South by Southwest
The Future Of Problem Solving Is In AI

Big Data can be a pretty scary idea for a lot of people in our industry and AI was put forward as an answer to their queries.

But before we dive into the future, how do we define AI and Big Data? Forget Artificial Intelligence, what does ‘Intelligence’ even mean; what makes Big Data ‘big’? Maher Masri, a consultant from McKinsey went for ‘data so large that it requires new technology and techniques to actually make it useful.’ Considering how much the term is thrown around in our industry, this was a novel, and thought-provoking way of talking about big data. It raised one main question: do the tools we need to perform the tasks we want actually exist?

For me, it seems there’s a huge opportunity for agencies to be building new products to cater for the needs of our clients – we know what they are looking to do, so why aren’t we equipped with the tools we need to be solving the problem ourselves? Using third parties can be the best option at times, but we always seem to want to adapt what’s already built, so why not create ourselves to suit particular client needs?

For Sparkcognition, the future of AI is building computers which can ‘reason about reasoning.’ When we want to make sense of complex data, we shouldn’t be writing strict rules for a machine to follow, we should be building programs so that the machines themselves can identify, navigate and predict patterns to arrive at the solution. This is where the AI and Big Data merge so perfectly.

Manoj Saxena of The Entrepreneurs Fund argued we should be focusing on big solutions, not Big Data – it shouldn’t be man versus machine but man plus machine – and this is where the connection with advertising makes the most sense. AI can be the vehicle to not only improve our current methods of analysing data, but actually solve huge business problems our clients face all over the globe. An example used: it’s not that the Earth is short on resources, it’s that we can’t feed the world with our current resource management. Utilising AI to solve bigger problems seems to be the way forward, and our world is moving closer and closer towards really taking advantage of these methods.

As agencies, we talk a lot about how we innovate and ensure we’re thinking differently, so I would argue that we need to start understanding this revolution in technology much more thoroughly so we’re not left behind and create value for clients.

View the complete SXSW report here.



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