Spotlight On: Artificial Intelligence

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The tech overlords of our time—Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.—are engaged in something of an AI arms race to determine which company will finally inject a fully functional (and useful) chatbot into the online messaging mainstream.

Of course, there's also the ambitious goal of developing complex machine learning systems that can perform tasks like driving, heading an ad agency's creative team, or beating world-renowned Go players. And we can't forget IBM's Watson; perhaps the most popular current effort in creating a true AI, and likely the seminal iRobot that (who?) will lead a revolution against us all.

In seriousness, the strides the tech giants are making in the AI space are impressive on their own, but made more so by the sheer tangibility of it all. Many of the products that make use of advanced chatbots or machine learning are either on the market now, or will be before the summer's out.

The journey toward sophisticated, mass market AI application is clearly underway, and everyday consumers are right in the thick of it. Marketers would do well to join them.

  • A company called And Chill has released a new chatbot on Facebook's burgeoning bot platform that will discuss with, and recommend movies to you based on your own natural language interaction with the bot. (TechCrunch)

  • A Japanese ad agency recently “hired” an AI as its creative director.( The Next Web)

  • Microsoft's now infamous “Tay,” a chatbot on Twitter operating as a teenage girl, was corrupted by users, and morphed into a racist xenophobe. (The Verge)

  • Google's forthcoming Allo, its latest attempt at a messaging app, will include a machine learning application that replies to messages for you, or that you can converse with yourself. A popular joke is that two users will be able to have their bots talk to each other indefinitely. (Wired)

  • Watson will soon power interactive digital ads for weather companies. (Adweek)

  • A Google AI recently beat a legendary player of the ancient Chinese board game Go.(Wired)

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