Why Artificial Intelligence Is No Substitute For Common Sense

Why Artificial Intelligence Is No Substitute For Common Sense
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, regular B&T contributor and industry veteran Robert Strohfeldt harks back to the good old days of marketing and tells us why artificial intelligence will never replace real-life creative intelligence.

After seeing a recent report that free-to-airs are planning to use Artificial Intelligence for ratings, I tried to think back to when this “digital” madness stated. Only an idiot would deny that technology has added both quality and quantity to our lives.

To those who hanker for the “good old days”, I will give you one word to make you realise how much better things are in 2016 compared to 1916 – Dentist.

But is technology now increasing at a rate which can be overwhelming? The rate of change in advertising appears to have over taken our ability to understand all its implications and nuances. It reminds me, in some ways, of the activity and attitudes prior to the dot com crash of the late 90s.

It would be six, possibly seven, years ago that I was sent a short video on Social Media. All hype and excitement. This was where “advertising” was heading. Advertisements were reaching their use by date.

Consumers didn’t want to see, hear or read ads. They wanted relationships with brands. Brands were not products people bought (how crass), they were now personalities who became part of their everyday life. We were entering a totally new era and companies who did not have a significant social media presence within five years, would be out of business, extinct. Gone the way of the Dodo.

People would only purchase products and services from brands they had developed a relationship with. People would select their friends and brands, using the same criteria.

If you didn’t want a relationship, just a one night stand, well, there were cheap and nasty brands out there who would accommodate your devious desires, but no self- respecting brand would jump into the sack on the first date.

And to keep pace with the rapidly changing consumer, the terms in-bound and out-bound marketing were coined.

The “in-bound” marketers were aloof from the “out-bound” schmucks. The latter were stuck in last century, sending out messages – interruptive advertising such as TV, radio and print. The former didn’t interrupt anyone. Consumers came to the party; it was all one big love-in.

And to be fair to the video I saw, social media has taken the world by storm – literally billions of users. But they equated numbers of people using social media directly to its effectiveness as an advertising medium.

So, when media agencies were wooed by the Google/Facebook duopoly, they believed the bullshit peddled to them. No one questioned the methodologies used to calculate audiences, or more importantly, how these audiences used social media.

Disruption and innovation were inexorably linked to digital – rather than view the advertising ecosystem as a range of media options which included FTA TV, press, radio and print, somehow it was broken in two – digital versus traditional. (One of which had big fat commissions, but we are not like the US and UK. No one here would put their own financial interest ahead of their clients, would they?)

Fashion overtook function. Young marketing managers didn’t want to be associated with last century’s media, they had to be part of the brave new world. Rather than look at each media option with the aim of building an optimum integrated schedule, it was digital first, second and third.

For nearly four years now I have been banging on about:

  • The inaccuracies of the audience measurement techniques used by Google and Facebook. (And inability to differentiate between bots and people)
  • The way social media is “consumed” and how it greatly reduces its effectiveness as an advertising medium compared to traditional media.
  • People don’t want relationships with brands. They want brands they can trust.

But no matter how many flaws were identified, the industry was still gung-ho about digital. Even the bloody word is opaque in its meaning. Advertising and marketing people use it with the same frequency as a teenager uses “like” – “Yes, we were, like, sitting around discussing, like, how brands can establish closer relationships with people. Blah, like, blah, like and um, like, on it goes.”

Just as in 2008 when some idiot asked “but how much are these packaged sub-prime loan investment products really worth?” and started the GFC, a few people asked “but what is a view?” and “what is the real audience figure for social media advertising?” It is true that ignorance can be bliss and why the truth is sometime referred to as “inconvenient”.

Maybe it is just me, but if traditional media is rapidly fading away, why is there is legislation in place to stop one (traditional) media proprietor reaching more than 70 per cent of the population, at any one time?

Facebook and Google are fantastic advertising platforms – just ask them. And the industry did – and believed them. Common sense should tell you that when billions of dollars are up for grabs, then the measure of performance should be carried out by an independent third party.

The AANA is now calling for some sort of professional body to develop and police standards to restore confidence “in a liquid market where millions of dollars are transacted daily in a $14 billion sector.”

In a period of 12 months we have gone from both agencies and clients swooning over social media and “digital” to a huge scandal in which the whole industry has copped a black eye for endorsing and actively peddling false information.

But this scandal has not dented the industry’s voracious appetite for all things new and shiny, Artificial Intelligence has become the latest “must have”. TV has decided that to do away with human error and bias, AI is required to measure “true and fair” ratings.

And what is AI? Or more specifically, what is the AI being used for ratings? Machine learning, where a machine, euphemistically, teaches itself based on past data/experience is referred to as AI. As is Fuzzy Logic. But why is this approach any more accurate, or less prone to outside influences than a truly random sample, analysed by powerful software? Or are they one and the same?

