In recent times, we often hear about artificial intelligence and how it is increasingly influencing our lives. As a matter of fact, AI is gradually shaping the way we live and work by creating multimedia content of all kinds and supporting companies with innovative and smart software. Especially in the world of marketing and communication, the AI is becoming a useful tool on several fronts: from creating multimedia content, to generating textual content up to data analysis. In this article, we analyse what artificial intelligence is, what the main fields of application are and what the pros and cons of this technology are.
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AI in a nutshell
The artificial intelligence, simply known as AI, is a computer science discipline that we have heard a lot about in recent years and that has raised a stir among philosophers and scientists. It is indeed able to emulate the thinking and behaviour of human being by transposing it in the form of visual, sound or textual output. In other words, the AI can write texts, create images and/or videos as well as sound tracks starting from a simple input, which can be a precise text command or a voice request.
In a certain way, we can asset that the origin of the AI goes back to the very first computers in the 1930s, created from the necessity to perform quick and efficient mathematical calculations of medium complexity.
However, we began to officially talk about AI in 1956 during the conference held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire (United States), which was attended by the then professor and mathematician John McCarthy, together with Marvin Minsky (Harvard), Nathaniel Rochester (IBM) and the researcher Claude E. Shannon. The subject of the debate was discussing whether a machine could simulate every aspect of human learning and intelligence.
The following years have then been characterised by a multitude of successes, especially fuelled by the development of increasingly high-performance information technology. Noteworthy is the GPS (General Problem Solver) calculator studied by Newell, Shaw and Simone in 1958.
Many successes but also failures, as the programs used in the easiest cases revealed to be inappropriate for solving more complex problems. The initial high expectations had to deal with the failure of machine translation projects between natural languages and programs that acted at the level of simple syntactic manipulation. The great initial expectations had to deal with the failure of automatic translation projects between natural languages and programs that acted at the level of simple syntactic manipulation. All these critical issues led to a downsizing of AI with the introduction of expert systems in the early 70s and consequent use in the industrial sector with the R1 program developed by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1982, whose purpose was to help configure orders for new computers.
Given the great advantages found by companies, especially at an economic level, the scientific community has successfully pursued studies on artificial intelligence and its use in work and leisure contexts. More precisely, what most characterizes today’s AI from the previous ones are the changes to the contents and methods.
The application fields of AI
The applications of modern artificial intelligence systems are vast and it would be very difficult to fully catalogue them given the number of sectors involved. As follows, an esteem of the applications field currently dominating.
- Entertainment and ludic sector: the sector where the AI excel is certainly the ludic and entertainment one, as demonstrated by the IBM Deep Blue software which defeated the chess grandmaster Kasparov way back in 1997.
- Multimedia content creation: the artificial intelligence of today plays a growing role in creating content for various sectors. It can generate images, videos and sound tracks, such as digital painting, realistic photos and promotional video clips. It has the ability to create synthetic voices for vocal assistants, audiobooks o for car navigation systems. Some AI based tools can even help with graphic design by creating logos or advertising banners. All of this makes the AI an important ally for those who deal with marketing, communication and graphic designers.
- Autonomous control: the AI is present in daily activities, just think about smartphone or home voice assistants able to autonomously manage our needs and interact with other devices. Even the latest generation cars are a perfect example, given that they are integrated with smart digital systems that independently manage various components of the car. Some models even use machine learning to teach the car to drive safely in different contexts and to identify objects to avoid accidents.
Types of AI
A first distinction between the types of artificial intelligence is the one formulated by the research and automation, which classify them into Narrow AI and Strong AI.
Narrow AI has restricted functionalities and integrates algorithms built to perform specific tasks, rather than possessing full cognitive capabilities like the human brain. An example of Narrow AI are the voice assistants. As a matter of fact, the Narrow AI acts in the presence of a programmed response, meaning it processes data based on known information and classifies them according to the program, thus being unable to deviate from the scheduled path. Its wide use is justified by the ability to solve tasks much faster than humans can.
