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April 06, 2017

The Future of AI Advertising

And The Dangers of Being Understood

The Future of AI Advertising

At this point most tech-savvy people understand how re-marketing pixels work. After you browse Amazon for a new set of dishes, and then for the next few days (or, until you clear your cookies) you'll see ads for dishes elsewhere on the web. From Siri to Facebook, to Netflix and other Apps - they learn our behavior and discover what we like and what we don't. Then, business' pitch things we might like to us.

We have a pleasant experience on the web, which is filled with things we like. For-profit News and/or "fake news" sensationalism make a killing in advertising dollars this way. And for the most part, we like it. Google punishes advertisers that don't perform by raising their cost, and rewards those that do by lowering theirs.

In my job, I explain this weekly. If you're paying $5 per click - you have a terrible ad campaign. Google's job is to get people to what the want, fast. We wouldn't use it if it didn't. Here's what the recent vote on our internet privacy means: Now, your ISP can sell your behavior. Whereas you can clear your cookies and have a blank slate with ads online now, advertisers, news, organizations and groups can use very detailed data (that you can't clear) to deliver very intelligent content.

Whereas you can clear your cookies and have a blank slate with ads online now...

In the future, you'll walk into a Mall and the glass walls will read, "Hey Susan, We can upgrade that tired iPhone in your purse and wer'e $30 cheaper than the AT&T plan you have". How funny (and embarrassing) will it be when your Dad gets ads for dentures in public. It's one thing for your iPhone to know you didn't get enough sleep last night, or that it's that time of the month, or that you ate a steak when you're doctor told you not to - but for everyone to know it is something else. It WILL be useful. Imagine how many lives could be saved if your iPhone told you without prompting that the guy you're on a date with was accused of assault, or just released from prison.

What about our shortcomings?
Do we want intelligent ads persuading your children to make that impulse-buy when it's software sees they've just inherited money?

The Questions We Have to Ask

Is it going to far for advertising software to take the interests and likes of your child's friends, the places they visit and the dreams they discuss in private messages - and use those to learn the most succesful way to influence a purchase? What then, when a vodka brand will profit billions by cleverly pitching vodka to alcoholics? We want business' to profit, right? These are the questions we have to answer.

We're going to have to decide where to draw the line - and until we do, there won't be any...

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