Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Intelligence Augmentation (IA)?

Sophy Part and I headed down to Google’s quarterly Firestarters event this week to hear how the roles and possibilities of AI, automation and robotics based technologies, both in our lives and our industry, have exploded. Here are our key take outs:

  • Tom Chatfield, author and commentator, raised the point that machines are not here to take over the world but rather it is up to us as humans to adapt to ever changing technologies. It’s how we use these changes to our benefit that matters. He felt that AIs should be on government boards. With so much data and information, AIs are best placed to make better decisions based on factual data rather than on human instincts and experience.
  • Paul Chong, Director of Watson Group, EMEA at IBM, explained how three factors will categorise the growth of robots: Data, Performance and Algorithms. IBM already has a robot called Watson – this technology platform uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. He believes “50% of jobs today will not exist in the future”.
  • Nicola Millard, who heads up Customer Insight & Futures in BT’s Global Services Innovation Team, shone a light on how BT have developed their very own AI to filter and solve questions that people post on social media. She feels there is an opportunity for us to be Super Agents, by working with and not against robots.
  • Rushi Bhavsar, Planner at Grey London, is on his first rotation with the WPP Fellowship program. Rather than focusing on the dangers, Rishi highlighted the opportunities and the avenues that we as humans can take by working with it. He highlighted that it isn’t about Team Human vs Team Computer – we’ve long become symbiotic with machines and are fundamentally augmented already.
  • To quote Ross Goodwin “When we teach computers to write, the computers don’t replace us any more than pianos replace pianists—in a certain way, they become our pens, and we become more than writers. We become writers of writers.”

We also heard from Stuart Turner, founder of Robots and Cake, who offered up his inspiring story about how AI and robots have helped him:

In 2004 Stuart was an AI undergraduate when he began to lose function in his arms and legs, due to cervical spina bifida with tethered spinal cord syndrome and chiari malfunction. He had to leave university as he lost the ability to type and use a mouse, with no realistic alternative available back then. He is now quadriplegic but over the past decade has worked to develop a voice operated system, enabling him to do things from coding to flying drones. He is currently building an accessible smart home joint funded by the NHS.

What impact does AI have on advertising?

Companies such as Unruly have already developed AI to determine the virality of video ads created by advertisers. Paul Chong spoke about the possibility of AI predicting Cannes winners before they are even announced.

No one can predict the future, but what we do know is that AI already is and will have a massive impact on our lives.


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