What is AI? A Quick Overview

A quick definition: AI is smart machines that can do things humans can do.  It is the broad science of copying human abilities. The chance is that you’ve already used AI software.

Examples of AI

AI is often talked about as if it is a future technology. But many of us have already used AI to make our lives easier:

  • If you’ve talked with Siri on your iPhone you’ve used AI (Natural Language Generation – NLG)
  • If you’ve used an online chatbot for customer service you’ve used AI
  • If you’ve written emails using predicted text you’ve used AI (Natural Language Processing NLP)
  • If you’ve scrolled through your Facebook feed you’ve used AI as your posts are optimised depending on whose profiles you visit most regularly

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is a subset of AI. It trains a machine how to learn and adapt through experience so they don’t have to be explicitly programmed by a human.

Machine learning is broken into three categories: supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning.

You may also have heard of deep learning. Deep learning uses massive neural networks to take advantage of advances in computing power to understand and makes sense of patterns in large amounts of data.

Image of a small white robot - What Is AI? A Quick Overview
AI isn’t just about robots – machine learning is a subset of AI

How does AI benefit marketers?

There are loads of daily tasks that can be time consuming and quite frankly pretty dull. AI can streamline these so marketers can be freed up to focus on the more creative aspects of their role – and of course building real-life relationships for which there’s no substitution. By automating data-driven tasks, AI will also be able to help marketers reduce costs.

AI already does a lot of different jobs that can help streamline marketers’ jobs, such as:

-Text prediction (soon AI could be able to write whole articles)
-Speech recognition (all of those annoying daily tasks like signing up to new tools can be done without touching a computer)
-Image recognition (finding the perfect images for marketing campaigns)

As well as this, marketers will be able to make customers very happy by using AI to sort through data and personalise campaigns. All in all, AI makes brands more human.

Is Virtual Reality the same as AI?

No. But Virtual Reality requires AI to make it. VR allows you to experience a world that doesn’t actually exist through a 3D world created by computers. Devices used include Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard. VR is not to be confused with AR – or Augmented Reality, which adds digital elements to a live view by using a smartphone camera such as Pokemon Go.

AI and SEO

The whole point about publishing quality content is to get found on Google. If no one knows who you are, well, no one knows who you are and it can be tricky to make an impact.

Optimising content at scale can be time-consuming and difficult, so marketers should jump at the chance to use AI to do this. Doing this will this give you a competitive advantage on Google if you start using tools that can help you. Many marketers (especially those in big corporation) have been slow on the uptake and if you get started now you’ll be ahead of the curve.

AI and content marketing

Depending on how much you like writing, you may or may not be excited by the fact that AI has the potential to completely revolutionise content quality and quantity.

There are many marketers who will jump for joy in the knowledge that they no longer have to churn out content all day. Others may feel slight concern at the fact that “robots” may soon be able to do something that’s kept journalists in pens for centuries.

Content analysis, keyword selection, content creation, optimisation and testing to improve content is the process necessary for successful content marketing. The most advanced forms of AI teach themselves to improve based on user inputs without having the rely on human programmers. This means that machines can constantly learn how to make quality content at scale, something that marketers recommend as a necessary part of brand strategy.

The point isn’t that AI will replace the need for writers, but it is moving towards doing some aspects of content marketing better than humans. And it’s already happened. As mentioned above, AI technology can write email subject lines that will increase the likelihood of open rates and identify gaps in the market where powerful articles are needed.

After all, the ability to analyse millions of data points, work out which ones work best is beyond the capabilities of humans. AI can be used to improve the customer experience through personalisation, meaning that content can be really tailored to the customer (and improve conversion rates).  So content marketers need to get used to machines outperforming them and step back and accept a more creative role in the process. Which, let’s face it, is more fun anyway.

How does AI affect healthcare?

AI is making huge in-roads in healthcare. The key areas are:

-Early detection and diagnostics ( AI can assist clinicians is by providing earlier diagnosis of conditions)
-Decision-making (AI can analyse millions of data points)
-Surgery (robot surgery is set to double by 2020 in the US)

AI can make diagnoses faster and is more reliable, freeing up healthcare practitioners for the important task of caring. But it’s important to remember that there are some pitfalls of AI when it comes to healthcare. For example, there’s the problem of bias and the issue of data privacy.

As I write this, it’s 2019 – just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how AI is influencing how healthcare is delivered and what products are developed. As long as the right safeguards are introduced when it comes to monitoring fairness and tempering the rapidity of AI development using regulatory bodies, we should all be optimistic about AI.

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