Thank goodness for live chat. If you’re anything like me, you look back at the days of corded phones and 1-800 numbers with anything but fondness.
But as you’re chatting with a customer service agent on Facebook Messenger to see if you can change the shipping address on your recent order, sometimes it’s tempting to ask, am I really talking to a human? Or is this kind, speedy agent really just a robot in disguise?
Believe it or not, this question is older than you might think. The game of trying to decipher between human and machine goes all the way back to 1950 and a computer scientist named Alan Turing.
In his famous paper, Turing proposed a test (now referred to as the Turing Test) to see if a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior is indistinguishable from that of a human. An interrogator would ask text-based questions to subject A (a computer) and subject B (a person), in hopes of trying to figure out which was which. If the computer successfully fooled the interrogator into thinking it was a human, the computer was said to successfully have artificial intelligence.
Since the days of Alan Turing, there’s been decades and decades of debate on if his test really is an accurate method for identifying artificial intelligence. However, the sentiment behind the idea remains: As AI gains traction, will we be able to tell the difference between human and machine? And if AI is already transforming the way we want customer service, how else could it change our jobs as marketers?
As Turing predicted, the concepts behind AI are often hard to grasp, and sometimes even more difficult recognize in our daily lives. By its very nature, AI is designed to flow seamlessly into the tools you already use to make the tasks you do more accurate or efficient. For example, if you’ve enjoyed Netflix movie suggestions or Spotify’s personalized playlists, you’re already encountering AI. In fact, in our recent HubSpot Research Report on the adoption of artificial intelligence, we found that 63% of respondents are already using AI without realizing it. When it comes to marketing, AI is positioned to change nearly every part of marketing -- from our personal productivity to our business’s operations -- over the next few years. Imagine having a to-do list automatically prioritized based on your work habits, or your content personalized based on your target customer writes on social media. These examples are just the beginning of how AI will affect the way marketers work. No matter how much AI changes our job, we’re not all called to be expert computer scientists. However, it’s still crucial to have a basic understanding how AI works, if only to get a glimpse of the possibilities with this type of technology and to see how it could make you a more efficient, more data-driven marketer.
Below we’ll break down the key terms you’ll need to know to be a successful marketer in an AI world. But first, a disclaimer ... This isn’t meant to be the ultimate resource of artificial intelligence by any means, nor should any 1,500-word blog post. There remains a lot of disagreement around what people consider AI to be and what it’s not. But we do hope these basic definitions will make AI and its related concepts a little easier to grasp and excite you to learn more about the future of marketing.
An algorithm is a formula that represents the relationship between variables. Social media marketers are likely familiar, as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all use algorithms to determine what posts you see in a news feed. SEO marketers focus specifically on search engine algorithms to get their content ranking on the first page of search results. Even your Netflix home page uses an algorithm to suggest new shows based on past behavior. When you’re talking about artificial intelligence, algorithms are what machine learning programs use to make predictions from the data sets they analyze.