The Futureproof Project: Live from Davos!

Davos, Switzerland
Sunday, January 21, 2024

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Tara Sharp, an extraordinary marketer, thought leader and all around inspiring woman, at an amazing "Live from Davos" virtual event for The Futureproof Project! For those unfamiliar, Tara has an impressive resume, including roles as CMO of Sonic and head of marketing for Google's subscription products. Now, she's gearing up for a big leap into a CMO role at a Fortune 1000 company (which will be announced today!)

Davos 2024: A Symposium of Global Leaders and Innovators

In the stunning setting of the Swiss Alps, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos serves as a melting pot for global leaders. This year's event, graced by figures like Ukrainian President Zelensky, Al Gore, and tech leaders Sam Altman and Mark Benioff, was centered around the theme "Rebuilding Trust Amid Uncertainty."

In this vibrant forum, Tara shared some profound insights, reflecting on everything from the essentiality of trust to the transformative power of AI.

Rebuilding Trust in a Complex World

In line with the theme of Davos 2024, "Rebuilding Trust Amid Uncertainty," Tara delved into the importance of trust in technology and governance. There are 40 nations in the world that will have elections to choose a new leader in the next 24 months. Trust in those elections is critical.

And, while “trust” was the official theme of the conference, the unofficial theme everyone was talking about was AI—technology that adds complexity and depth to our collective need for trust.

AI's Transformative Impact in Energy

Tara’s biggest takeaway from Sam Altman’s interview was about the volume of energy that we're all using now with the Internet, and AI in particular. It's really important globally that our environmental consciousness is raised about how we are producing and using electricity.

She attended a great environmental debate hosted by David Gelles, climate reporter for the New York Times, the prime minister of Belgium, the CEO of the global Red Cross and Al Gore. They stressed the need to invest globally in thoughtful, conscientious, sustainable energy sources. We're making great progress with clean energy.

AI will help here too. She told us about a company that is using AI to allocate electricity on the grid more efficiently. Way more efficiently.

Rapid Advances in Healthcare

Healthcare is another area being transformed by AI! She noted AI's breakthrough in improving breast cancer detection—by 90%! That is a beacon of hope for a healthier future.

“That's astonishing. That's astonishing. We've been trying to eradicate malaria for decades, and here in a nine month period, we've been able globally to make massive progress.”

A representative from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shared that malaria has now almost been completely eradicated, in large part to some advancements with AI. Tara added, “That's astonishing. We've been trying to eradicate malaria for decades, and here in a nine month period, we've been able globally to make massive progress.”

The Evolving Job Market in the Age of AI

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) created a stir when they announced a prediction that 40% of the world’s jobs will be disrupted by AI. As Tara pointed out, "I don't have a crystal ball to tell me the future. None of us do. I do know without a doubt that humans are fearful. And anytime there's a great technology change, we worry.”

Addressing the impact of AI on jobs, Tara offered a nuanced perspective, echoing Sam Altman's insight: "AI doesn't mean job loss but a shift in skills and roles." She encouraged embracing this change, likening it to the transformative effects of the internet revolution.

“There are still many people around the world that don't have access to the Internet, and so they now also don't have access to AI.”

However, society will need to be mindful of the ever-growing divide between the haves and the have-nots. She added, “There are still many people around the world that don't have access to the Internet, and so they now also don't have access to AI.”

Gender Equality in the Tech Landscape

Tara's observations on the advancement of gender equality in the AI and tech sectors were particularly inspiring. "I personally have seen more equanimity in the advent of AI businesses than anything else I've ever seen in my career. This is just like a tsunami opportunity for women, which is really exciting" she pointed out, "this is a sea change for women in business. And I'm getting goosebumps right now just telling you all about it. It's really extraordinary to be a part of this moment."

"I personally have seen more equanimity in the advent of AI businesses than anything else I've ever seen in my career. This is just like a tsunami opportunity for women."

The Imperative of AI Governance and Ethics

Tara emphasized the importance of governance and ethics in AI development, noting, "It's really refreshing to see failure being shared because failure happens regardless, and especially when something's very new… sharing where we've tried and failed and adjusted is going to be extremely important for how we all move forward together.”

Tara challenged all of us with a call-to-action:

“My call to action for every single person that I have spoken to at this conference is… if you are an expert on something, do not assume that the United States government or the United Nations or any other government is an expert on this. I challenge each of you, each of the people that I have been here with this week, but also each of you—and there's a couple of you that I'm looking at on this call that I know are true experts in AI. You are true experts in your technological field. Please raise your hand. Please call your state legislature. Please call your national legislature and say, hey, I'm an expert in AI. I'm an expert in X. Let me help you develop your policies. Let me advise you.

Years ago, I helped the United States government… define and develop Internet privacy practices for the United States. Those ended up being adopted by more than 60 countries around the world… So I implore each of you to take a real leadership position. And even if you don't think you are the world's foremost expert, do not expect your local governments to be the experts. And then also, more importantly, don't complain when they publish protocols that you don't agree with.”

I told you she was inspiring.

AI’s Impact on Marketing in 2024

Of course, We also dove into some of the key changes that will impact marketing in 2024 and beyond. Here’s an outline of some of the key issues:


  • AI is driving a shift towards individualization in marketing.
  • The ability to personalize campaigns based on deep insights into consumer preferences and behavior is becoming a game-changer.
  • Challenges and opportunities exist in translating the talk of personalization into tangible results.


  • AI is revolutionizing the research landscape.
  • Research projects that once took months are now yielding actionable feedback within minutes.
  • The speed and efficiency of AI-driven research are enhancing marketers' understanding of customers and markets.

Meaningful Seat at the Table:

  • AI empowers marketers to have a more significant influence on decision-making.
  • Improved data, analytics, and efficient programming enable marketers to present compelling cases for additional investment.
  • The broader impact lies in marketers gaining a meaningful seat at the decision-making table.

Data and Analytics:

  • The power of AI lies in providing marketers with better data and analytics.
  • Clean, well-organized data structures are essential for AI to deliver meaningful insights.
  • Consulting on data structure and organization becomes crucial for companies aiming to harness AI's potential.

Content Generation:

  • AI is transforming content creation and generation processes.
  • The rise of prompt engineering is anticipated, with a shift towards writing prompts instead of traditional scripting.
  • Quality remains a key factor, with the focus on selecting and refining ideas generated by AI.

Efficiency and Market Research:

  • AI's impact extends to making marketing processes more efficient.
  • Efficiency gains are evident in areas like research, where AI accelerates project timelines.
  • The ability to streamline operations allows for resource reallocation and investment in other critical areas.
About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and and a founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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