Artificial Intelligence Will See Brands Targeting Machines


“It’s 11:59pm on the eve of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution and one of the first industries to be impacted is marketing.” This was the opening statement at PHD UAE’s BrainScape, an annual thought-leadership conference which focussed on Artificial Intelligence.

Kevin Slavin, founder of Playful Systems Group and an assistant professor at MIT Media Lab, started by explaining how humans have always sought ways to learn what will happen to them before it does. “That has been the bulk of the movements in the 21st century, and as a result, we have developed advanced algorithms that no longer require human input in order to learn and grow further. We have collectively written something that we can no longer read. We are producing greater complexity in the systems that we use and a diminishing capability to understand what we’ve built.”

Haroon Syed, director of digital data solutions at Annalect MENA, discussed the implications of algorithms on marketing, emphasizing the rise of virtual personal assistants (VPAs). “Long gone are the days of broad messages on groups of people we think will buy something. VPAs will be the gateway between brands and consumers. We need to learn how to speak the language of VPAs and the focus for marketing will be to influence the algorithm and ensure VPAs surface your brand or product ahead of competitors. We may even see ads adopt a personality and talk directly to us.” He described how CRM and media will merge, with first party data driving all marketing activity to increase accuracy, and new creative routes will emerge along with business strategy.

The physical application of AI was further illustrated by Behshad Behzadi, a principal engineer at Google Zurich, through his live demonstration of the most recent developments in the company’s voice recognition, search and VPA capabilities.

“Our annual conference is designed to prepare marketers for what’s ahead of them. This is the best way to future-proof their strategies and ensure their continued success,” said Elda Choucair, Managing Director of PHD UAE.

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