AI: a game-changer for communications?

Chances are you use AI every day without realising. Liza Saha from Text100 New Delhi explains what this means for the future of the communications industry

Chances are you use AI every day without realising. Liza Saha from Text100 New Delhi explains what this means for the future of the communications industry

AI AI Captain!

While most of us are still struggling with managing, mapping, and harnessing human intelligence (or the lack of it), the world has moved on, diving into the seemingly-magical realm of AI (Artificial Intelligence). The words ‘AI’, ‘cognitive computing’, ‘machine learning’, and ‘deep data’ have not only crept into news headlines, but also into our daily lives.

If you think this is science fiction and will take ages to see mass adoption, you might not realise we’re all already interacting with Artificial Intelligence in our daily lives. Using Google Maps to check real-time traffic updates, Uber-ing it to work, using spam filters in Gmail, tagging people using Facebook’s face recognition feature, checking Snapchat stories, shopping on Amazon – you are already an AI user.

Welcome to the future

2017 is touted to be the year of AI with global brands such as IBM, Google, Amazon, and Facebook all betting big on AI and machine learning. As this new technology disrupts sectors and functions, it’s time for the us to embrace it. As we saw with the advent of the digital age, those who fail to move with the times risk getting left behind. We need to embrace, adopt and conquer!

AI, automation, or any slightly complicated tech jargon, can be met with unease or distrust by society in general. As such, there may be an opportunity for a concerted PR effort to show the helpful side of the technology. The main problem is the public equating AI to job losses, followed by other concerns, including privacy issues. If we see AI as Augmenting (human) Intelligence rather than Artificial Intelligence, we might be able to move past these obstacles.

Transforming communications

AI and machine learning have the power to transform the communications sector by making human interaction more effective and real-time. Apart from automating mundane and time-consuming tasks, it can help identify new trends and patterns with data-driven research. This will in turn lead to more personalised content and experiences for the intended target audience.

Brands are already starting to use Chatbots for community management and real-time customer response. For example, Adidas has been using a chatbot to create an interactive booking process for its recently launched female-focused community space, Studio LDN. The studio, which opened earlier this year, offers a series of weekly fitness sessions for women, with the ultimate goal of boosting brand engagement. The Facebook Messenger chatbot is the only way to find out about sessions and register, so it has been integral to the success of the initiative.

AI can also analyse campaigns in real-time, compare with past results and help improvise tactics for better results.

The communications sector needs to move fast

To make the most of this incoming trend, we need to

  • Hire new kinds of talent such as data scientists, coders, software engineers
  • Start interacting with the technology decision makers such as CMTO, CTO, CDO
  • Partner with technology providers or new-age start-ups

In short, we need to be bold and take a leap of faith.

Personally, I’m waiting for a bot that can check my email and prioritize my day before I arrive at work; or maybe help my team automate the numerous reports with super-urgent deadlines; or help me with secondary research on a topic or theme; or help identify the difference between fake news, plagiarised and inspired content.

Maybe that day is not far away. Maybe I’ll soon build a chatbot for my Facebook page. Watch this space for more.

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