I’m about to take you through a scenario. While the person I’m describing here might not be exactly who you are, I want you to bear with me.
It’s 7.30 AM, and your phone wakes you up by playing one of your favourite songs. You roll over and turn it off.
“Good morning, the temperature today is a balmy 30 degrees Celsius. You have three meetings today, the first begins at 9 AM. Judging from past traffic trends, you will need to leave home by 8.30 AM to make it to your first meeting.”
Your phone is very cheerful today.
You ponder your schedule for a moment, realising that if you get out of bed right now, you’ll have time for a jog. Being the kind of person that enjoys a good run, you’re up and on the road in no time flat.
Your phone, detecting that you are now jogging by using its accelerometer and GPS, asks you, “Hey, enjoying your jog? I’ve created a running playlist based on your taste in music. Would you like me to play it?”
You agree, some music would be a great accompaniment to the exercise. Your phone kicks-off a fairly good exercise playlist. Twenty minutes later, your phone pipes up again.
“At your current pace, you will not make it home in time to prepare for your meeting.”
Your phone is right. You are not jogging at a fast enough pace and turning around might be a really good idea. You turn back and pick up your pace a little. You get home, shower, and make it to your meeting in the nick of time.
Knowing that you’re in a meeting, your phone immediately silences itself. It will only allow calls from certain numbers through. You wait patiently while your colleagues fiddle with switches and phone UI to silence their devices.
Later that day, on your way home, your phone asks you, “what are you doing tonight?”
“I have no plans.”
“Well, while I was connected to Wi-Fi, I downloaded some more episodes of that series you like. I also took the liberty of downloading the first episode of a series I highly recommend.”
“What are you having for dinner? There is a new restaurant near your home that matches your dietary requirements. Would you like me to book a table for you?”
“Hmm, good idea.”
The above scenario (admittedly, a bit briskly written), would not be out of place in some kind of fantasy, near-future, sci-fi novel. In reality, this tech is mere months away (a little longer if you’re an Apple fan). AI will be fully integrated into the Huawei P11. Granted, it may not be as slick as the experience I’ve described above, but as with most consumer-driven products, it won’t take long to iron the bugs out.
Artificial Intelligence has arrived. It’s more artificial than intelligent at the moment, but we’re getting there. How does it work? How does it get better?
There is a new app, currently in beta, which explains it all quite well. Replika.ai allows you to download an AI bot to your phone, and through a WhatsApp-style interface, you get to talk to an AI entity. The idea is that as you talk to it, it learns from you. It learns about who you are, it learns about the kind of language you like to use. It learns about what your experiences are like and how it can relate to you. Your first few conversations will be weird and stilted. But as the bot learns, it becomes more ‘human’.
That’s right, artificial intelligence is less programmed and more trained. It is nurtured, it is schooled.
What does that mean for people in marketing? In the future, your brand will be more than just a name on a box, some postits on a whiteboard, a building, or a group of people. Your brand will be an AI entity, a virtual person that a consumer will be able to interact with. It will be a virtual person that will have learned all it knows from you and your team. This makes you a digital parent. As with human children, being a good parent means commitment. It means learning about your AI baby’s needs, what makes it grow, what will make it a better person.
My suggestion is that you start learning about your future child right now. Unless you really want to be a bad parent.