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5 Questions with Andrea Isoni, Director of AI Technologies

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We caught up with Isoni to get a preview of his upcoming SMWNYC panel, featuring speakers from Reply.ai, TOPBOTS, and VaynerMedia.

We caught up with Isoni to get a preview of his upcoming SMWNYC panel, featuring speakers from Reply.ai, TOPBOTS, and VaynerMedia.

Bots, algorithms, automation, oh my! We’ve all heard these terms tossed around, but what are the current implications for brands and marketers? And, in a broader sense, how can we ensure we’re employing these emerging technologies ethically in the years ahead?

Andrea Isoni, Director of AI Technologies and speaker at SMWNYC, works with brands and companies to help them better navigate and harness the full potential of AI. We caught up with him to get a preview of his upcoming talk, “AI X Brands: Balancing the Promise with the Pitfalls.”

SMW: What about the future of AI are you most excited about?

AI: I don’t believe we’ll see artificial intelligence machines doing jobs without any human supervision within the next 10 years, at least. However, what is very possible and exciting right now, is leveraging the best AI solutions in terms of learning new, repeatable skills. This is often achieved using reinforcement learning and related algorithms that provide the intuitive direction, planning, and expert knowledge that’s usually brought forth via human experience and context.

How do you think AI should be regulated moving forward?

This is a very tricky question. I feel that in all of the fields in which AI does not outperform humans, which is many, AI should not be allowed to be the ultimate decision-maker. In the situations where AI can do a better job than a human, I think an operator “enforced by law” should be present just to avoid unforeseen outputs. Of course, this regulation is needed as long as we collect statistical evidence that a certain AI solution can really perform a job without us.

Keep in mind that currently, on planes, the pilots mostly are checking the sensors from the computer onboard rather than actually flying the plane, which is done by the computer itself. This very same thing it will happen in many fields.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about machine learning today?

For many, AI is envisioned as a “magic box,” meaning that even without inputs from humans, it can return solutions far better than us. Another very common misconception is related to the future of work. That is, that AI will replace the current jobs that exist today. I stress the word current because new jobs will continue to be invented.

What are some companies in AI that brands should have on the radar?

Generally speaking, brands should pay attention to all of the companies that provide audience insights, which are very relevant for today’s marketing work. Codec, Symanto, and Audiense are a few examples, More established technologies like BuzzSumo and Buzzoole are also worthy of keeping tabs on.

What do you think will be the biggest AI trend in 2018?

There will be an increased interest in new types of AI that are capable of detecting human emotions and expressions from videos and/or pictures. Especially in the wake of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelations being publicized, understanding personalities with respect to consumer behavior patterns from data will be very important and something I think will move from text to images.

Overall, I do think some of the oversold promises discussed by many media outlets regarding certain AI solutions will start to burst, especially those pertaining to the field of medicine. When I say burst, I mean that the AI solutions will take more time to deliver than the media have claimed. Stated differently, there is a lag between expectation due to media hype and reality. Many AI solutions will require more time to become reality.

Don’t miss out on a chance to explore the future of AI at SMWNYC (April 24-27) at the Sheraton Times Square. Claim your pass today.




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