The future role of artificial intelligence in advertising

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Drones delivering Domino's, augmented reality, the industrial internet, the age of the algorithm, real-time bidding, geo-everything, convergence, and intelligent machines. These ideas and the exponential growth and adoption of technology are no longer the musings of futurists. They are business as usual, and they're here.

Look no further than Ray Kurzweil becoming director of engineering at Google. This is our industry now -- and our destiny. The marketing technology stack of every organization is being shaped accordingly. But what does this mean back at the agency?

It means that very soon, artificial intelligence will make new inroads into advertising. And if you think that's sci-fi, you're behind the curve.

I'll start with a far out idea that's actually not. For about two decades, I have been telling colleagues, clients, students -- and most anybody that would listen -- that machines will one day, in our not-too-distant future, have human rights. To most people this notion has seemed fictional and sometimes terrifying. Today, with the acceleration and exponential growth and adoption of technology this seems more plausible, but still very far out. That said, we tend to become myopic when we live in the exponent.

Every day, everywhere, we see the dance between human and machine intelligence. Perhaps the best current example of this is our relationship with mobile -- it has become delicate, personal, and even emotional. Love, hate, trust, status, and confidence are some of the emotions we project onto our relationships with the intelligent machines we slide into our pockets and purses daily. These little helpers tell us where we are, how to find our way home, connect us to the people and things we love, and assist us in providing for our families and ourselves. These devices are starting to do a better job of anticipating our desires, needs, and our personalities. Machines are fast becoming our most valuable surrogate audience. We need to think about shifting conversations accordingly.

As marketers, we need to start talking to the machines and taking this conversation seriously. As machines reshape the notion of "consumer" in unimaginable ways, are agencies and clients ready for this shift? -- Maybe.

You can prepare yourself by understanding a few main concepts.