Humans of AI

– 6 min read

Why curiosity matters for Maximus’ Jared Curtis

Generative AI and business communications success

Alaura Weaver

Alaura Weaver

In a world driven by technological advancements, it’s the individuals who lean into curiosity that truly make a difference. Jared Curtis, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Maximus, is one such individual. With a passion for pushing boundaries and a deep understanding of the transformative potential of technology, Jared is on a mission to revolutionize the way businesses communicate.

In our latest episode of Humans of AI, we had the privilege of diving into Jared’s remarkable journey with generative AI and its impact on business communications. Jared’s story isn’t just about the adoption of cutting-edge technology, but about the human beings at the heart of it all.

Jared’s exploration with generative AI began as a capstone project for a master’s program, where he delved into the possibilities of AI writing assistants in business communications. What started as an academic endeavor quickly turned into a passion project, fueled by Jared’s unwavering belief in the power of collaboration between humans and AI.

Throughout our conversation, Jared shared his vision for a future where AI and human creativity work together, producing content that captivates and engages audiences like never before. He envisions a world where the boundaries between human and machine blur, giving rise to a new era of communication that’s both efficient and deeply human.

Join us as we embark on this inspiring journey with Jared Curtis, exploring the challenges he faced, the ethical considerations he prioritized, and the remarkable benefits he reaped through the integration of generative AI in business communications. Through his story, we’ll discover the immense potential of the human-AI partnership and the transformative impact it can have on the way we connect, engage, and inspire.

Summarized by Writer

  • Maximus uses generative AI for multiple purposes, such as creating short-form content from long-form, thought leadership articles, and social media posts.
  • Maximus conducted a survey to understand whether their audience preferred content created by humans, AI, or a combination of both. The results showed that content created by a human with AI assistance was preferred.
  • Maximus has an AI Code of Conduct and AI principles to guide their use of AI.
  • Maximus has a culture of innovation which made the adoption of AI easier.
  • The workflows at Maximus didn’t change significantly after the adoption of AI, but they expect to see more benefits once they build out workflows within the AI tool and train the model.

Incorporating AI in content development can lead to better results and audience engagement

Jared Curtis, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Maximus, discussed the company’s innovative journey with generative AI. The company’s exploration with AI started as a capstone project for a master’s program which examined using AI writing assistants in business communications. Curtis said, “We started this in February this year… Once we researched and gained an understanding of what generative AI is, then we looked at the use cases in which we could apply it.”

Maximus’ four use cases for AI included developing content for email communications tools, adopting a “Smart Brevity” philosophy for concise content, creating thought leadership articles, and generating social media posts. Curtis noted that the results were significant, revealing that collaboration between humans and AI led to better content. “A human with AI won out in every category that we presented. Human was second, AI alone was third. That really nailed down the point for me, the partnership between us and AI just leads to better content,” Curtis shared.

Moving forward with AI includes the importance of understanding ethical standards and creating a code of conduct

In the process of fully integrating AI into their communication systems, Maximus realized the importance of creating a code of conduct for its use. Curtis explained, “One of the big things that I wanted to make sure that was in there is that when we’re using generative AI, that we preserve the human connection and the relationships.” He emphasized the importance of having a human gatekeeper to ensure accuracy and maintain privacy and security.

Curtis also pointed out that they didn’t force anyone to use generative AI, offering flexibility to their writers. “I’d still want to give the flexibility to my writers that if they have an idea, they’re free to bring that from ideation down to delivery,” he stated. This approach not only respects the creative process but also ensures the human touch remains evident in all communications.

AI adoption requires understanding, proper planning, and a strategic approach

Curtis touched on the Dunning-Kruger effect in relation to AI adoption, where people initially assume AI will solve everything before they understand what it actually can and can’t do. He emphasized the importance of understanding the practices, capabilities, and potential risks of AI. “You have to have a really good sign-off process because, again, you’ve got to be that gatekeeper for ethics and security and all the other things, and just reinforcement of those ethical standards,” Curtis said.

The adoption of AI at Maximus was smooth due to the company’s culture of innovation. Curtis noted, “I think we might be the exception because it was easy. They were bought in and I think it’s really the culture of the organization that you’re in that helps lead you into that path.” This highlights the value of having a culture that is open to new technological advancements and willing to explore innovative solutions.

AI can significantly improve the efficiency and quality of content generation

Maximus saw significant benefits in terms of time saving and content quality even from using the base model of generative AI. Curtis said, “We had good strong benefits from using the base. And we saw the time savings. But I think we’ll see even more once we build out the workflows within the tool.” He pointed out that training the AI model to understand their language and vernacular could make the process even faster.

Looking towards the future, Curtis expressed excitement about the potential of AI. He said, “In the next, you know, two to three years, the efficiencies that will be gained from generative AI from where we are today to where we are going to be in three years. I think it’s going to be night and day.” This reflects the transformative potential of AI in reshaping the landscape of content generation and communication.

Key quotes

“One of our core values at Maximus is innovation. And I really take that to heart.”

“You‌ have to look at what your use cases are. Where is it going to best fit within your organization or within your team that you’re going to get benefits from?”

“I wanted to ensure that there’s always a human gatekeeper with anything that comes out.”

“I’m all about being responsible. I think all of us as communicators or whatever profession you’re in, the tools that we’re using, there’s a level of responsibility that comes with that.”

“Communicators that are not using AI today are going to be really just left behind tomorrow.”