Artificial Intelligence is a phrase you hear everywhere these days. It will make the buses the run on time, it will diagnose your illness better than your doctor, it will drive your car better than you.
Probably. Maybe. As the range of interpretations of expressed in the main feature of the current Euromedia demonstrate, what AI is – and, therefore, what it can be used for, – is in the eye of the beholder. At one level, sometimes described as Augmented Intelligence, and perhaps better categorised as just self-improvement processing, it is a tool for automating and speeding up mundane parts of the workflow. The digital media equivalent of robots on the auto assembly line. Some argue that more and better automation means more time for creative input, though I’m not sure. Robots on the assembly line doesn’t mean more workers making unique artisan dashboards, it just means less workers.
Then there is the parsing and curating of massive amounts of data in near real time, meaning that once tedious tasks like archiving can be achieved painlessly and then, with more learning layers, that archive can be packaged up and parcelled out to the kind of viewers whose curated personal data shows they would like it.
A slightly different spin on this genre of AI means marrying up demographic data so accurately and seamlessly to an advertising inventory that no commercial impact is ever wasted. The right ad in the right content to the right audience at the right time.
More learning – that is (basically) algorithms that shape shift on the evidence of accumulated data feedback – and you have the ability to create the right content to appeal to the right audience at the right time, either to keep them subscribing to a service, or to provide a content carrier for advertising.
At which point you begin to think that, even though the whole point is to engage people with creative entertainment – as no one much cares what a robot watches, least of all the robot – there is almost no need for people in the supply side of that content. Not likely.
AI might make the workflow quicker and ad placement better, and it should even improve discovery and recommendation, but let’s not let the learning machines anywhere near a writer’s keyboard or a director’s chair.