Beware—the future sci-fi movies have warned us about is coming. Computer simulations are able to predict what we’ll think and do before we do it. They know our habits and what influences us and simply just about everything we do. Our phones, TVs, computers, cars, thermostats, radios, security systems and even light bulbs can all be connected to this SkyNet-style data brain. And all of that data contains some of our most deeply personal information. Data like medical history and bank information show what you have, and metadata like texts, emails and search history can show what you think as you think it. Scared yet?
Think about it too much and you may want to build a log cabin far from any tree shaped cell tower—free from the prying eye of any HAL-9000 computer brain.
Here’s the thing with all of this data though, there’s tons of it. Like haystacks and haystacks full. And everyone’s generating it. All the time. Security is of course a huge issue, but it’s somewhat comforting to think about how determined someone would need to be to find out some specific piece of data about a singular person. And for me, I wouldn’t want to give up all of what this connected world brings: bills that autopay, lights that automatically turn on when it’s dark, maps that guide us everywhere, thermostats that are aware if we’re home, or the ability to see my kid sleep from 2000 miles away.
Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are just a few of the admittedly creepy “SkyNets” that we interact with, but the key to everything here is data. From a marketing perspective, this data changes the game. Knowing large sets of consumers habits data is valuable, and harnessing artificial intelligence to very accurately predicate where and how to meet consumers will unlock this power. The key is, of course, how to use that data. As a consumer it may feel creepy, but when done well it should bring us a new level of simplicity and value to our shopping experiences.
From a video production perspective, we’re just beginning to learn how we can collect data and use it to make more compelling content. With A.I. tools we can analyze content for emotion and even watchability.
Computers can’t replace human emotions though. Just as the internet simplified our lives in many ways, A.I. and large data collection has the ability to simplify and eliminate large mundane tasks and do them more quickly and accurately than we can. It sounds like the secret to job elimination, but you could also see it as the secret to opening our potential. As people we’re great with creativity and crafting solutions to complex problems. Computers can’t do that, but they can help us focus on doing nothing but what we’re good at. It’s a future I can get excited about, and one that’s coming. Rather than being scared about this future, let’s figure out ways to mold it so we can focus on what will make it most efficient and useful for the things we’re great at, while eliminating the mundane.