Do you remember Google Goggles and how they were going to change everything?
They were meant to be the perfect combination of artificial intelligence mixed with the potential of augmented reality: we could have infinite data right into our eyeballs, altering our perceptions of the world, right in front of us.
But, of course, Google Goggles never really became a thing.
I know. It’s heartbreaking. I really enjoyed all the nerds wearing their glasses.
There was a lot of potential there. Some good…and, admittedly, some terrifying.
But our version of reality is still changing—the way we interact with it, and the way we think about it.
And it’s absolutely something that should be taken into consideration when planning for 2019.
Authenticity and Realness
I’ve been thinking about technology a lot lately.
Beyond the day-to-day work and home stuff.
How it’s all changing not just our work, but our societies and our cultures.
In fact, Martin Waxman and I had a fascinating conversation about it the other day.
We talked about our “relationship” with artificial intelligence…and how far is too far.
Then, just yesterday, I saw an article about a man who married a hologram a couple of weeks ago.
So what exactly does it mean when computers can learn and programs can talk and we can automate so much of our interaction?
What’s still authentic and real?
We Will Always Be More Real
We still to talk to each other and create art and have massive conversations and discourse.
Our connections and relationships may be mediated by social media or Zoom video chats, but there is still a real human being on the other end of the line.
No matter what, I think there is something artificial intelligence will never be able to do effectively—and that’s creative.
Sure, there are bots out there that can compose music and recreate the Sistine Chapel and even “act” in movies.
But that mimics what humans have already created. It doesn’t create brand new.
We’ll always have a leg up when it comes to creativity.
As long as we can rely on strong creative talent and ingenuity, we’ll always have a place in this industry.
A lot of the best and most effective creative relies on storytelling, which relies on human imagination, critical-thinking skills, self-awareness, and empathy.
These are not within the skill set of artificial intelligence, no matter how sophisticated the neural network.
Our empathy and sympathy are things that are unique to every single one of us—our perspectives, histories, and experiences cannot be replicated in a neural networks.
The important thing to remember is that our ability to tell good stories lies in great part in our ability to connect with one another.
It lies in our ability to get real!
Lean Into Your Uniqueness
The easiest way to future-proof your job: lean into your perspective.
Lean into your own creativity.
Build your critical thinking skills.
Harness your self-awareness.
And don’t dismiss your empathy!
If there’s anywhere where the so-called “soft skills” have their place, it’s in communications.
This brings us back to the larger conversation about the role of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and communications.
There are some applications of AI in communications that can help us humans be more creative and effective at our jobs:
- Automation. Remember: AI always works better to take over heavy-duty, repetitive menial tasks. Automation can save you loads of time. Whether it’s the scheduling of tweets or the automatic sending of an email after a prospect drops their email into a landing page, relying on automated services can really help enhance a workflow to become more effective.
- Chatbots. Okay, well, chatbots are a pretty divisive subject in some circles. But here’s a great application of a chatbot to think about: SnapTravel uses a Facebook Messenger bot to help tourists find the best deals. By simply indicating the location and dates of their travel, they can easily book their stay via the Messenger app. When it’s consumer-facing and streamlined, chatbots can solve more problems than they create, while creating an easy interface that users are already familiar with. There are a lot of wins in this scenario to consider!
- Interpreting Data. Marketers and communicators love collecting data. Whether it’s consumer or client surveys or webpage analytics, we love our spreadsheets and graphs—and for good reason. But once the data reaches a certain size and scope, it can get harder and harder to interpret what you’re looking at, and that’s where AI comes in.
AI can select, organize, prioritize, and provide the right information or visualizations based on the context and requirements for the task.
The robots don’t the thinking for you, but they do help you process and demonstrate the data and its behavior.
It can help reveal unmet needs amongst your target audience.
And that can help when you’re thinking strategically, making predictions, or need to go back to the drawing board to outline your next creative push.
How We’re Using Artificial Intelligence
We’re using artificial intelligence in two cool ways on the Spin Sucks team.
The first is bringing all of the data we have from our communications software stack out of a spreadsheet and into Google Data Studio.
Now, social advertising, lead generation, prospect meetings, follow-ups, open leads, days to close, new leads, and sales are all dumped into Data Studio with AI and we don’t have to manually update our scorecard any longer.
All thanks to Christopher S. Penn and Katie Robbert at Trust Insights.
I couldn’t have done that on my own.
Next year is to continue working with that dynamic duo.
Our goal is to take all of the transcripts from our client meetings and dump them into Watson Personality Insights.
From there, we will craft 25 markers that allow artificial intelligence to help us build internal training for both new and current colleagues.
As we prepare for that, we are taking copious notes that we enter into our customer relationship management software so, when we are ready, the robots can help us build training videos that would otherwise take six to eight months to create.
So, see! You don’t have to be scared!
The robot overlords are here and we should all welcome them.
Until you have a romantic relationship with Alexa.
Then it’s time to worry.
P.S. If you’d like to check out the Spin Sucks podcast on this very same topic—and you don’t already subscribe (shame on you!)—I’ve made it incredibly easy for you below.
Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash