.220] - Michelle Bruno

I know. And for a while, that will be a differentiator. But after a while, it'll also, I think, not that. But to not use these tools might be a stupid thing. A lot of people compare this evolutionary change, the AI and Chat GPT, to when horse and buggy became automobiles. Did people walk around going, Hey, I just got here because I walked 20 miles. So therefore, it makes what? My presence here more valuable? Or is it going to be like, No, I didn't take my horse and buggy. I actually drove in a car, and therefore, I got here more quickly and it was more efficient, and I got here faster. I think that our views around this in general are going to change. I think we have to develop our own philosophy around what we're going to tolerate and accept and what we won't. That's true for any technology.

[00:15:23.870] - Marlys Arnold

Well, it all goes back to, again, like you said, using it for good and not evil and using it as a... How did you put it as the behind the scenes, like the pre work tool, and then you put your polish on it personally later? I like that perspective.

[00:15:38.640] - Michelle Bruno

Yeah. I mean, it's so good for research. It's good for suggesting titles, things like that. When you want boiler plate copy for something, or you're not called upon to be original and clever, you just want, what's this paragraph supposed to say?

[00:15:59.040] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I've thought about using it for social media copy or sales page copy or even press releases. Because for me, I used to be a journalist. I still think of myself as a journalist, basically. So I come from the journalism world, but when it's time for me to write a press release about myself, it gets really complicated.

[00:16:19.590] - Michelle Bruno

Oh, I know. I know.

[00:16:21.400] - Marlys Arnold

So to be able to use an AI technology tool that could, at least, like you said, spit out the first draft, and then I can go back and go, Oh, okay. Well, I really like that point, but let me change this. So I think that could be a really beneficial thing for a lot of people to be able to have that as a rough draft writer, I guess you could say.

[00:16:43.960] - Michelle Bruno

Yeah. I think we need to become more creative and more additive. We need to really think deeply about, okay, if we have this baseline, we have this pile of information, how can we organize it differently? How can we add to it? How can we make it more relevant for our readers? I don't know. Definitely Chat GPT isn't doing that now. It might. And then we as humans have to go to the next level. But we always have to be thinking about where do we add value and not just duplicate or do stuff that machines can do. And we've spent our time and treasure on something that's dumb.

[00:17:31.960] - Marlys Arnold

Why spend three hours creating something when you can have the tool spit it out in, like you said, three minutes? We talked a little bit about this, but how do you verify? I know right now Chat GPT, they said is still pulling from 2021 data because that's when it was trained. Do you know how are they planning to update that? Or how do we verify the accuracy or cross check things that we get from there?

[00:18:02.720] - Michelle Bruno

Well, I think the ultimate resource would be other humans that are subject matter experts if you don't have that level of expertise. But if you can't really do that, you just have to choose trusted sources. And there are. I think our industry publications, in my opinion, can be those trusted sources. Other than that, it's going to be difficult. And maybe for some stuff, it won't be possible. But I will say that in everything you really should diversify your resources anyway. So if you're creating anything, a piece of text or an ad or whatever, you should use lots of different things. Maybe you can consult humans. Maybe you do get Chat GPT. Maybe you look at other peer reviewed materials that are already out there. Diversify where you're getting the filler for the article. So don't just rely solely on any one of those because if you do, you run the risk of a plagiarism or just being dull. I like to mix and match.

[00:19:29.380] - Marlys Arnold

Well, it goes back to what we all learned in our high school term papers. You could never turn in a term paper with just one resource cited. You had to have multiple resources that you'd used in your research. So the same thing holds true. Well, let's do a little bit of rapid fire here. And you tell me what you think about different uses for the Chat GPT or the other similar tools. What about RFPs?

[00:19:54.840] - Michelle Bruno

Yes. Although I would argue that the RFPs that we use now are boring and dull and broken.

[00:20:02.520] - Marlys Arnold

Yes, that's very true.

[00:20:04.220] - Michelle Bruno

That's why they could easily be created with an AI tool.

[00:20:09.490] - Marlys Arnold

And nothing can make them worse, right? Exactly. The Chat GPT could only make them better. Okay. What about event recaps from social posts?

[00:20:22.400] - Michelle Bruno

Yes. I think that those can be easily done with not a lot of creativity.

[00:20:29.280] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and it's a good way to curate everything in an easy way, too. Like you said, going back to the whole time management thing.

[00:20:36.830] - Michelle Bruno


[00:20:37.720] - Marlys Arnold

What about writing FAQs for your event?

[00:20:41.460] - Michelle Bruno


[00:20:42.050] - Marlys Arnold

What? Faqs, Frequently Asked Questions.

[00:20:48.500] - Michelle Bruno

Faqs, definitely. They're short, they're to the point.

[00:20:55.070] - Marlys Arnold

And have you tried it in that way? Have you seen that it can create appropriate responses?

[00:21:01.220] - Michelle Bruno

I have not tried it for FAQs, but I know as a trained technical writer, I'm trained to do manuals and stuff like that. I could see that it would easily be able to tackle something like that. Just say, here's a something, describe how a user would use it. Because it's pulling from existing information, right? It's not creating anything. So there's probably a hundred thousands, millions of existing manuals on how to plug in a coffee pot. Why would we want to create something from scratch? Take a plug, find an outlet. No.

