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Four Action Items from the AI Executive Summit

Bridget Johnston January 27, 2020

Last Thursday, I went back to school. 

Along with 50+ digital marketing executives and data scientists, I got a crash course on the possibilities of artificial intelligence at Indiana University’s Cyberinfrastructure Building in Bloomington, Indiana. 

The experts and researchers at IU crammed a few years of content into an afternoon and evening of thoughtfully curated content, tours and presentations. 

Associate Professor, David Crandall, discusses AI's advancements at IU.

Associate Professor, David Crandall, discusses AI’s advancements at IU.

My mind is still buzzing on four topics important to any digital marketer: 

The AI / UX Paradox

Consumers benefit from artificial intelligence, but are also fearful  when it’s exposed to them. Technology can personalize experiences, make mundane tasks easier, even keep us safe–but consumers become anxious of the unknown implications when the AI powering the experience passes “The Turing Test” and is transparent.

Action item: Be transparent and conduct extensive UX testing to understand the line for your consumers. 

High Alpha data scientists in discussion at The Executive AI Summit.

High Alpha data scientists in discussion at The Executive AI Summit.

The importance of beginning.

As with any new technology, starting is the only path forward. Marketers waiting for published best practices will fall behind in the fast-moving world of artificial intelligence. Only through the process of implementing AI in your marketing stack, will the opportunities (and questions) arise. 

Action Item: Put your AI pilot program in motion today. 

IU Vice President for Research, Fred Cate, kicks off summit and discusses AI ethics and regulation.

IU Vice President for Research, Fred Cate, kicks off summit and discusses AI ethics and regulation.

Getting ahead of AI + ethics.

Sheila Colclasure from IPG nailed it with her three-part structure to ethical use of data, focusing on understanding harm. Brad Wheeler (VP/CIO at Indiana University) pointed summit attendees to Shohona Zuboff’s book, Surveillance Capitalism, which I promptly ordered (online, unintentionally ironic).

Data, data protection, discrimination and ethics are all at the forefront of AI + marketing, and without corporate or governmental governance, marketers need to ensure that they have an ethics board and data ethics statement

Action item: Does your company have an AI + ethics statement? Create one.

The Pattern89 team with the IU Big Red 200 supercomputer.

The Pattern89 team with the IU Big Red 200 supercomputer.

Will marketers lose their jobs to AI?

Every machine has its limits. What happens when artificial intelligence doesn’t know the answer? Even the best 404 error pages can’t make up for poor customer experience when the technology blocks next action on a critical, safety or medical situation. Dialing “0” in a dreaded phone menu used to be the way out. What now? 

Action item: Define your customer journey. Then define the available human overrides, alerts, and interventions. 

If nothing else, my trip back to school in Bloomington aligned key topics we’re focusing on here at Pattern89 for 2020–and beyond. And I have more than enough homework from this one day on campus!