When I think of the future, with artificial intelligence in mind, I always prefer to think the situation will be closer to that of Futurama, where the robot ‘Bender’ spends his time smoking fat cigars, swigging booze and gambling away his (stolen) cash. You know AI has made it when robots take up such habits.
Alas, 2017’s version of AI will firmly be in the chatbots camp. With Microsoft, Facebook and Google, among others, all working on artificially intelligent chat software. Think Siri on steroids; self-learning, self-aware (to a point) and able to evolve over time.
For marketers, this presents a huge opportunity. Google’s AI, Google Assistant, will not use a script, a la Siri, but will be a complex series of algorithms, choosing answers in a similar manner to how Google finds the best search results relevant to you. Search engine marketing will enter the realm of virtual assistants, with web pages optimised to ensure results through chatbots.
Facebook’s AI goes a step further. They have opened up chatbots in Messenger, allowing brands to have a computer take care of customer enquiries, connected to CRMs and other databases to ensure answers are as correct as if a human were at the other end. This will make social media customer service the fastest way to deal with customers.
The problem, of course, is these technologies are new. Not only do they need time to develop; we marketers need time to understand them. But, the best way is to dive right in, be the innovator and make use of them now – be ahead of the curve.
To get started, why not read our chapter ‘Interview with an Android’ in the B2B Marketing Challenges Report 2017.