I’ve recently spent a lot of time reading about the future of technology and marketing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one theme that just keeps coming up. It’s become so pervasive in our lives, embedded in our cars, televisions, phones, appliances, the electric grid, and much more. Thanks to the progression of AI to this point, the number of use cases that already exist—including some great potential opportunities for marketing—may surprise you. Here are a few of my latest observations.
Like many of you, I receive a lot of emails every single day. While some are directly meant for me with a clear call to action, many are sent only for informational purposes. How do I cope with hundreds of messages per day? Especially lengthy ones full of sub-threads without any helpful context?
I do my best to scan them quickly—think less than ten seconds—and glean any important information. My eyes and brain scan for keywords and build context maps, helping me decide if I need to reply or do anything else. If only I had a built-in application that could summarize those emails in three sentences. Luckily, there are now tools that do just that!
And they’re not limited to emails alone. I recently took an article from the Wall Street Journal I had been very interested in reading but sadly deemed TL;DR and used one of these tools to summarize it. Within seconds, I received an overview of its main ideas in an easy-to-digest list. Such algorithms can also save you time with scientific papers. Is a paper worth reading? What are the best ones to read for a particular subject? AI has become a great tool for research.
Take a look at the images above. Which ones are real? The answer probably won’t surprise you. None of them. They’re all computer-generated.
Yes, there are algorithms that can do that on the fly. Much work is being done on GANs or Generative Adversarial Networks. The name comes from the use of two different neural networks, a Generator and a Discriminator, which are fiercely competing with one another to create the desired result. The Generator’s job is to create realistic-looking fake images like the ones above, while the Discriminator is meant to distinguish between the real and the fake.
Such computer-generated images can prove very useful for marketers. For starters, no royalties apply. Even better, you now have an unlimited supply of images to use for hyper-personalization.
As with much technological innovation, there are downsides. Deepfake videos, images, and sound clips can be used for all kinds of nefarious purposes—all of which are very disturbing indeed. However, for “clean” marketing purposes, I do believe that AI will give marketers great power in sharing the right content at the right time to the right person better than ever before, vastly improving marketing efficacy. And it isn’t a matter of if this technology becomes a mainstream marketing tool, but when.
Can you imagine a tool writing an email on your behalf with only minimal effort? With the power of today’s AI, I can give an algorithm the following three inputs:
And after some learning based on my typical email practices, that algorithm would very likely come up with something like this:
Subject: Meeting to discuss requirements for survey platform
I’m a little concerned about the progress we’re making with regards to survey platform. Looking at past emails, three weeks have gone by and I’ve yet to receive full requirements. I am free after lunch this Thursday and suggest that we set up a meeting to discuss these requirements. As usual, Emillie will help with scheduling.
Algorithms already generate these kinds of emails, blog posts, scholarly articles, poems, and much more. And with deep learning, they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated and easier to use.
For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can take a large data set and use words and sentence structures favored by the author, website, blog, newspaper, etc. to write articles very similar in style. They can be quite difficult to identify as being written by an algorithm. While the technology is far from perfect at this stage, it has remarkable potential.
These are just a few examples of the bold leaps the science of AI has taken. We’re already seeing its practical applications in many industries, including healthcare, finance, safety and security, high-tech, and, of course, marketing.
Oracle’s investment in AI will certainly continue. We’re excited by the value we’ve been able to provide to our customers with the Advanced Intelligence packages available through our marketing automation and campaign management tools, as well as other solutions across the organization. We continue to value the work of our dedicated Data Science team and can’t wait to share more AI-supported innovations in the future. AI is definitely reshaping the way we deliver and interact with solutions that before we never dreamed possible.
To keep up with all the latest innovations in Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience, be sure to join us for our quarterly updates. You can find more information and watch the replays of our recent updates at oracle.com/cx/innovations.
Shashi Seth is the the Senior Vice President of Oracle CX Marketing. Shashi brings over 20 years of industry experience in the internet industry, working at iconic brands like eBay, Google, YouTube, and Yahoo, along with many startups along the way. He has been involved in Big Data, Machine Learning, Cloud, Algorithms, etc. since 2005, when he was the Product Lead for Google Search, and has lead teams that have solved a range of problems from personalization, whole page optimization, ranking, content recommendations, location targeting, and much more. Using this wealth of accumulated experiences, Shashi is chartered with transforming the Marketing Cloud Industry at Oracle. He holds over 25 technology patents.