The ubiquitous nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t really up for debate any more. From intelligent assistants to advanced analytics to online shopping algorithms, AI is making its way into expediting and improving a wide variety of everyday tasks. Steve Irvine, CEO of Integrate.ai and former Facebook executive, led a discussion on the impact of AI on businesses at the 2018 Marketing Evolution Summit held earlier this year.
A few observations made by Steve – and the ongoing discourse around the growth of AI – that stand out in my mind to address the polarizing apocalypse-vs.-saviour-of-humanity debate:
- AI is not going to replace us overnight. This report by Indeed.com shows that over the past year, AI job opportunities (as a share of all job opportunities) have grown by nearly 500 per cent. That isn’t to say that AI will result in straight job loss. Rather, the opportunity for smart businesses to recognize and leverage the strengths of AI – faster and better data analysis, automation of repetitive tasks and predictable customer response patterns – while at the same time, focusing on upskilling roles for their talent to make them more creative and rewarding.
- Personalization is the key to success. As Irvine pointed out, the companies that are doing the best in the world right now—Google, Apple, Amazon— are also growing the fastest, but they are also the most adored brands. The secret sauce behind that is AI, because of its powerful potential for personalization. Some feel understood, valued and, most importantly, guilt-free when buying items off personalized recommendations on Amazon Prime, because the site looks to customize based on individual purchasing patterns. By investing in technology that makes the brand seem more relevant, connected and caring, Amazon has found a way to be profitable, yet likeable.
On the other hand, in the wake of the recent tech platform scandals, it’s a good time to reflect on how much of our personal information we’re willing to share online — especially as the tools for misusing that data get smarter and better every year.
- Break down the silos within organizations. We live in an era of Big Data. But the ownership of data – and how it is used by the organization – can be tricky. IT owns the website, marketing owns external campaigns, and the finance department owns investment into data acquisition…and the list goes on. Businesses need to break down the silos between these departments in order to turn the data into actionable insights that inform growth strategies.
While there’s little debate on the future potential of AI, the tools, strategies and ethics behind realizing its full potential responsibly are still evolving. With Toronto at the forefront of modern AI, we have a front seat on this thrilling journey into the future.