Artificial intelligence touches some form of our life every day. Not only does it change the way we see and interact with brands, it also improves the way we manage brands.

Efficiency, accuracy, and automation are currently the key advantages of working with AI technologies so it is imperative for brands to understand AI and how it can enhance the overall customer experience journey.

When using technology we sometimes forget where AI is operating in everyday moments.

For example, Facebook uses facial recognition to recommend who to tag when you upload a photo. Facebook is now claiming that its AI DeepFace program has a 97 per cent success rate in recognizing whether two images are of the same person or not – compared to 96 per cent for humans.

When on Google, AI uses deep learning to rank our search results. Netflix uses machine learning to personalise our recommendations. Amazon uses natural language processing to give us the news delivered by Alexa. The Sydney Morning Herald’s website uses AI to write data-driven articles to support our daily editorial consumption. From smarter web searches to e-commerce recommendations to voice assistants, AI is integrated into how we live, work, and communicate in the world.

Connected devices now capture unthinkable volumes of data: every transaction, every customer gesture, every micro- and macro-economic indicator: in fact, all the information that can inform better decisions. In response to this new data-rich environment, we have now started to adapt our workflows when we fuse creativity with technology.

Moving from data-driven to AI-driven is the next phase of our business evolution. Embracing AI across company workflows affords better processing of structured data and allows for the touch of human creativity to contribute in complementary ways.

Early in my career, human judgment was the central processor of any business decision-making. Just about any input in the creative process, we relied on highly-tuned intuitions, developed from years of experience to pick the right idea, develop the correct creative execution, and then determine the right media spend. Experience and gut instinct were two key factors available to discern right from bad, high from low, and risky vs. safe.

Over time we have learned that advancement in technology can provide the evidence to enhance and support a decision or create an output—getting the balance right as AI advances are both a challenge, a responsibility, and where the magic can be found.

Different strokes

AI is often confused with marketing automation, yet the two are fundamentally different. AI mimics human intelligence decisions and actions, while automation focuses on streamlining repetitive, instructive tasks.

Automation has been around for some time and continues to be integrated into most marketing operations such as auto-generation of emails or mobile alerts to customers when a customer data signal has been triggered along with a customer decision map.

Artificial intelligence tries to solve problems that occur in the world as it exists, many centres on what people had initially been created. We can teach and use AI to do some pretty creative problem-solving solutions if we can understand this.

Technology does not suppress creativity, in fact, technology enhances creativity. The difference is that creativity comes from observing the world, interpreting it, and bringing new concepts and ideas. In other words adding humanity, which is not something a machine is ever going to be able to do.

Technology and AI advancement do however have significant implications for a Chief Marketing Officer especially in terms of where to spend time and find differentiation. Marketing is now about creating an experience across the entire customer journey and less about creating messages about the product you sell.

To learn more about Automation and Control in an AI powered world, check out Secret & Lies ‘Humanity and Machine’ podcast with special guest Lee Hickin, Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Australia.

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