“If a machine can think, it might think more intelligently than we do, and then where should we be?” Alan Turing – a 1951 talk on BBC Radio
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly one of the most exciting trends of the 21st century. It seems to be on everybody’s lips. We are all interested in how AI may shape our industries or affect our businesses.
So, what does the future really look like? Is AI a threat (as Elon Musk has famously said), or a great opportunity not to be missed?
AI is already doing a bunch of weird and wonderful things in the marketing industry, which are speeding up processes and producing more accurate results.
Amazon is using machine learning to recommend products to its customers in order to improve the customer experience. Using its vast database, AI predicts what items customers would be interested in from past purchases. Tempting consumers to buy more. On a similar note, The Economist used programmatic advertising – allowing it to analyse consumer behaviour in order to better target customers. This enables the publication to increase its brand awareness and gain new readers – it won the Masters of Marketing Award as a result.
Social media giant Facebook, is using AI too. The video-on-demand service Facebook Watch is deciding which TV shows its consumers watch. Exposing users to new videos and encouraging them to engage and interact with fellow viewers, AI is used to make content predictions based on data including likes, friends and check-ins.
AI tools are also being used to combat pornography and nudity, uncovering 98% of all inappropriate posts on Facebook. Visual recognition and ‘computer vision’ software is trained to automatically flag up graphic content because of certain elements in the image.
The rate and scale of AI development suggests that it will play a major role in the future of work, and therefore naturally in the future of the marketing industry.
But the impressive development of AI has also led to a certain amount of fear. In 2018, 53% of the UK’s population said they were weary of AI’s effects, and most people worry that AI will cause job losses. Will robots become better than the human brain?
No. AI cant compete with the human brain because we, the designers of AI, don’t know enough about the human brain ourselves. Although the use of AI is on the rise, it’s unlikely that it will become a threat any time soon.
Certainly, AI can do some jobs more efficiently than humans, but people will always be faster to adjust than computers. AI’s ability to learn vast amounts of data, recognise patterns, and split out results has enhanced many industries, but AI continues to struggle with some of the most basic world views of the human brain, due to its ability to learn the way we do. Although there are lots of computerised tools available that are effective at collecting data, the value is being able to turn this data into a comprehensive strategy. This requires creativity and critical thinking – skills that are currently best exercised by humans.
AI is helping marketers reach more consumers and allows for more truly data-driven marketing campaigns to be properly used and integrated into ad campaigns. However, many tasks within a marketing agency require contextual knowledge of multiple aspects of a client’s business – not just the ability to interpret a data set.
The most compelling content is written for humans, by humans. Content needs to be authentic and imaginative – it’s unlikely that a computer will ever be able to write on a truly human level as it lacks emotion and context. If it ever does happen, we are a long way off. Especially if this film, Sunrise, written by AI, is anything to go by.
AI should not be underestimated as a useful tool which can benefit your marketing strategy. AI is changing the way that marketers operate. Take the increase in voice searches for example. Marketers now need to consider what might be expressed in a voice search and tailor content accordingly. Ignoring these obvious changes may mean being left behind. It’s time for marketers to embrace the technological revolution.
Despite its obvious credentials, we are doubtful about AI’s ability to ever replace the creative industries. AI can do the number crunching, but creative thinking and seeing the big picture remains a challenge. As it stands, AI’s true value lies in its ability to aid human processes, rather than replace them.
If you think your business could do with a creative brain (and not a robot) to help you manage your marketing strategy get in touch, it’s what we do!