Ask the aviation industry what happens when computers take over nearly all “thinking” and subsequent actions that were once the tasks of pilots. In 2013 an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 was coming in to land at San Francisco. It was a beautiful sunny morning, perfect flying weather. A slight problem arose. The ILS (Instrument Landing System), which the auto pilot locks onto to land the plane was out of order. So, two pilots, who had over 20,000 flying hours between them had to hand fly and land the plane.

“WTF is hand flying?”, I wondered. Well that is when the pilot flies the plane, not the computer. Yes, I know, I used to think a pilot’s job was to fly the plane. How 20th century. They operate the computers, who fly the plane.

Anyway, neither of these two gentlemen knew how to land a Boeing 777. They couldn’t hand fly a landing. So, it crashed killing three and seriously injuring 49. Equally concerning was the NTSB investigation and recommendations. The younger members blamed the fault on the auto-pilot that was not set up for such a contingency.

When one of the older members of the investigation panel suggested it was a pilot’s job to land a plane, the younger members of the team stared at him in disbelief. You could see in the their looks the common thought “what idiot thinks a pilot should know how to land a plane?”

Are we headed in the same direction? Will we end up with the computers doing the “thinking”, with the human input being reduced to “Computer says no.”?

Good old common sense, so the saying goes, is not so common. But with more and more reliance on machines to do the thinking on our behalf, it may become extinct.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Why High-Quality Video Doesn’t Have To Mean High Production Costs
  • Media
  • Opinion

Why High-Quality Video Doesn’t Have To Mean High Production Costs

Here, Brightcove channel manager, Maddy Drachler (pictured below), says brands thinking of dipping a toe into video content need no longer fear a monster production bill and a bad dose of the sweats… Brands today know video is an important part of the digital marketing mix. But prevailing attitudes mean it’s often seen as expensive and time intensive. And if […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Michael Ebeid - SBS Managing Director
  • Media

SBS Supremo Michael Ebeid Announces Resignation After 7.5 Years

Michael Ebeid will step down as SBS chief executive officer and managing director after seven-and-a-half years at the broadcaster. Ebeid will depart SBS on 1st October 2018 and will make an announcement in coming weeks about his next role. The SBS board of directors will immediately begin a recruitment process to recruit a new SBS managing director. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Publicis Media To Handle Lenovo’s Global Media Account Via Bespoke Unit
  • Advertising
  • Media

Publicis Media To Handle Lenovo’s Global Media Account Via Bespoke Unit

Computer hardware and electronics company Lenovo has selected Publicis Media to handle its global media strategy, planning and buying through a bespoke client unit. Lenovo One Media will be housed within and managed by Performics and Spark Foundry. It will be responsible for media strategy, planning and execution, and includes all forms of traditional and […]

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team
  • Media

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team

Independent media company Grant Broadcasters has announced a number of changes to its executive ranks. Grant Cameron will move up to become non-executive chairman for the company, and Alison Cameron (pictured above) – currently the chief operating officer – will assume the CEO role. Dugald Cameron remains responsible for the family’s investment portfolio and is […]

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities
  • Advertising
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities

Australian retail out-of-home (OOH) business Shopper Media Group (SMG) has announced a partnership with AI-powered wireless networks provider Mist. The partnership will see SMG offer new WiFi, analytics and location-based services across the company’s portfolio of Australian shopping centres. Mist currently provides WiFi and location services using virtual Bluetooth LE technology to businesses across all […]

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account
  • Advertising
  • Media

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account

Travel organisation Cruiseco has announced the appointment of Sydney independent agency This is Flow (TIF) to handle its $5 million media account. This is the first time Cruiseco has appointed an agency, having managed its communications internally. Cruiseco is the largest and broadest distributor of cruise products in the Southern Hemisphere. With a membership base […]

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd

Need a Monday morning pick-me-up? You could stand naked next to the office fridge or read these inspiring words.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract
  • Advertising
  • Media

APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract

Out-of-home media business APN Outdoor has won the tender for New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport. As part of the new agreement, APN Outdoor has flagged extensive development plans for Queenstown Airport’s advertising assets. The new contract adds Queenstown Airport to APN Outdoor’s existing portfolio of Auckland and Christchurch Airports. The media company will hire a South […]

Havas Secures Exclusive ‘Fight Of Champions’ Broadcast Rights With Foxtel For Australia & NZ
  • Media

Havas Secures Exclusive ‘Fight Of Champions’ Broadcast Rights With Foxtel For Australia & NZ

Havas Sports & Entertainment ANZ, a division of the broader global full-service agency Havas, has confirmed an exclusive deal with Foxtel to showcase the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight Championship across the trans-Tasman. Billed as the ‘Fight of Champions’, Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse will square off for the WBA Welterweight belt this Sunday. Havas […]

The Question On Everybody’s Lips At Cannes: How Did Tesco Win The Grand Prix Media Lion?
  • Media
  • Opinion

The Question On Everybody’s Lips At Cannes: How Did Tesco Win The Grand Prix Media Lion?

