Let Machines Do the Advertising Grunt Work

Artificial Intelligence Is a Tool, Not a Replacement for Marketers

In 1950, computing pioneer Alan Turing posed a heretical question: Can machines think?

Some 66 years later, the answer is clear. Evidence of machine learning is all around us. Execute a Google search and you’ll reap the benefits of machine learning. When Google presents results to a user, the user votes on those results via a click. The machine records that click, and then uses that data to inform future results.

Even though such technology is now commonplace, some fear machine learning. That’s because we have been inundated with science fiction stories and movies over the past few decades about machines taking over. Some in the advertising industry may also dread the idea of a machine taking over their jobs.

IBM Watson avatar

IBM Watson avatar Credit: IBM

Actually, tools likeIBM’s Watson that are capable of making decisions and “thinking” aren’t replacements for people. They’re tools that let marketers do their jobs better. They are well positioned to do the advertising grunt work.

Why marketers need AI

The advertising world got by for a century or so without artificial intelligence. Why does it need it now? The short answer is that the media environment has gotten far too complex. It is beyond human capability to reach an individual online via his or her various devices. To have a clear conversation with me — Bruce the consumer — you would have to process huge amounts of data. That’s not because I’m unusually complex, but rather because I switch between devices, like many consumers.

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