The Age of Automation

There is no denying the fact that we are living in an era where Artificial Intelligence and machine learning software are becoming omnipresent. Industries of all kinds are continuing to embrace its pioneering feats, whilst consumers are continuing to wallow in amusement as they command Alexa to play Bohemian Rhapsody and enlist the help of Elsa Speak to refine your pronunciation skills. Not to mention the endless other smart apps rallying for users’ attention, from Edison Assistant to Socratic, where students can take a photo of their homework and watch the magic of AI capabilities present concepts to them that will help them solve it. A saviour for them, but perhaps a parent’s worst nightmare.

So … what has any of this got to do with what we, as The Interpreters, do? And how will the permeation of AI reshape the way industries will optimise their data collection and marketing execution strategies?

Although there has been widespread resistance to artificial intelligence and its potential to fully replace all human interaction with customers, as was seen with Facebook’s chat bot, an article from Vanessa Mitchell makes it clear that rather replace human intelligence and creativity altogether, it will empower and facilitate businesses to use data in the most efficient and personalised ways possible. Not only will it ease the load of marketers who can divert their innovative efforts into other areas, it would play a substantial role in the creative process.  Consider the example where Toyota’s car of the future, Mirai, launched a campaign entirely scripted by IBM Watson.

For starters, early adopters of AI will be able to capture more precise segmentation through advanced clustering of customers based on their personas, motivations and needs – a researcher’s dream come true. It will also help solve the gruelling process pertaining to data accuracy by overcoming the bias and fallacy that boils down to good old human error. The impact for marketers? Delivering optimised experiences and boosting customer loyalty. A win-win for both parties.

Then there’s the personalisation aspect where the customer journey can be tracked, sequenced and predicted by collecting deeper insights and combining unstructured data with structured data.

But then comes the question as to what extent artificial intelligence should fully replace human creativity and interaction. As the old saying goes, always look through the eyes of your customer to delve into their deep-seated needs and desires. But it may soon become a question of who or what mediums will be in charge behind the lens of consumers, and if we can trust him/her/they. Will we start to see the personal relationship between customers and brands dissipate?

Nevertheless, amidst privacy and data concerns, the challenge for marketers and brands lies in their ability to retain consumer trust through openness and transparency. For marketers, they must find new ways of restructuring their processes and marketing efforts to accommodate the revolutionary features of AI, yet at the same time ensure that their core beliefs and values remain true and are integrated seamlessly. Just as businesses can so quickly misuse data, so too can trust be broken quickly. It becomes a matter of using Artificial intelligence ‘intelligently’, so as not to compromise the quality of human creativity and customer interaction altogether.

So, here’s a simple take out message. Don’t fear change. Or better yet, don’t fear the inevitable. Because just as consumer expectations are rapidly increasing, so too is the technology to keep up with it. It is about finding the right balance between investing in new technology, cementing and interweaving it within your brand’s core values and purpose.


By Barbara Potiriadis

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