2018 is supposed to be a breakout year for AI and Machine Learning. Companies will finally gather their data, run it through several algorithms and scenario planning, and leverage the results to invest in a handful of ideas that will demonstrate the power and potential of AI.
Some of that is indeed happening, as forward-leaning companies continue to be drawn to creative and intuitive thinking that will make their programs, planning and go-to-market promotions smarter while delivering stronger ROI.
Still, I can’t help but think that the best year ever for AI was actually 2004. Now I know you’re thinking, ‘AI was really only a whisper of an idea 14 years ago. What could possibly have transpired to make 2004 a banner year for artificial intelligence?’
Two words: The Incredibles.
That’s right, The Pixar movie about a family of superheroes who battle an evil villain with money, new technology and a diabolical plan to overthrow order everywhere. Bored with his job as an everyday person, Mr. Incredible goes back into the Superhero business and discovers…
[You sly dogs, you got me Monologuing].
Back to our point. In order to save the city and the world, The Incredibles must battle the Omnidroid, a robot programmed with artificial intelligence that enables it to learn and solve problems while it fights opponents.
A machine that learns and solves problems in real time. Pixar and to an extent, Syndrome were way ahead of their time 14 years ago as they demonstrated what the future holds for all of us.
I’m not endorsing the idea that AI and machine learning will take over the world like some born-again Terminator plot. No, our AI and machine learning story, thankfully, is still in its infancy and is ours and ours alone to write.
And as we take those first few steps to embrace and explore the potential of AI, there are a few things we should keep in mind:
Know The Lingo
Aside from knowing the plot of a movie from over a decade ago, it’s time for all of us to get comfortable and understand the terminology for what’s possible. There are two types of machine learning algorithms commonly used today – supervised and unsupervised. In a supervised learning mode, what has been learned in the past is used to analyze new data, while unsupervised algorithms are capable of inferring from new datasets. In the case of our Omnidroid friend, he used supervised and unsupervised. (Again, ahead of his time!).
Know What Others Are Doing
While reality hasn’t quite caught up to the hype, there are still solid examples of companies leveraging AI today that you should be aware of. The traffic navigation app Waze makes all of us smarter on today’s highways. Financial institutions and banks let machines analyze data and your credit history in seconds to determine your eligibility for a loan.
And in the retail space, our team developed an interactive mirror to bridge the physical and digital store to provide a unique shopping experience. These interactive mirrors enable customers to fulfill transactions while also checking for new running routes, exercise classes, and other ways to engage socially that service an entire community.
Know Your Limitations
Don’t try and overthrow the world on your first try. We all want to do something, but we’re not sure exactly where to begin. Understand what is possible, get to know your data, and start small.
Rely on experts to hold your hand during this new and exciting journey, and invest in a project where you can demonstrate proof of concept and ROI. For example, a good place to start might be with customer email.
Today, AI allows marketers to create and send personalized follow-up content to subscribers based on the interactions and engagement they have with initial email campaigns or website content like blog posts. Easy to implement, and just as easy to measure.
Fourteen years ago many of us were introduced to the future. Well, the future is here, and to borrow a line from Elastigirl, “It’s Time to Engage.” The Incredibles showed us a glimpse of what we can expect, and I for one can’t wait till the sequel this Summer to perhaps get a preview of where the journey will take us next.