The story of robots taking jobs — or worse, turning against us — was a common leitmotif of the late twentieth century. But, as the twenty-first century progresses, it’s becoming increasingly clear that artificial intelligence (or AI) will be much more likely to enhance our jobs than replace them.
Guest Post by Aaron Beach, Data Scientist at SendGrid.
According to new research from Accenture, AI is predicted to boost productivity by as much as 40 percent by the year 2035 and double annual economic growth. Among those particularly well-positioned to benefit from this shift appear to be marketers, many of whom are already reaping the benefits of AI, especially when it comes to their ecommerce efforts.
AI is Just a Tool
It’s the way we are able to develop and learn new things that distinguishes human intelligence from artificial intelligence. Horror stories about robots eating jobs aside, when we talk about AI for marketers, we’re usually talking about machine learning models that help people make decisions around targeting or algorithms that serve up content based on a user’s browsing history.
In other words, AI is just a new tool or a new way of doing something, not a replacement for human intelligence. Pure AI would be a computer that writes all the content and then serves it up to customers without any human input, something that’s highly unlikely to happen.
AI in Action
In my job as a data scientist, I work with brands to help them make better use of email data, and I’ve seen the ways AI is reshaping the marketing landscape firsthand.
Marketers now have access to machine learning tools that can predict how likely someone is to click on an email, which helps businesses decide who the best prospects are on their email lists. There are models that help marketers segment their recipient lists and keep deliverability rates up. Machine learning helps them optimize who to send to and helps them increase sales.
New Opportunities for Marketers
One way AI will likely benefit marketers is by allowing for the marketing of more niche products.
Developing separate email or marketing campaigns for every product a company offers can be very time-consuming (and oftentimes unprofitable). But, when content for campaigns can be automatically selected in real-time to target individuals or segments, companies have the opportunity to broaden their product offering and reach a more diverse customer base.
AI thus makes it easier for companies to bring more products to market while also bringing down marketing costs for manufacturers of small, niche products. Put another way, AI will enable larger companies to support a wider, more diverse, array of products while enabling smaller companies to quickly innovate with new and disruptive products.
A Brighter Future?
Like an invisible version of the Jetson’s robotic maid, artificial intelligence is already busily serving marketers’ interests by helping them automate targeting and data analysis — activities that used to take an exorbitant amount of time.
As this trend continues, rather than turning the office into a galactic dystopia devoid of human creativity, AI appears more likely to free up human time to focus on creating new products and generating new ideas.
Aaron Beach is a data scientist at SendGrid, a delivery platform for customer communication. Aaron has experience in email services, energy systems, privacy, social networks, mobile apps, natural language processing, recommendation systems, and Big Data. He has a PhD in Computer Science and has published over 25 research papers.