In this guest post, PHD’s Chloe Hooper (pictured below) analyses the campaign that claimed top honours in the Media category at Cannes this year. I sat in the auditorium as the Cannes Media Lion winners for 2018 were awarded. One thing became instantly clear to me: it is all about taking home Gold or the Grand Prix. […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MINI Australia Showcases New ‘Connected’ Vehicles Via Vizeum & Posterscope
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

MINI Australia Showcases New ‘Connected’ Vehicles Via Vizeum & Posterscope

An integrated campaign by Vizeum Melbourne for MINI Australia’s new ‘Connected’ vehicles will see digital out-of-home (DOOH) served via Posterscope’s Liveposter platform. Delivered centrally, the campaign will showcase the flexible qualities DOOH provides via multiple creatives targeted with specific data overlays such as location, traffic, time of day, and weather triggers such as rain. The […]

Women In Media Profile: Lisa Sheehan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Lisa Sheehan

The delightful Lisa Sheehan straps into B&T's "cage of truth" we actually prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp, Storyful & Fox Sports Join Forces To Support AIME Hoodie Day
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing
  • Media

News Corp, Storyful & Fox Sports Join Forces To Support AIME Hoodie Day

News Corp Australia, Storyful and Fox Sports have joined forces in support of 2018 AIME Hoodie Day with a creative advertising, PR, social media and editorial campaign across print, digital, and broadcast media. Fox League presenter Hannah Hollis (pictured above) fronts the AIME Hoodie Day campaign, conceptualised, designed and created by News Corp’s trade marketing […]

Storyation Finalist For Global Content Marketing Agency Of The Year
  • Marketing

Storyation Finalist For Global Content Marketing Agency Of The Year

Sydney content marketing agency Storyation has been named a finalist for global Content Marketing Agency of the Year in the Content Marketing Association Awards in the US.  The only Australian agency on the short-list, Storyation was founded by two former Fairfax Media executives Lauren Quaintance (right in photo) and Mimi Cullen (left) and its clients include Tourism […]

Jaden Social Claims Integrated Marketing Tender For NSW Schools Spectacular
  • Marketing

Jaden Social Claims Integrated Marketing Tender For NSW Schools Spectacular

Jaden Social has been awarded the tender to handle integrated marketing for the NSW Schools Spectacular. The agreement will see Jaden Social manage marketing, media, digital and social across the 2018 to 2020 productions of Schools Spectacular, held at Qudos Bank Arena in November. Jaden Social underwent a competitive pitch to secure the account, in […]

APD Australia Appoints New Head Of Digital Product & Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Technology

APD Australia Appoints New Head Of Digital Product & Strategy

Digital transformation business APD has announced the appointment of Chris Butterworth as its Australian head of digital product and strategy. Based in Melbourne, Butterworth (pictured above) will be responsible for building on APD’s owned media team, growing its range of services and developing cross-channel products. Butterworth joins APD from Reprise Digital, where he was most […]

Apparent Appoints Joint Creative Directors From Within
  • Marketing

Apparent Appoints Joint Creative Directors From Within

Customer engagement agency Apparent has promoted Michelle Turchini and Simon Bloomfield to the newly created roles of joint creative directors, following strong business growth. Over the past 12 months, the independent Sydney agency has increased its staff to more than 60 people and moved into larger offices off the back of new and organic business […]

Targus Reinvigorates Brand Across The Trans-Tasman With First-Ever OOH Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Targus Reinvigorates Brand Across The Trans-Tasman With First-Ever OOH Campaign

Targus Australia New Zealand has today unveiled its first-ever out-of-home media campaign to show off the brand’s fresh look and reinvigorated proposition. Showcasing how Targus connects people and technology, the campaign has been developed by the local arm of international independent brand design agency SomeOne, alongside a media strategy developed in collaboration with Sydney-based agency […]

Bedshed Reveals What Aussies Get Up To In Their Bedrooms In Fresh Campaign By Rare Perth
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Bedshed Reveals What Aussies Get Up To In Their Bedrooms In Fresh Campaign By Rare Perth

Last year, Bedshed commissioned a nationwide survey asking people right across the country what they get up to in the privacy of their bedrooms. It then gathered all the personal revelations together into a report, and now they’re sharing those details with everyone in Australia. The Bedroom Report reveals everything from our favourite sleeping positions […]

MediaMath Secures $US225 Million In New Funding
  • Advertising
  • Technology

MediaMath Secures $US225 Million In New Funding

Programmatic advertising player MediaMath has announced an integrated set of initiatives designed to advance the next generation architecture for digital marketing. The company is unveiling a range of investments in technology, people and relationships, as well as US$225 million in new financing, to accelerate its mission to connect marketers with consumers in a manner that […]

Christie Spaces Chooses The Wired Agency To Lead Digital Marketing
  • Marketing

Christie Spaces Chooses The Wired Agency To Lead Digital Marketing

Co-working space company Christie Spaces has announced the appointment of The Wired Agency as its new digital marketing agency in Australia. Tasked with maximising campaign performance through their trademarked hyper-segmentation and hyper-optimisation techniques, The Wired Agency will be leading search advertising, display advertising, and SEO for Christie Spaces. The company exists to provide a space […]