The blurred background in portrait mode, improved battery saving capabilities, and voice recognition software — these are all functions that have been woven into the average smartphone users’ experience through artificial intelligence.
AI is often framed as a world-changing threshold that will be crossed at some point in the future, replete with autonomous robots displacing office workers and self-driving cars dominating the roads.
But AI’s presence is already ubiquitous and it’s being used in ways that have serious implications for marketers.
In 2018, AI became better at learning language, processing speech, and assisting workers in various industries. It’s being used to enhance cloud computing, streamline peer-to-peer networking, sift through content, and deliver ads more effectively. With AI juggernauts sharing research and technology, it became more accessible to people, companies, researchers, and governments. In the year ahead, existing AI capabilities will continue to improve and entirely new ones will emerge. Amid these ongoing breakthroughs, it’s important for your company to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to building a community and marketing with your customers. Here are three AI advances to look out for in 2019, and how marketers can seek to leverage them.
Facebook’s 10-year challenge seemed innocent enough at first glance, but if you looked beyond people warmly reflecting on the past, it became clear that AI systems were likely becoming better at figuring out how people age.
Whether it's for surveillance systems or self-driving cars, few AI tasks have received as much investment as image recognition. State-of-the-art image processing systems can draw accurate conclusions and make decisions based on databases containing billions of images.
Another technique known as transfer learning allows AI to take insights drawn from one activity and apply them to another. For example, an AI that has become adept at telling the difference between movie stars can then apply that discriminating power to distinguishing between your friends in your photos.
What this means for Pixlee’s customers is that AI can be deployed across social media platforms to identify, collect, and repurpose organic user-generated content. With an estimated 95 million photos uploaded to Instagram daily, AI can sift through the noise, generate useful content, and then allow employees to oversee any editing that has been done when redistributing that content. For example, an AI can identify images of customers wearing a specific sweater and then determine which image would perform best in photo galleries based on image clarity, lighting, and emotional content such as whether or not the people in the picture are smiling. Pixlee’s patent-pending Dynamic Display technology uses artificial intelligence applied to real-time performance data to automatically optimize every gallery, in every channel, with the best converting content. Further, AI will be able to more carefully deliver UGC and other content to consumers based on their individual expectations and preferences, which could, in turn, boost engagement rates and ultimately drive conversion down the line.
Reading the Room
When Gillette released its latest ad leading up the Super Bowl, it didn’t take much much sleuthing to understand that reactions to the commercial were intense. Most of the time, however, brands have to contend with subtler, harder-to-detect responses from followers that can often get lost in the crowd. Similar to AI’s ability to sort through images, it’s also becoming better at processing the tone and meaning of human language, which often features unusual syntax and grammar. Pixlee is able to leverage AI to analyze the emotional responses to a brand’s posts and campaigns, identify consumers who have positive feelings for the company, and create spam flexible filters to weed out negative comments.
For example, if an AI detects that negative comments overwhelmingly use a certain word, it can add that word to the spam filter.
The more data AI can work with, the smarter and more capable it becomes. But as AI has exploded in recent years, so has a call for regulation from consumers, governments, and industry watchdogs. Revelations about the volume of data collected, and the mishandling of that data, by internet giants like Facebook and Google have spurred lawmakers around the world to restrict what kinds of private information can be gathered and how it can be used.
The European Union has gone much further than the US on this front, and the General Data Protection Regulation could significantly affect the kinds of data sets companies located in member states can feed into AI systems, which could open up a gulf in AI sophistication levels across the Atlantic.
But consumers in the US and elsewhere could spur similar regulations at some point in the near future because of growing anger about the breaches of privacy that have occurred in recent years.
The ensuing regulations could put the brakes on some AI applications, such as the ability of social media sites to deliver personalized ads and content to users, but they could also allow societies to get a better grasp of how AI is shaping the future.
As more people weigh in on the pros and cons of AI, companies will likely expand their own ethical oversight by incorporating internal checks and balances, creating forums for accountability, and allowing consumers to voice concerns about how their data is being used. Just as AI has become indispensable to the modern smartphone users digital experience, so too will AI be woven into most aspects of a company’s operations. We’re excited to navigate and pioneer this paradigm shift with our trusted partners and we’re excited for what the future of AI holds.