Advertising Week

AWNewYork_OfficialGuide-2017

Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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266 TRENDING THE GOOD NEWS: THE ROBOT APOCALYPSE REMAINS UNLIKELY The more interesting news: Cognitive machine learning has become a powerful disruptive force for businesses and governments. Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa use variants of cognitive machine learning. So do self-driving cars, airport security scanners, Amazon's and Netfl ix's recommendation engines, and Facebook's facial recognition software. Perhaps, though, no application of cognitive machine learning has gained so much notoriety in so many ways as Watson, IBM's famous Jeopardy- winning, fashion-designing, disease-diagnosing, sports-prognosticating, cognitive-machine-learning- based neural network. "Cognitive computing isn't part of marketing's future, but its present. It's a tool that really solves problems for businesses and consumers," says Babs Rangaiah, Global Marketing Partner at IBM iX. Companies come to IBM iX for help developing multichannel business strategies and marketing plans. Rangaiah says cognitive machine learning has become crucial for brands trying to thrive in a frag- mented, ever-changing commercial environment. North Face uses cognitive computing to help web customers find their ideal outdoor gear. At 1-800-Flowers, a version of Watson helps people choose the perfect Mother's Day arrangement. "Cognitive is affecting the ways brands are developed, how you achieve market penetration, and ultimately how you drive sales and other business metrics," Rangaiah says. Artifi cial intelligence can help in places where data is too complex for human marketers to make completely evidence-based decisions. Dynamic price optimization, for instance, requires real-time analysis of markets, individual customers' buying history, and a wide range of other factors. Intelligent machines can bring retailers, hoteliers, airlines, and others closer to setting the exact optimal price for a given market, or even for a given individual. The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) uses an artifi - cial intelligence system developed at Intel to better predict when their members might get in touch, and for what reasons. As these AI systems have "gotten to know" customers and clients, and as they have gotten better at under- standing the world, it was inevitable that that intelligence could be channeled into something more creative. When Watson turned its attention to the world of clothing, it did more than predict fashion trends—it helped set them. At the 2016 Met Gala, model Karolina Kurkova wore a dress that Watson code- signed (in collaboration with human designers from fashion label Marchesa). The dress featured fabric fl owers threaded with multihue LEDs. Watson monitored Kurkova's social media feed during the event, changing the glowing colors in the dress to match the mood of the model's followers. Artifi cial intelligence is very good at predicting future decisions from past behavior. That means that if you're looking to get out in front of your customers' needs, AI might be useful to you. AI also can identify patterns and variations. That's why it's great for customized, bespoke experiences, which can mean anything from targeting your cus- tomers with the most effective advertising to picking the perfect moment to ask them to buy content behind a paywall. AI can handle more data than a human being, and provide you with insights about your target markets that might be invisible or counterintuitive. If you are drowning in information, an artifi cial intelligence system can help you turn big data into smart data. As machines keep getting more intelligent, a robot uprising does start to seem a little more possible. But Rangaiah takes a more optimistic view. "Creativity and intelligence still rely on the background and data in your own head," he says. He points out that everything Watson does still relies on collaboration with actual humans. Jobs may change, he says, but people will always remain vital to the work of market- ing. "Cognitive just lets you move on a faster, greater scale. What it's really doing is enhancing the intelligence and creativity of human beings." • FOR MARKETERS STILL MULLING IF AND HOW TO DEPLOY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR WORK, HERE ARE SOME FAST TIPS:

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