Yet what fascinated me was taking a step deeper into the opportunities lying ahead of us. Machine learning has made a huge step forward during the last five years: computer vision (understanding objects and scenes), natural language (comprehend language and the ability to translate) and speech recognition (realise audio and transcribe) are impacting the way our society works and vice versa the way we do marketing. By the way AI is one of the hot topics during SXSW 2017 (“SXSW Interactive 2017: Artificial intelligence, smart cities will be major themes this year“)
Is AI the fourth industrial revolution? The new electricity? Will it make jobs obsolet? Should it pay taxes? … It is raising fascination and fear at the same time.
Here I would like to share with you how I organised my journey into this new world and what I have learned so far.
Starting to understand the market I had three questions I wanted to answer.
- What can AI offer marketing?
- How can we stay in touch with the development?
- Which are the two or three projects to work on?
Way in …
First of all I tried to understand, what artificial intelligence covers today. It is difficult to find a clear answer. There are a lot of startups translating any automated processes into AI. A seal for raising expectations and value of their product.
The best definition I could find was on Wikipedia. Wiki describes AI as any device, that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximise its chance of success.
However the lingo of this business is much more techy (deep learning, supervised or unsupervised, etc.) but I recommend you to understand at least the top 10 AI technologies shaping the market.
What can AI offer marketing?
Consumers will gain time through faster orientation and advice. They will get more relevant shopping recommendations and offers. A personalised dialogue which will lead to an increase of loyalty and engagement.
How can we stay in touch with the development?
Diving deeper into the market, behind Amazon’s Alexa, IBM Watson and Goolge’s Vision, you will find many companies putting a different focus on AI.
For example these are the TOP 50 AI companies by industry worldwide, selected by research company CB Insights using their Mosaic algorithm, based on factors like financing history, investor quality, business category, and momentum.
The enclosed map offers another interesting overview about AI companies, their location in the US and their focus.
Which are the two or three projects to work on?
Well, you will have to answer this for yourself. You can take a lot of inspiration from the above mentioned sources. Or you take a short cut and review McKinsey’s 120 machine learning business ideas here.
My bet will be using AI in the fields of learning, researching and consulting. Most likely these will be projects around
- enabling better retail processes and services as well as
- new services; www-sourced.
One of the most important task we have to solve in retail is building the ultimate seamless shopping experience. A great example of this is Amazon’s new supermarket concept, where amongst others the annoying cueing at the counter has been made obsolete (while Amazon gains a great amount of new and detailed information about their customers).
Using AI through smartphone devices in the retail space can take over the whole CRM process and management of big data. It will do a much better job for you by immediately understand the specific needs of each single visitor entering the shop and give them a personalised shop experience. It can partially compensate and reduced consulting hours of the shop assistants.
The AI will not only guide customers through the shop, offering their support picking the right products. It will know the ultimate moment, when it is a good time to offer a special deal which will drive cross-selling and take over the after-selling of products based on the interest of the visitors, too. Furthermore AI will permanently optimise the space design based on visitor journeys and interests.
Be ready for AI being a predator to apps (Gartner study) as they can takeover information services easily. It can analyse almost anything and create new content from it. It can understand the context of a written text – if it es friendly, ironic, funny, …-, understand what it is seeing or build on common sense to identify if someone is hot or not. The next step will be AI creating new services by searching the internet and online communities to ‘learn’ and build new knowledge out of what it has learned. Be prepared to meet the super smart descendants of today’s chat bots very soon, making it easy to consult and service almost any request. AI will be the driver of improved solution rate of service cases.
I hope I have been able to share with you some inspiration and valuable, new information. Feel free to share your thoughts and findings with me. Hope you enjoy your AI discoveries.