Technology will overtake jobs to an extent and at a rate, we have not seen before. Artificial intelligence is threatening jobs even in service and knowledge-intensive sectors. This begs the question: are robots threatening to take your marketing job?
In California, there is a robot that can make 360 burgers per hour. It makes it faster, better and cheaper. The only thing a human person has to do is to feed the machine with raw materials and clean it in the evening.
Futurists describe the not so distant future where robots and advanced software has taken over many of today’s jobs. One of the most obvious areas is automation of transportation. And much more than the public transportation.
Companies such as Google and Volvo have come a long way with self-driven cars. Mercedes is in the game too. In the not so distant future, all trains will be operated without drivers and we are close to the – somewhat scary – scenario of sending robotic aircrafts into the blue sky.
Artificial intelligence: From quiz winner to doctor
Artificial intelligence is now able to perform complex tasks, which includes understanding connections and make decisions. One of the drivers of this trend is IBM and their supercomputer Watson. Some years ago, Watson won the world championship in Jeopardy. Today the same Watson has been promoted to work as a doctor.
Watson can – in less than three seconds – read 229 million texts in the latest science and come up with a diagnosis.
Initially, Watson will assist doctors to make better decisions. But one can easily imagine Watson providing consultations and diagnoses independently.
Think about Watson in a marketing context. Think about market research, research for content. Think about competitive analysis. Think about ROI calculations. The areas of application are many. But thankfully Watson has not developed an emotional intelligence. Yet.
Artificial intelligence in medicine, insurance, investment
IBM’s artificial intelligence have mostly advanced in medicine, but there are constantly new features and markets. In the insurance and investment advice areas, you will be able to communicate with a personalized digital consultant who continually gets better acquainted with the customer. Perhaps marketers can learn something about relevant dialogue here?
A spokesperson from IBM said that they work with a partner on a legal ecosystem that can assess cases involving winning probability, examine precedent, research and summarize many pages of material.
Think about your marketing job. If artificial intelligence and robots can do the jobs of lawyers and investment advisers, it seems straight-forward to be able to do the job of a marketer, don’t you think?
What exactly is a human job?
The benefits of artificial intelligence are obvious. Massive productivity gains while a new layer of personalized services from your computer – whether that is a burger robot or Dr. Watson. But artificial intelligence has a bias. Many jobs will be lost.
A few years ago a study from the University of Oxford got quite a bit of attention. The study said that 47 percent of the US labour market could be replaced by intelligent computers within the next 20 years.
The losers are a wide range of job categories within the administration, service, sales, transportation and manufacturing.
This author thinks that marketing will – and perhaps should – be affected as well. It seems there are many marketing functions, which can be handled better by a “robot”. In fact, many businesses have already started using artificial intelligence, machine learning and marketing automation techniques to improve productivity and the customer experience.
This development is expected to grow fast. There are different predictions about the timing, but by 2030 there will be very few tasks that only a human can solve.
“At Markedu we are considering how to create marketing training programs for robots. We expect these marketing robots to complete courses faster than the speed of light!”
Before long we should – or must – redefine what exactly a human job is and the usefulness of it. How we as humans can best complement the extraordinary capabilities of artificial intelligence.
In a marketing context, we’ll need to understand how it can help humans working alongside robots. How we can best use artificial intelligence to our advantage.
If at Markedu we had our very own Ms. Watson marketing assistant, I can think of hundreds of ways to use that to our advantage; searching and proposing great marketing expert speakers and trainers, researching for blog articles and reports and so much more. In my opinion, our Ms. Watson wouldn’t steal any jobs. On the contrary, I believe she would allow us to create more jobs. Jobs that would be focused more on the human emotion as a way to be more relevant and attract more business.
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