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Nov 7, 2018    Industry Intrigue

Machine Learning – The Kiss of Death

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Do you remember your first kiss?

Unless it was an embarrassing circumstance rooted in the awkward stage of our lives that we have since escaped, most of us probably do. But what makes your first kiss so unique? Why is it that our first kiss is such a milestone in our lives that we never forget?

Because, most of the time, it tends to be one of the first significant human interactions with someone outside of our family. It’s a moment shared between two human beings that generates chemicals in our head that makes us feel all warm and cozy. It’s a feeling we never forget and strive to attain in our everyday lives.

So why is it that marketers and advertisers are beginning to turn towards programmatic techniques and AI capabilities to create content that is meant to stimulate people on an extremely personal level? Why are they using, for a lack of a better term, ‘machines’, to communicate to living breathing human beings?

People Are Submissive to Intelligence
Developments and innovations in AI over the past couple of years have given way to several new opportunities for businesses to turn data and consumer trends into advertising content. For example, tech company Automated Intelligence created a program called Wordsmith which offers users a template to plug in “conditional logic that controls entire paragraphs, sentences, parts of sentences, and individual words”.

The program was so successful that companies began replacing content writing positions once held by real people with it (where’s Sarah Connor when you need her?) Even professional basketball team Orlando Magic replaced their human outreach efforts with Wordsmith to generate personal emails meant to spur fan engagement, negating a duty once held by their marketing agency.

It’s no doubt that technology like this is extremely intelligent, and benefits such as the ones mentioned can be highly profitable for businesses and internet marketing agencies alike. But, when do things start to go wrong and what could the potential implications be?

The Evil of AI
Everyone remembers Tay, the AI chatbot developed by Microsoft that went from friendly conversationalist to a ranting racist, spewing hateful speech all over Twitter. Even though many of the tweets were due to the “repeat after me” feature which enabled users to relay messages through it, there were clearly some kinks that had not yet been worked out.

Anti-semitic AI aside, there’s no doubt that people have found success in programmatic technology for content writing and other marketing efforts. The developers behind this technology are extremely intelligent, and know that society is yearning for the next big idea to implicate in their everyday lives. We as humans trust this technology as a high intelligence form, even if we don’t like to admit it. And as we grow more submissive of AI and programmatic intelligence, their grip on our lives will continue to tighten.

But in regards to our current conversation regarding the role of AI and programmatic learning replacing humans in content writing, all the blame can’t be placed on the developers.

The Depletion of Human Connections
As mentioned before, we are becoming more and more ingrained within the high-tech world that we live, and are constantly losing touch with things that make us human. We are desensitizing ourselves from human interactions that help us come up with personable content. And the consumers are too.

The most obvious example of this is our smartphones and use of social networks. Even though marketers operate on these types of platforms, a majority of them are unwilling to seek out real-life scenarios that shape how we perceive other human beings (our marketing agency takes regular trips to speed-dating sessions).

If this trend continues, we will eventually be communicating to audiences based on how they are perceived online, rather than in real life. At that moment, we as marketers make ourselves more susceptible to being replaced by AI and machine learning as they will have the same access to what exactly we are targeting. Not only that, these programs will be able to make more meaning out of these online personas than we are capable of.

So what does this mean for the next generation of copywriters?
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. Just kidding, you can stop pretending like you actually wanted to learn code.

While budding copywriters should definitely stay wary of the content writing capabilities of AI, we as an internet marketing and advertising agency believe that people will always strive for that unique human interaction that machines will never be capable of.

Sure, there might be programs that can gather the hottest keywords and convert them to website copy, but there will never be a time where a computer can generate a landing page that radiates the pizazz of our Austin ad agency.

Consumers are always looking for something new, not just what resonates with them. They want content writing that scares them, or goes off the beaten path. At times, they might be struck the strongest by copy that is completely random, or totally irrelevant to their product. Take Geico’s long-running advertising campaigns. They use totally random references, like the one talking about how everything sticks to Stefon Diggs hands. You think there’s an algorithm that can be programmed into a bot to make it find the humor in things like that? Maybe, maybe not.

But until that time comes, our Austin advertising agency will continue to strive for the most personal of connections, and the most baffling of expressions. We don’t plan on forgetting about our first kiss anytime soon, our bodies won’t let us.

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