2018: The Year of the Robot?

It is estimated that by 2025, robots could steal 40 percent of U.S. jobs. Artificial intelligence is already ubiquitous in many fields.
As a millennial, I have spent the majority of my life stacking up both degrees and debt all in pursuit of the ever-elusive job. Which means that for me and my peers, this statistic could spell out a bleak future.
Machines trump humans in many ways. They can be quicker, more efficient and more accurate. With robots already stacking shelves in Amazon’s warehouses and chatbots answering your questions on your favorite clothing websites, industries such as manufacturing and consumer sales have seen an increase of jobs upended by artificial intelligence. If these industries can be so easily altered, what does this mean for the future of media and communications professionals? A recent webcast presented by Digiday and GumGum explored how AI might alter communications, once perceived as an industry that could never be automated.
GumGum, an artificial intelligence company specializing in computer vision, surveyed over 400 marketing executives to see what they thought on the rise of AI. Their findings were further broken down by individual communications positions.
They spell out fears and opportunities for four kinds of marketing and media professionals.

The Marketer

Fear: Nineteen percent of marketers worried about the technical learning curve that’s presented by the rise of AI.
Maximizing Opportunity: Developing a general understanding of artificial intelligence allows marketers to implement more creative and intuitive solutions for clients, giving them an edge up on their competitors.

The Media Executive

Fear: Ninety percent of media agency executives reported that at least one fifth of their outputs involved data analytics. With the rise of AI, which can efficiently collect and sort data, what does this mean for the need for this group?
Maximizing Opportunity: Instead of shying away from automation in fear of becoming obsolete, the wise media executive would make use of AI to boost efficiency and focus on higher value opportunities. Automating data analytics will give media executives the chance to develop a more subtle understanding of their customer.

The Creative

Fear: Although 47 percent of creatives reported already working with data and automation in significant ways, many felt threatened by its reach.
Maximizing Opportunity: Instead of worrying, creatives should use AI to inspire ingenuity to create products for their customers that both solve problems and induce a feelings of delight. AI allows the creative to take a step back from mundane tasks and look at the big picture.

The Seller

Fear: Like the marketer, 40 percent of this group feared the technological learning curve of AI.
Maximizing Opportunity: The seller has the one thing the robot will not have anytime soon – the human touch. Instead of fearing the unknown, sellers should leverage the AI-generated knowledge to better serve the needs and wants of their customers.
Overall, 73 percent of participants felt that their company needed to improve AI planning and training. What does all of this mean? By adopting AI early, we as communication professionals have the opportunity to spend more of our time thinking critically and adding higher value outputs instead of focusing on administrative mundanities. For us here at Vested, this means using technology and AI solutions to better understand, guide and meet the needs of our clients.
So will eventually robots replace us all and take our jobs? Honestly, it’s hard to definitively say. One thing is for sure, however: 2018 promises to combine the efficiency of artificial intelligence with the empathy of the human touch for a year full of creativity, innovation and communications excellence.

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