Building marketing AI software that replaces huge marketing teams with one really smart piece of software is the next frontier in digital marketing. We'll know it's happened when we can't tell the difference.
Currently, marketing AI mostly governs database automation and assists with communication tasks, disrupting the industry through digital transformation. However, when AI overcomes the uncanny valley (the gap between something that seems machine and something that seems human), these behavioral algorithms will become so effective that we won't be able to discern the difference between a digital or human presence.
Perhaps more important, many customers won't discriminate against creating some form of relationship with AI personas. Companies will automate the creation of genuine, emotional relationships by tapping into vast quantities of data, reflecting our needs and desires through digital mirrors created in our own image.
Digital Seeds Sown
Digital transformation is the defining trend for numerous industry disruptors this decade. Companies that have embraced this strategy streamline all processes through a centralized digital infrastructure, connecting previously separate systems into a cohesive whole. CRM and other types of marketing software automate management and analysis for this flood of data, creating insight for stakeholders. These tools represent forms of "weak" AI, utilizing big data and smart algorithms to simulate types of human thought.
Marketing processes benefit from this type of AI in numerous ways. One of the most common examples involves making initial contact with customers over the internet. E-commerce, search engines and online advertising utilize complex algorithms that consider dozens of data points before deciding when and how to reach out to customers. Purchasing recommendations and advertising displayed on popular sites like Amazon, Google and Facebook depend on automation to quickly display a message that reflects your interests.
The implementation of marketing AI for customer care and communication also hints at a future dominated by automated digital processes. The rise of chatbot usage for customer interaction has resulted in more than 11,000 of these AI constructs on Facebook, including bots that facilitate online purchases. Siri and Cortana already serve as advanced AI assistants for billions of users, with Jarvis set to add value for Facebook customers.
Modern marketing is steeped in AI, and humans interact comfortably with automated digital personas, showing that artificial intelligence has already been accepted in a tacit manner. This provides the psychological environment necessary to implement upcoming marketing innovations.
Traversing the Uncanny Valley
Connecting vast amounts of data into advanced software has created the current state of marketing AI, but people still turn to other humans when they require a genuine connection. In some cases, people need to build trust before buying, while others require communication with an authoritative figure to settle an issue. Chatbot escalation procedures exist to detect anger, referring customers to a human presence because AI isn't sophisticated enough to handle complex emotional situations.
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Machine learning through neural networks that simulate human cognitive functions represents the next step towards "stronger" AI. Strong AI behaves like a mind instead of a simulation of specific decision types, with the ability to learn and respond intelligently to complex situations. This type of AI would be able to build genuine trust and defuse emotionally explosive situations, providing marketing departments with the type of chatbot that would reduce, or eliminate, the need for human representatives.
Creating this genuine type of high-level interaction requires AI to overcome the uncanny valley, which refers to the sense of unease felt when we interact with something that's almost human. The dimensions of this valley are unknown to researchers, which means that AI that behaves like humans remains intangibly close to fruition.
Marketing Our Digital Reflection
Human behavior dictates data collection and the algorithms that create artificial intelligence. After conquering the uncanny valley, we'll witness a digital reflection of ourselves. Chatting with AI via instant messaging or over the phone will be the same as communicating with humans. CG effects will soon replicate the look of humans over video monitors, adding an all-important visual element that increases immersion.
Eventually, marketing departments will have access to automatons that appear, move and behave exactly like humans, without triggering a sense of apprehension. They may be programmed to quickly alter their appearance and approach, responding to in-depth customer databases that break down your preferences to a minute degree. This perfect, automated salesperson would be created in our own image, utilizing personalized information which reflect our own desires in the process of closing a deal.
Taken to a logical extreme, marketing systems would tap into the subconscious part of the human mind, reading dreams and aspects of our personality hidden to our own cognition. At this point, combined with all the other potential applications of AI in marketing, this type of technology might be considered too persuasive. The limits of AI in marketing appear to depend on the willingness of humans to accept digital constructs in their lives.
The Future Of Marketing AI Is Human
Marketing will always revolve around human activity, regardless of the technology involved. Preparing for a future that includes an explosion in AI ensures that you'll respond well to innovative advantages. As marketing tech progresses, the effectiveness of the digital reflections we create will always depend on a genuine understanding of human interaction.
Author Credit: This post was contributed by Scripted writer Kent Tukeli