The Rise Of The Machines – The Future and AI

The latest Marketing Week started off this year by asking if marketers should fear for their jobs, using the following opening phrase for its Rise of the Machines article:

“It has been predicted that machines will eventually overtake human intelligence thanks to the advancement of computer power and increase in data collection”

The article aims to put to light what artificial intelligence could mean to all, including marketeers and if this means the end of marketing jobs or…..the end of marketing functions as we know them.

Firstly it appears to take an “end is nigh” doomsday approach, as the article produces some scary stats on how AI will destroy 6% of all jobs in the US by 2021, focusing on clerks, receptionists, paralegals, retail salespeople, taxi drivers and chauffeurs. This data comes from reputable sources, including Forrester, Oxford University and Deloitte, the latter two stating it won’t be so bad for marketers.

However, the crux and where we find ourselves nodding our heads in agreement with is the statement that AI is not the destruction of roles but actually a change in roles, (in particular focusing on marketing roles). This is an opinion that we apparently share with Larry Kotch, co-founder of Brain broker.

Kotch continues to talk about how roles will change to a more consultative and managerial nature rather than implementation. He continues to talk about how marketers will need to “consult on how to use tools”.

We naturally agree with this and agree that roles will need to shift and those specialising in best practice for tools and how best to use the ever growing amount of data will be able to carve out successful careers for themselves.

The article goes into great detail about jobs, functions etc. However we would also like to add the data side of things, namely social data. This is briefly touched upon in the article too as Rurik Bradbury talks about AI still needing to learn from humans to improve, but here is our social take:

Let’s take sentiment for example, this is where tools have come a long way since their launch, with NLP (natural language processing) being key to improving the results, but these are still only 90% accurate. To achieve 100% accuracy the need to retrain posts and comments to the current sentiment will always be needed.

Again on the subject of language – it will be a long time before any AI can pick up nuances of sarcasm, jokes and the ever-evolving abbreviations and colloquialisms used by the likes of YouTuber/bloggers and cultural celebrities shaping the media world we live in.

Demographics in social insights will also require a human touch as more and more users of social channels chose not to divulge this information.

Lastly, the vast volume of data itself poses a “problem” which can only be solved with a human who is capable of contextualising the data: Use it to define objectives, find opportunities, address issues and ultimately guide business strategy.

AI is of course going to shape the future for roles, each role being affected in unique, challenging and exciting ways, but especially when looking at social intelligence tools, where insights are used for both guiding strategies and campaigns as well as evaluating how campaigns have performed, for us nothing beats the human touch.

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