We’re living in the midst of an artificial intelligence explosion. All of a sudden, many different types of artificial intelligence are crawling out of the woodwork and changing the way we live our lives. We’ve got artificial intelligence that trawls the internet for data, we’ve got artificial intelligence that can beat grand masters at the game of Go, and we’ve got AI that can drive cars and drones. Many commentators have likened the current episode in technological history to the Cambrian explosion, a period about 500 million years ago when the number of different species on Earth exploded, and we got the current diversity we see today.
Artificial intelligence is going to impact all parts of business too, especially marketing. Here are some of the emerging trends that are being shaped by advances in artificial intelligence.
Automated Assistants, Online And On The High Street
Back in the 1950s when Alan Turing and John von Neumann were developing the very first universal computing machines, they imagined a world in which people would be able to have everyday conversations with computers. Soon they wondered whether it would be possible to build an electronic brain with all the subtleties and knowledge of a human. Before long they devised a test that would confirm or deny whether a computer was intelligent or not. They suggest that a panel of experts be assembled to have a blind conversation with either a computer or a bunch of human actors. If after, say, ten minutes of conversation, they couldn’t tell whether they were talking to a computer or a human, then the computer would pass the test and be considered to have a human level of intelligence. This test was later dubbed the Turing test, after the brilliant mathematician and computer scientist who came up with the idea.
No computers have yet managed to beat a genuine Turing test, but they’re getting much better. The current wave of artificial intelligence technology has made voice recognition excellent indeed. What’s more, now that computers like the Amazon Echo are on the cloud, they’re able to connect people to the information they want, quickly and effortlessly.
Companies are starting to use artificial intelligence to replace human assistants. It turns out that the vast majority of problems that people have are actually rather routine and can be solved with the help of a basic automated system, rather than with the help of a human. This means that companies are now able to provide some customer services for free. What’s more, they able to deploy customer assistants in anywhere they come into contact with their clients since providing these services is virtually cost-less. This means that eCommerce companies will be able to implement artificial intelligence to help customers navigate the checkout without clicking out.
Enhancing The Role Of Search
Larry Page, a founder of Google, has said that the ultimate search engine would be able to provide you with the exact answer you want, based on your question. The way search engines worked until recently, however, didn’t guarantee that people would find what they were looking for. Instead, search results were almost entirely based on keywords, which may or may not have been related to the meaning of the search query. Now, though, search engine giants, like Google, are working on search engines that will respond to meaning, rather than to individual keywords. This means that customers will be able to search using natural language questions and get the answers that they want.
SEO tools have already changed considerably. But with the rise of intelligent search, they’ll need to evolve again. Not only will companies have to focus on keywords, but they’ll also have to make sure that the actual meaning of their content is closely aligned with customer questions. Businesses will need to focus more on more on answering the right questions – not just talking about related content – if they want to win the SEO game.
Better Identification Of Trending Content
There’s a huge marketing advantage for companies who can spot trending content and get on the bandwagon early. The only difficulty is seeing the trending content and preparing a response before it’s gone mainstream. Again, artificial intelligence will come to the rescue. One of the strengths of today’s AI algorithms is their ability to recognize patterns in among all the noise. With enough examples of the patterns of data generated by trending topics on social media and forums, companies will be able to predict in advance which stories and topics will grow to become dominant. This then allows them to put together marketing ideas to hitch a ride on a wave of popularity, exposing more people to their brand.
A significant barrier for eCommerce companies at the moment is the checkout. Between a quarter to a half of all customers abandon their shopping cart before making the final payment, meaning that online companies lose a lot of business that they might have had, had they been regular stores. A couple of innovations might change this sorry state of affairs.
The first innovation is shoppable content: the idea that you should be able to buy the things you’re reading about right there in the browser window, rather than having to go to a separate site, provide account details and credit card numbers or create a new account. We’ve already seen some social media sites experimenting with this kind of technology, like Instagram. But it is hoped that with the help of AI, it will soon be possible to do the same on any site, no matter what they content, and check out there and then.
Tapping Into The Psyche
Finally, artificial intelligence is being used to assess customer’s emotions ahead of time, allowing companies to respond accordingly. Already, AI experts are predicting that by the year 2020, politicians will no longer be able to lie, since AI face-recognition software is getting so advanced that it’s able to predict deceptions with a high degree of accuracy. Businesses hope that they will be able to use similar technology to predict whether it’s worth trying to up-sell a customer or whether they should leave their advertisement until tomorrow when the client is in a better mood.