[00:21:44.830] - Marlys Arnold

Well, what other things do you think that we should really be paying attention to right now? Do you see any other tools that are on the horizon that maybe haven't started getting traction yet or something that we really should be maybe hoping for or something you're hoping for to see on the horizon soon?

[00:22:05.760] - Michelle Bruno

Yeah. And this is not having anything to do with events. I had always hoped that AI could be used to curate and collate really serious information, medical information, or research that's being done on very difficult to solve medical problems so that we can find solutions faster. One of the things is a lot of the research is siloed or in protected spaces and funded by corporations and things like that. I would think that ultimately use for good would be to have just broad access to a lot of good work that medical professionals are doing and find out how to cure cancer and get to the bottom of ALS and Alzheimer's disease. That for me, would be the ultimate gift of AI. I'm hoping that that... So anything less than that isn't as... I mean, it's great. I love world peace and everyone, world contentment and cure to world hunger and all of that stuff. But I think going in that direction for the big things is what we should be looking for, what our expectations should be.

[00:23:37.760] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and that's a really interesting perspective because it's true when it is all studying data and evaluating and like you said, collating and finding the path through. I mean, that's where AI can do a lot of that behind the scenes stuff for us and spit out the, hey, here's what we found and give people that guidance to go forward. So I think that's...

[00:24:01.960] - Michelle Bruno

Ultimately, what it does is it looks for patterns. And there are lots of patterns that are not visible to humans. And it may just see something that we're not seeing.

[00:24:16.280] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and especially, like you said, when we all have our own little small world perspective and the AI can see the big picture. So I think that's something that could be very encouraging that we could all watch for. Well, Michelle, thank you so much. Any final thoughts? Anything that you want to just give people some additional inspiration about how to use these tools?

[00:24:38.900] - Michelle Bruno

Well, I think that... Well, you said that I could talk about the evil.

[00:24:43.610] - Marlys Arnold

Well, yeah.

[00:24:44.930] - Michelle Bruno

I think that things that we have to look out for that might be happening is that the wages and salaries might go down because expectations that, oh, now you can use AI to write these blogs or write these social media things or these white papers. I'm just not going to pay you as much, or I'm just going to consult an AI engine. So either fees and wages could go down, or some of the work that we do would be devalued, not just because we're doing a worse job, but because people think that now it's a lot easier to do that job. So they might not think that it's worth as much, and that could be across the board. I think that it could widen a digital divide that already exists, not only in our industry but just globally. But even in our industry, there is a very definite divide between those that have technological expertise and understanding and are willing to take the risks and those that aren't. And it's just probably going to be worse. But I think there's also a risk for fraud. I could see instances where technology rolls out and companies can actually create websites, create content, create videos around this alleged technology, and maybe it doesn't exist.

[00:26:29.020] - Michelle Bruno

Now there's all the tools to just put that forward. Why they would do that, I don't know. It would be a way to maybe get personal information or something like that. Catfishing and all those sorts of schemes. I think cyber security use cases are just going to probably be off the charts now because of all the ways that you can circumvent safeguards with AI and different things like that. But on the good side, I could see how it could quickly create portfolios and update resumes and do so many really useful and fantastic things. So they'll be good and evil. You have to create your own philosophy around what you value, what you want, what you can trust, and how you're going to move forward in this age of tremendous and accelerated change.

[00:27:28.820] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I love what you said earlier about that, especially if your employer starts to look at it as you are less valuable because you can use these tools and get the work done. That's where it needs to come back around. Like you said, your input and your value and your perspective really needs to be elevated and show that, hey, we can take this tool, but you're not going to get the results without my personal spin and perspective added into it. So it's just one piece of the puzzle it's not going to take over. So I really like that perspective.

[00:28:05.080] - Michelle Bruno

Yeah, I can see micromanager bosses coming around doing the walk around the office and saying, why are you making that list? Why don't you just use Chat GPT and make it easier for yourself? But when you have your own process, it's just going to throw a wrench into things. We're going to have to learn how to adapt and work around it.

[00:28:29.440] - Marlys Arnold

Yeah. And I think that's the best advice right there is we've all become really good in the events industry and adapting over recent years. And so here we go again with the next version of adapting and evolving. So Michelle, thank you so much for joining us for Trade Show Insights and giving your perspective on all of this because it is a huge change and it's happening really fast. And I think that it really helps to have your human input on all of this. So thank you for being here.

[00:28:57.260] - Michelle Bruno

Thank you so much for inviting me.

[00:29:05.020] - Marlys Arnold

If you enjoyed today's episode and would like more, you can subscribe to the podcast and automatically receive future episodes on your chosen device. Simply search for Trade Show Insights in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or virtually anywhere else that podcasts are found. Then click the subscribe button. Trade Show Insights is protected by the Creative Comments copyright license. You may feel free to share this recording with colleagues or embedded on your own blog as long as it's shared in its entirety and is not used for commercial purposes. To learn more, please see the link in the sidebar of the show notes at Well, that's it for this episode of Trade Show Insights. Be sure to check out our show notes and archives at You can also connect with me using the social media links or the contact page on the site. I'm Marlys Arnold. Thanks for listening and be sure to join us next time for more tools to improve your exhibit results.


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