At the MediaPost Video Insider Summit Tuesday morning, Simulmedia CRO John Piccone said that programmatic wants to be media on autopilot, but other panelists argued that it will never be fully automated.
Piccone said programmatic wants to get to the point where “media is just transacting itself because the humans in the room have defined what the business success metrics are, the parameters, the creative, etc., and then you push the button and media just runs on autopilot,” he said. “That’s what it wants to be.”
Piccone was on the “Is Software Really Going To Eat TV?” panel, led by moderator Gary Reisman, CEO and co-founder of Leap Media Investments. Reisman questioned whether or not the industry really wants to be on autopilot, likening the push for full automation to, well, pilots.
“Even planes that fly automatically need to take off and land,” he said. "They need some sort of human guidance. And the value proposition is not going to -- I don’t believe -- ever get full atomization, right? I don’t even think we want to get to full automation.”
Mediaocean’s Cordie DePascale, SVP of product management, said you can’t have full automation, and that the reason programmatic exists is because of the “myriad of supply out there and options to choose from." He argued that "when you have that complexity and sophistication, you need systems to present the data and the findings in a certain way so the humans can make the decision about what to procure.”
In Piccone’s defense, he did not argue that the industry should be on full autopilot -- he did say humans would “define business success metrics, parameters, and creative” before pressing the autopilot button.
The humans vs. machines debate is one of my favorites, and while these panelists backed humans, I still think the
machines won the round.
Why? Because the panelists anthropomorphized programmatic. Come to think of it, I'm sure it's something I've done before too. As Reisman said later in the panel: "It's easy to get caught up in the tech."
But “programmatic’s goal” is not a thing -- goals still belong to humans. Or have we lost sight of that?