While the applications of machine learning stretch far beyond the world of marketing, a swift glance at some of the companies heavily invested in the development of AI suggest that advancements in the world of advertising will be high on the list of priorities when key players sit round the table. Automation already has a huge part to play in media agencies, but it would be a game-changer should a truly intuitive, constantly improving algorithm be able to deliver weeks of planning work in a matter of seconds - and most critically, without any human interaction to 'read' the results.
The counter-argument to such a cybernetic utopia (or dystopia, depending on your point of view) is that AI would lack the creativity, innovation and risk-taking of a human being - so it's possible to imagine a 2 tier agency of the future where the true content-creators and taste-makers work in tandem with artificial intelligence and the engineers that keep AI on track to deliver a great strategy. Thinking about how that would affect job descriptions in the media agency world, we can see this as the natural completion of a trend that's already begun, namely the movement of individual roles to poles of technical or strategic excellence.
The world's biggest technology companies are joining forces to consider the future of artificial intelligence. Amazon, Google's DeepMind, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft will work together on issues such as privacy, safety and the collaboration between people and AI. Dubbed the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, it will include external experts. One said he hoped the group would address "legitimate concerns". "We've seen a very fast development in AI over a very short period of time," said Prof Yoshua Bengio, from the University of Montreal. "The field brings exciting opportunities for companies and public organisations. And yet, it raises legitimate questions about the way these developments will be conducted." Bringing the key players together would be the "best way to ensure we all share the same values and overall objectives to serve the common good", he added.