How many of you are augmented cyborgs?
The above question was put to the audience by futurist, Maurice Conti, in one of his Ted Talks, which I happened to stumble into yesterday.
The speaker, who kicks off his talk with a quick brush up on human history, cites how human civilisation has progressed from the Hunter-gatherer era (which lasted several million years), to the Agricultural era, that lasted several thousand years, on to the Industrial age, which lasted a couple of centuries, and now (as he suggests) we’ve even surpassed the Information Age, which lasted just a few decades…
Maurice states: We’re already in an era where our natural human capabilities will be ‘augmented’ by computational systems that help us think; robotics systems that help us make; and digital nervous systems that connects us to the world far beyond our natural senses! Today, we’re at the cusp of our new era as a species... The ‘AUGMENTED AGE’!
And coming back to the question - whether it is about receiving a quick answer from your smart phones on the question, ‘Siri, do I need a visa to go to Singapore?’ or finding the shortest route to the airport, just by asking your google assistant – we're already experiencing ‘cognitive augmentation’ via the computational capabilities of machines or the Artificial Intelligence (AI) we have created. (We’re not quite a ‘cyborg’, but definitely paving the way to becoming one in the near future).
Not too long ago in the 50s, we built a computer as large as a house, which could play ‘tic-tac-toe’. But since then computers have defeated chess masters, won at the game of ‘Jeopardy, and in March 2016, Google’s Deepmind AlphaGo beats top human player at ‘go’ (the most difficult game with more possible moves than there are atoms in the universe).
This win by a machine has ushered in a new breed of Artificial Intelligence. It's said that AlphaGo has actually shown its cognitive capability to ‘think’ like humans, because to win the game, ‘intuition’ was needed rather than just ‘logical reasoning’. The AI that powers the brain of AlphaGo is a ‘Deep learning’ method of artificial neural network, instigated via Monte Carlo Tree Search algorithm.
It is such similar AI, powered by algorithms, which enable machines to learn and evolve on their own. And nowadays, though many of us are oblivious about it, AI is enabling machines to do cognitive tasks generally carried out by humans. It carries the potential to enable marketers to create content at scale and deliver right content at the right time, to targeted audience.
As per IBM: Cognitive content marketing is the process of creating and distributing high-quality content to educate, engage, attract and acquire prospects into customers, customers into repeat buyers, and repeat buyers into advocates.
It's used by Netflix to recommend shows to us, it's used by Amazon to create personalised online shopping experience, Facebook uses it to identify faces in photos and filter newsfeeds, the list goes on…
Now imagine the myriad of tasks that content marketers have to go through: Keyword planning, generating blogpost titles, writing, optimizing, personalising and automating content, reviewing analytics, testing landing pages, scheduling social shares, etc.
Is it possible that the machines/software or rather, Artificial Intelligence (AI) did most of these tasks and you're simply there to enhance, monitor and provide better value and experience to your customers?
Here are some of the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already automating the ‘content marketing’ world, paving a promising future:
1. Creating Content Automatically
It may come as a surprise, but some of the sports news or stock updates that you’ve been reading lately, was actually generated by an algorithm. The sentence below is one such creation of an AI regarding a baseball game:
“Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.”
These AI generated stories have also been used by organisations like Associated Press, Yahoo, and Fox, for some time now. Automated Insights have pioneered this capability of ‘natural language generation’ for many organisations, including The Associated Press. Below is an example from a car shopping website, Edmunds, which has used similar AI to generate automated content:
2. Persado’s ‘Marketing Persuasion Technology’
With its customers ranging from top organisations including, Neiman Marcus, Angie’s List, Expedia, Zipcar and Verizon, Persado’s algorithms digs into the DNA of marketing language and uses those discoveries to craft unique messages as triggers to drive desired action.
Customers like Expedia and Verizon have already experienced improved conversions by an average of 49.5 percent by using auto-optimizing email content and subject lines with Persado.
As the AI runs on a machine-learning platform, the ‘cognitive’ capabilities are always evolving and learning from it’s already over a billion ‘consumer impressions’. The platform is constantly evolving, to now even claiming to determine an individual customer’s ‘emotional ID’- i.e. person’s specific emotional triggers, which can help generate precise emotional language and creative assets, specifically optimised for the individual consumer.
With advancement in their technology, Presado and other similar platforms armed with such ‘deep learning’, AI will be able to accurately predict the products/services individual consumers will most likely want, at the exact right time (Predictive Intelligence) – which will usher a new playing field in customer relationship, with unprecedented level of intimacy!
Chatbots are those programs that use artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic conversation with users/customers. Chatbots and virtual assistants like the ones built in Facebook Messenger, or within the Slack platform like the Slackbot, or Allo of Google, etc., are all equipped to carrying out conversations with the users, in order to answer their queries and concerns in real time.
Brands like 1-800 Flowers and Uber use Facebook Messenger Chatbots that facilitate users to order flower arrangements and request a ride, right from the Facebook Messenger without the need to jump onto their respective apps/sites to place the order.
These Chatbots can also be used for promotional content, but primarily they help expedite customer support process, as the customers can find answers to their queries in real time via conversation, instead of having to fill out a form.
4. Automating Better Customer Experiences
A much more intelligent AI, from the Messenger chatbots, Siri and Cortana, is the IBM’s Watson. Unlike the chatbots, Watson doesn’t just make suggestions based on requests and questions from the users. It has the capability to understand, learn, reason and interact, it can process language commands and respond like a human.
For instance, if you’re looking for answers to a query, Watson will not only be able to provide you with the answers, but also is ‘intelligent’ enough to direct you to other relevant marketing materials, that will help solve problems for you in the future.
The example above is that of North Face that uses Watson, to create the ‘store-shopping experience’ on its online portal. The bot asks the users a series of questions about their jacket preferences, and then gives options based on the shoppers’ selections.
Similarly, in the example above, Hilton Hotel partnered with Watson to create a Connie, the concierge robot. Connie is an Intelligent Assistant (IA) who interacts with the guests and helps them with their queries.
To Sum It Up…
Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, with its machine learning capabilities are increasingly being adept at analysing a huge amount of available data, in a way that wasn’t possible by analytical programs before.
The technology has dramatically opened new opportunities for content marketers to deliver a much personalised and optimised experience to the consumers.
If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.
Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email email@example.com
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