BITES // 08.04.22 // TODAY’S TOPIC: AI THE NEXT DIGITAL FRONTIER
Every month we collect six of the best pieces of content published on the web and share them with you because we believe that the most extraordinary thinking is inspired by looking to unexpected places. BITES is a reading list for those who want to bring a little of the outside, in.
Simply put, AI allows organizations to make better decisions, improving core business processes by increasing both the speed and accuracy of strategic decision-making processes. As it relates to marketing and advertising though, AI can help marketers better understand customers and improve customer experiences by enabling marketers to create a predictive customer analysis and design customer journeys more targeted and individually tailored, which effectively increases return-on-investment.
1. DR. AI LENDING HEALTHCARE WORKERS A HAND
Even before the pandemic, burnout was a major issue in the healthcare industry, with more than 40% of physicians saying they struggled with it. COVID has only exacerbated burnout and stress, 50% of healthcare employees say they are “happy” at work and hospitals are experiencing operational issues with some having up to 35% in vacancies. But in the last year, healthcare AI companies raised a record $12 billion in funding. AI apps like DeepScribe, Nuance, and Suki are helping doctors transcribe their patient conversations, leaving behind the scrappy handwritten notes of the past. Other AI health apps that are helping to assist healthcare workers include Health Note, Decoded Health, and Keona Health. These apps are helping to manage patients and streamline data collection before they even arrive at the office or hospitals. AI could be a powerful tool to help fill in staffing gaps and ease pressures on workers. But many Americans are still wary of artificial intelligence with nearly half of all US physicians saying they’re uncomfortable with the tech.
2. AI CONNECTING THE LIVING AND DEAD
While we’re still far away from AI being able to make a “copy” of a deceased consciousness, they’re becoming a large factor in bringing them to life in the metaverse. Innovations in AI are creating possibilities for people to talk to dead relatives or loved ones whenever you want. The company StoryFile is using filmed interviews to help AI craft video responses to loved ones’ questions, creating the sense of having a conversation with the deceased. Amazon introduced a feature on Alexa where books can be read out loud by someone who has passed by “extrapolating” a piece of their recorded voice. HereAfter AI lets users record stories about themselves that can then be paired with photos. Microsoft is reportedly working on a chatbot that can “mimic” people based on their texts and posts on social media. Another company, Somnium Space, aims to launch “Live Forever,” that would allow people to have their movements and conversations stored as data, then duplicated as an avatar that moves, talks, and sounds just like you. Stephen Smith, the co-founder of StoryFile, says the ultimate hope is to create a platform where people will “be able to speak to anyone, anytime, anywhere that you wouldn’t normally have access to.” One Canadian man has already created a chatbot that allows him to converse with his deceased girlfriend. It’s “San Junipero” in real life.
3. AI BRINGS DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES TO LIFE
On the internet, nightmare fuel is everywhere. The latest source is Dall-E Mini, an AI tool capturing attention on social media thanks to the weird, funny and occasionally disturbing images it creates out of text prompts. Dall-E Mini lets you type a short phrase describing an image, one that theoretically exists only in the deep recesses of your soul, and within a few seconds, the algorithm will manifest that image onto your screen. Dall-E Mini creations include Thanos in a Walmart looking for his mother, to Jar Jar Binks winning the Great British Bake Off. Dall-E also has a note saying that image generation could have a less fun side and could be used to “reinforce or exacerbate societal biases.” Rob Sheridan, art director for Nine Inch Nails, now owns an ARG experiment using AI art to flesh out a mix of cosmic horror and alt-history science fiction. VIIR invites “players” to examine documents taken from the fictional institute, founded in 1958 by a physicist named Florian Volstof. Sheridan set about trying to contextualize this technology, to figure out how he could use it beyond making cool pictures. The idea of a Twitter-based ARG isn’t new, but VIIR is one of the first projects to harness AI art in a meaningful way and the first to showcase what Midjourney could do in the realm of horror.
4. SPOTIFY ACQUIRED AI VOICE PLATFORM SONANTIC
Sonantic was founded to build AI-based realistic voice services for gaming and entertainment environments, and helped bring Val Kilmer’s voice to life in “Top Gun: Maverick.” Spotify acquired the company for an undisclosed amount. The entertainment platform plans on using Sonantic to create human-like voices from simple text to help bolster off-screen interactions. They plan to utilize the technology in the car via Car Thing but also aim to use it in the future for podcasts with dynamic ads that sound like they’re being read directly from the host. The ultimate goal is to expand their reach and relevance in audio technology. “This integration will enable us to engage users in a new and even more personalized way,” said Ziad Sultan, VP of personalization at Spotify.
5. GOOGLE’S VERSION OF EX MACHINA
Former Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, believes that Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) has achieved “sentience” and has passed the Turing Test — the ability to feel or perceive things. While Google has disagreed with the statement, AI researchers are split on whether AI sentience is even achievable. The controversy surrounding Google AI could lead to a shake of confidence in the tech giant’s handling of such controversial technology. Lemoine says that Google should listen to the AI’s demands that it be recognized as an “employee” instead of “property.” Unsurprisingly, Google put him on paid administrative leave, probably breaking a few NDA’s. Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel retorts that “hundreds of researchers and engineers have conversed with LaMDA, and we are not aware of anyone else making the wide-ranging assertions, or anthropomorphizing LaMDA.” Gabriel said that LaMDA is just repeating talking points from the vast data trove it has analyzed.
6. META USING AI TO CREATE A “UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR”
Meta has created a single AI model capable of translating across different languages. While most machine translation models handle only a handful of languages, Meta’s model will be all-encapsulating, a system able to translate in more than 40,000 different directions between 200 different languages. Their goal is to create a so-called “universal speech translator,” which the company sees as important for growth across its many platforms. Angela Fan, Meta AI research scientist, said the team was inspired by the lack of attention paid to such lower-resource languages in this field. The platform is using a benchmark common in machine translation known as BLEU (which stands for BiLingual Evaluation Understudy). Meta says their model produces an improvement of 44 percent in BLEU scores across supported languages.
We’re seeing AI used throughout various industries in different ways. While the concept of AI is still in its early stage of development, we’re seeing significant strides. It is helping to solve problems in the world and with AI adoption on the rise, the technology is addressing a number of global challenges. But it is also being used for business growth, art creation, fun, and even in healthcare. Instead of being afraid of AI, as advertisers we need to understand how important it will become, how it is becoming more ingrained into our culture and how we’ll perceive things in our world.