Commentary

The AI And Machine Learning Revolution Is Upon Us

Not long ago, I sat in the audience of the FutureM conference in Boston listening to Tim Berners-Lee talk about all that has come to pass from his original efforts in establishing the World Wide Web, and all that is to come with AI and machine learning.  One of the most interesting questions posed was, “How will we look back at this moment in time when it comes to how technology has impacted our lives?”

He answered that, of course, we would think of this as a time when technology had progressed very quickly, and we had discovered many things that made our lives more convenient.  But in the future, he said, we will look back on “a feeling of being handcuffed to our devices.”

The need to access our computers or handheld devices in order to get what we’re looking for will be remembered as a clunky nuisance, Berners-Lee predicted, and we can expect a time “when everything becomes more intuitive, and the things we want are more naturally embedded within our environments.”

I sat there thinking that most people are not imagining what the experience of AI and machine learning will bring to their lives.

It reminded me of an earlier time -- the advent of the Internet, and then mobile and social platforms -- which changed our lives in ways we never expected.

It took marketers time to catch up to consumers -- and, in fact, they are still playing catch up.  AI and machine learning applications are set to rock our worlds again, and if we want to benefit from experience, it is imperative that we stay open to important technology-driven behavior changes coming our way.

Already, tech titans like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon etc. are racing to acquire AI start-ups, (many of which are pre-revenue), just to establish a foothold on the next wave. In this post, Magister Advisers sums up the voracious appetite strategic acquirers have for technologies and teams that will help them shift their businesses to deliver on AI and machine learning behaviors.

Now, it’s not as though using data automation is new to marketers and advertisers, but let’s not get “programmatic” advertising confused with AI and machine learning. Marketers need to address the ways in which the entire experience of media and marketing will be affected, beyond efficient audience targeting.   We are moving into a period where marketers will need to become proficient in applying algorithms to the actual user experience — considering visuals, voice, function, conversations, and emotion.  

Is the advertising industry ready to scale AI?  The short answer is, not yet. But there are signs of disruption. Agencies are building services on top of AI technologies, and there are already some mature AI-based marketing technologies established that go well beyond audience targeting.

SocialFlow, Celtra, and X+1/Rocket Fuel are a few companies in my sphere that are using algorithms that learn to blend audience targeting with effective creative messaging. But the industry is still honing its skills to use these technologies to their highest advantage.

Make note, though, that some marketers are gaining an advantage through the proper use of these technologies.  Moreover, the marketplace is ripe for development and application of AI, as noted by Rudina Seseri, my partner and founder and managing partner of Glasswing Ventures, in her article, “Artificial Intelligence Will Drive the Next Disruption Wave.”

Let’s not forget how the digital revolution created winners and losers.  Marketers need to prepare to win the next revolution of AI and machine learning, and clearly articulate how they are implementing AI into their solutions.

(Editor’s note: A long-time agency and digital media vet, Sarah Fay is now a partner in Glasswing Ventures, a VC firm specializing in AI and machine learning startups. She will be a regular contributor to the AI Insider.]

1 comment about "The AI And Machine Learning Revolution Is Upon Us ".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from DragonSearch, July 21, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    The editors note "Sarah Fay... will be a regular contributor to AI Insider." From my own experience, I can state with confidence that when she offers opinions and advice, it should be followed.

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