The Myth, the Machine, the Legend: the Robot

Artificial intelligence (AI) might be all the rage today but the philosophical questions it poses — can machines replace humans, can AI and machines be trusted, and how can AI be used humanely?— are hardly unique. Greek mythology tackled such questions over 2,500 years ago. The myth of Talos tells of a giant bronze man forged by the god Hephaestus. Created to defend the island of Crete from unwanted visitors, Talos’s “body had a single vein, which ran all the way from his neck to his ankle, sealed there with either a bronze nail or a thin membrane of skin.” Read


A.I. Content Intelligence Could Mean 90% Creativity, 10% Perspiration

The advertising maven Dave Trott once professed “Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” These are important words to keep in mind because it is getting harder and harder for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition. The marketing process has always been expensive and highly laborious. Anything that reduces cost and increases automation should help free up talent, which will help them focus on the most important thing in marketing today — creativity. Read


AI A Personalization Engine On Steroids

Marketing has come a long way since the days of John Wanamaker and his famous complaint that he didn’t know which half of his marketing spend was useful and which wasn’t. However, as senior Forbes contributor George Bradt contends in his article, Wanamaker Was Wrong — The Vast Majority Of Advertising Is Wasted, attribution is extremely difficult to measure, and brands would be smarter to try to spot their most loyal customers, rather than try to figure out the exact steps that should be attributed to a purchase. Although there are plenty of tools available to collect purchasing behavior, piecing together a somewhat reliable path-to-purchase is not easy, and Bradt believes the money is better spent both finding loyal customers and providing those customers with a personalized experience they will learn to covet. Read


How companies use sentiment analysis to both ensure strong brand management

“Sentiment” is a rather intriguing concept. It can mean attitude, feeling, bias, view, thought, and even something as deeply felt as emotion. Sentiment analysis that utilizes AI and machine learning has become a powerful tool for companies to understand how their customers and/or potential customers feel about their company. It can also be used for competitive analysis to take the temperature of a rival’s products or services. “When you can’t convince them with intellect, persuade them with sentiment,” is author Amit Kalantri’s recommendation. It’s a concept businesses should keep in mind when trying to ensure strong brand management, just not quite in the way he had intended it. Read


For identity, it’s not just facial recognition anymore

“The serial number of a human specimen is the face, that accidental and unrepeatable combination of features. It reflects neither character nor soul, nor what we call the self. The face is only the serial number of a specimen,” said author Milan Kundera. It’s a rather unromantic way of looking at what many would consider the most important part of a human being, and Kundera was disregarding so many other ways human beings can be identified, such as through their gait, their voice, even their heartbeat. The uses for identification technology are growing by the day as airlines, retailers, casinos, hotels, automobile manufacturers, financial services companies, social media platforms, and even government departments are using voice, facial, and even heartbeat recognition technology to identity VIPs, to keep areas safe and secure, to cut down on merchandise losses, to be part of a payment platform, and even to act as biometric passwords. Read 


AI’s Olympic Gold-worthy Goal-Driven Systems

One of the most important things we can learn from Olympic athletes is the concept of focus, and how to set goals. This is more than just the idea of a long-term, ethereal objective that can take years to achieve; it is about making concrete goals, such as when a 100-meter sprinter crouches into the starting blocks before a race and closes his or her eyes to block out all but the most important stimuli at that moment — the gunshot that signifies the start of the race.

Many sprinters close their eyes because they fear being distracted by a competitor’s flinch. They know jumping out of the blocks too soon means a false start and instant disqualification. So, they shut out all the senses but the one needed most. Once the starting gun fires, the sprinter races out of the blocks, with eyes popping open, and then he or she focuses like a laser on the finish line, their new goal while blocking everything else out. Read


AI: Putting the Habit Back Into Customer Marketing

The renowned behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner once said, “The major difference between rats and humans is that rats learn from experience.” His words are certainly comical and do contain an element of truth, but human beings are, first and foremost, creatures of habit. Their behaviors come from experience, and these behaviors are highly quantifiable. This is even true for their shopping behaviors, as the proliferation of retail analytics and apps has shown.

If marketers can understand the habits of their customers, they can predict potential customer purchases, which can help businesses in a multitude of ways. Smart businesses can utilize these behavior patterns in a predictive way and optimize their manufacturing, supply chain logistics, labor management, marketing, and sales processes. With its powerful predictive capability, AI can help with this optimization. Read


Hackers: The Vampires of the 21st Century

In every classic vampire movie, there’s a moment when the soon-to-be victim lingers on the threshold of his or her abode and an attractive vampire leans in and innocently asks, “Aren’t you going to invite me in?” The hapless protagonist, having never seen a vampire film before, says those fateful words, “How rude of me. Please, do come in,” and his or her fate is sealed.

Vampires know all too well that they must follow a strict set of rules and entering a residence without permission is forbidden in the vampire playbook. So, they play the game, even resorting to overt sexual flirtation to get what they want — in this case, entry into the person’s residence. Once inside, all hell breaks loose. The soon-to-be victim realizes a massive error in judgment has been made, one they might not live to regret, and the vampire gets a feeding. Read


AI: The Inverse Tower of Babel

The Old Testament’s ‘Tower of Babel’ story is an origin myth that tries to explain why humanity doesn’t speak a single, universal language. According to the Bible, a united human race that speaks the same language arrived in the land of Shinar and decided to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. Annoyed — once again, it can probably be said — by humanity’s growing arrogance and budding hubris, God confounded humanity’s speech, dividing its people into separate linguistic groups that couldn’t understand one another. Just to ensure they don’t start comparing and contrasting their languages to reach some form of translating breakthrough, God dispersed humankind to all corners of the earth and set the stage for what is today a world of 6,500 languages. For God, a job well done and the situation remained static for centuries, that was until tribes starting trading with each other, armies started fighting one another, and diplomats initiated conflict resolution measures to try to end the wars that were often started due to misunderstandings of one kind or another. Read


As the Browser Cookie Crumbles...

Like Mark Twain’s claim that the news of his death was greatly exaggerated, the news of the browser cookie’s death might also have been a little premature, but the cookie’s demise, like the Twain claim, is destined to be fulfilled and whether it’s within a year, a two or three, it cannot be stopped. The cookiepocalypse is upon us whether we like it or not. The browser cookie is headed to oblivion because it is incompatible with today’s push for personal privacy that is being embraced by brands and governments worldwide. However, this shouldn’t be something to fear. The opportunity offers to companies willing to embrace the cookieless future is quite substantial. Read