Earlier this year, Accenture released “Accenture Technology Vision 2018.” It's the annual technology report from Accenture that predicts key technology trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years. I spoke to Michael Biltz, managing ...
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Tech trends to keep an eye on over next 3 years. Shutterstock
Earlier this year, Accenture released “Accenture Technology Vision 2018.” It's the annual technology report from Accenture that predicts key technology trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years. I spoke to Michael Biltz, managing director of Accenture Technology Vision and co-author of the report, who shared insights on the five technology trends Accenture anticipates and what they mean for business.
1. Citizen AI: Raising AI to Benefit Business and Society
As artificial intelligence (AI) grows in its capabilities, so does its impact on people’s lives. Businesses are looking to capitalize on AI’s potential; hence, they must acknowledge this impact. The report asked us, as businesspeople/marketers/advertisers, to think about it in terms of how "parents hope to raise children who act responsibly and communicate effectively." It's up to us to teach the AI systems to reflect societal norms such as fairness and transparency.
That means AI is much more than a tool, just like our children are much more than something we've merely reproduced. What AI systems do will ultimately impact people and their lives. Therefore, we need to teach, guide, and provide boundaries for the AI systems we use. The report stated, "These carefully raised AIs will not only be able to scale operations, but also adapt to new needs via feedback loops from other deployed models — similar to how continuing education enables employees to adapt to new tasks."
It's easy to think that's the responsibility of tech experts. However, the report defines the scope of the various types of learning that fall under the AI category. It's on each of us in marketing to take the time to understand the various learning styles — they then become the basis for the parenting style we use with our AI children.
Talking Ads, a digital marketing agency specializing in mass-scale programmatic media buying, offers an example of raising AI to benefit business and society. As a marketing technology expert, Alon Braun, the CEO, developed a media BI AI system called 1NMAN. “Before deciding on the correct media buy channel, we trained the system with the company’s core values,” says Braun.
“We put emphasis on teaching the system to act with respect to the end customers, and we also taught the system the value of self-responsibility, which means prioritizing each action every few steps of operation. Most importantly, we have trained 1NMAN with our main core value, which is learning from mistakes, so the system and the company can evolve together.”
2. Extended Reality: The End of Distance
Virtual and augmented reality technologies are transforming the way people live and work. This technology is removing the distance between people, information, and experiences. Location is no longer as important — interesting, given how much time we've spent on geolocation and space in the past few years.
The report explained, "Through immersive experiences, businesses can tap expertise in thousands of skills from anywhere in the world. Across industries and applications, immersive experiences are pushing companies to not only think differently about what is possible, but also to create new solutions that bypass the distance-based challenges they face today."
Already, brands are putting this technology to work. For example, the report noted BMW provides an AR-driven exploration of its models. This technology allows people to get “inside” the car to experience what it feels like to drive one. That provides an emotional connection that no other technology or marketing tactic has been able to deliver. There are endless applications for marketing with this technology.
3. Data Veracity: The Importance of Trust
By transforming themselves to run on data, businesses now face a new kind of vulnerability. This involves inaccurate, manipulated, and biased data. Using this data leads to corrupted business insights and skewed decisions. To address this challenge, companies must follow a dual mandate to maximize veracity and minimize incentives for data manipulation.
This trend topped my list of key trends that CMOs are most likely already contemplating. It's great that many brands are now data-driven.
Maximizing data veracity is about making sure that you’ve verified the truth and context of the data. For example, SpaceX uses dual computers to make minute course corrections. United Airlines underwent an effort to consistently update seating demand forecasts to maximize profits. It’s not necessarily a matter of the data being wrong. It’s a matter of verifying that it’s as current and accurate as possible."
Pixmettle founder and fintech AI expert Kapil Dhingra, who has developed enterprise AI-based tools that will help detect frauds proactively, says, “AI helps in flagging duplicate expenses and expenses with corporate policy violations early on, even before they get added to the system. This saves time, reduces errors, and increases efficiency.”
In another example, researchers at the University of Warwick found some rideshare drivers organize simultaneous sign-offs. This creates a shortage of drivers and triggers surge pricing. They then log back in to take rides at the higher fares. Systems like this that are managed by algorithms need to be designed with this in mind. In customer service environments, the more a customer complains, the more he’s appeased. Therefore, companies should make sure they’re not rewarding bad behavior. Instead, it's about exploring ways to promote good behavior.
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