In today’s day and age, we are all but too aware of the digital footprint that we leave behind as we surf the internet. We are reminded of our past search histories through re-targeted ads, pop-ups, and other unexpected items that capture our online attention as we browse. While at times, it may seem a bit invasive, the goal of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to learn how to better serve us. And as modern-day marketers, it’s important to ask ourselves: How can we benefit from AI?

AI efforts often time go undetected by consumers because they are wired to be somewhat incognito. Many of us have most likely experienced the phenomenon of online shopping for something and then days later, seeing an ad for exactly what we were searching for popping up everywhere. Or I’m sure we’ve all been browsing a website’s products before when we came across a separate that says, “Customers who liked this also viewed…”. This is a direct result of AI and its ability to predict human behavior, our interests, and our needs based on how we engage with content.

Can AI Carry a Conversation?

Do you own an Amazon Alexa? How about a Google Assistant? Or Siri on your iPhone? Most of us use these little helpers to find answers to many of our questions. If you use one or more of these services, then you are experiencing a form of Conversational AI. The goal of the computer scientists who made these services possible was natural language processing, natural language understanding, and natural language generation which allow the AI to collect data, process it, and create a natural language response that sounds as if a human were speaking back to you face-to-face.

So how do you train and teach these machines to do this? There is a concept called Machine Learning. This is where the AI is given access to data and can learn from it; for example, every time your Alexa, Siri, or Assistant makes a mistake when responding to your request, it uses the response it receives to improve for next time. This is why your AI assistant will ask you follow-up questions if they are uncertain about how to respond to your query appropriately. According to a recent statistic from Amazon, their Alexa currently boasts the ability to process and respond to over 70,000 requests for information and commands. To sum it all up, data and machine learning are responsible for the explosive AI growth of the devices that we use every day.

Modern-Day Companies and AI

Over the past ten years, Google, Amazon, Apple, and many others have all added AI-focused teams and expanded their technology budgets to continue developing and exploring this field. Google itself has invested billions of dollars over the past couple of years to broaden their AI capabilities. An article published in Forbes by Bernard Marr discussing Artificial Intelligence predictions for 2021 states that we have a critical need for quick analysis and interpretation of large amounts of data. Just recently, AI was also monumental in the fight against Covid-19. On top of helping track the data associated with the virus, targeted hospitals, and medical centers, patient records, etc., AI was also used to improve patient care. These technological initiatives allow for faster and more accurate data processing so doctors have more time to focus on patient care.

AI and Unique Solutions

Many companies have already used AI to produce solutions regarding accessibility for disabled and elderly individuals. Microsoft recently announced an AI for an accessibility program aimed at helping those with disabilities. With over 1 billion people living with disabilities, this technology has the power to positively affect and change people’s lives. An article by PBS tells the story of how Kaden Bowen, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy communicates with his family using AI-powered voice control to make requests and speak with relatives without having to use his current voice device.

So, while some of the technological advancements being made using AI seem daunting, there are now many more revolutionary possibilities because of it. From helping us solve everyday challenges to assisting in the prevention of future pandemics, our computer counterparts are just beginning to scratch the surface of the good they can do for all of humanity, inside and outside the marketing realm.