On the other hand, the Strong AI is currently a more theoretical than practice reality, as it is an intelligence hypothetically able to comprehend and learn every intellectual task, exactly like a human being. The technology is based on expert systems that want to reproduce the performance and knowledges of specialists in a particular field. It works in three different phases: the first concerns the starting point, which consists of rules and procedures that the system needs during its operation. The second consists of the application of data and notions. The last is the user interface where the interaction between the machine and the human being takes place.
Pros and cons
Before starting to use the artificial intelligence, it is right to know the benefits and drawbacks it brings to the user.
- Quickness: the collection and analysis of great amounts of data can be done quicker than human work.
- Save time and costs: AI can automate long and often monotonous time-consuming procedures. It can be used also to reduce production costs, thus increasing the efficiency.
- Increase the quality of work: taking the industrial sector as an example, the artificial intelligence can help identifying possible issues in the supply chains and preventing failures or interruptions.
- Lack of creativity: Artificial intelligence takes purely analytical decisions but sometimes they are not the correct or requested ones. This means AI needs constant human intervention: without precise and detailed inputs on the type of creativity required, the AI does not return the desired results.
- Misinformation: one of the problems arisen using the AI is the failure in distinguishing between true and fake news, thus giving back information that are not always accurate.
How AI can be an ally for marketers?
Creating images with AI
Today’s AI has evolved to the point of changing the landscape of many sectors. A particular one regards the content creation and especially the creation of images. There are indeed several artificial intelligence programs designed for this purpose. The operation is intuitive: starting from a simple textual input the program generates an image, which can be a realistic photo, a painting, a portrayal of a view and much more.
But why adopting this type of artificial intelligence?Whoever decides to use this kind of AI tool, it sets as goal the creation of images that can serve as an inspiration for a project or to highlight a specific product.
Writing texts with AI
Besides creating multimedia content, AI is also causing a stir in the field of writing. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of tools like the famous OpenAI ChatGPT, which allow the users to write texts on all kinds of topic.
Realising high-performing newsletters
The artificial intelligence is also revolutionising the email marketing industry. Thanks to recent tools, it is possible to create graphics template as well as captivating, efficient and time-saving newsletters.
AI supports the user in all phases of email construction, improving its effectiveness and providing ideas for customising content. More precisely, it first generates the subject line, that is the main element that determines the success or failure of a campaign, especially with regards to open rates. It then follows the email text: many email marketing tools integrate the ChatGPT technology into their software in order to automatically generate the newsletter content and in the preferred language. Lastly, AI takes care of design, producing the best layout, graphic and colours choice, depending on whether the email is for promotional, informational or other purposes.
Designing websites and landing pages
It seems almost surreal but the modern AI is also capable of designing websites and landing pages starting from zero. In the case of websites, all you must do is selecting the type of the website you want based on your business, the layout and the colour scheme you desire and the AI creates an initial version within minutes. The same happens with the landing pages, as there are software that can create them according to the goal and taking into consideration textual inputs containing the keywords and the product sector of interest.
Providing customer service with Chabot and Virtual assistant
AI can support clients thanks to virtual assistant programs, such as Chatbot and/or Virtual assistant. These artificial intelligence-based software offer a comprehensive customer service 24 hours a day. They can answer questions, solve problems and provide several information by using an online chat between the user and the bot, thus accelerating the assistance operations.
Analysing data and predicting future trends
AI is also very useful as it is able to analyse data and predict future market trends. AI uses learning algorithms to acquire these data and elaborates them in order to identify correlations, patterns and relations and makes predictions about future market trends. These AI tools can be used for several purposes. For example, some companies use them to identify potential investment opportunities or to get advices and recommendations about them.
Optimising budgets with Programmatic Advertising
Besides content creation and data analysis, the artificial intelligences are becoming essential even to study the data of an advertising campaign, optimising and maximising the performance automatically with the assistance of Programmatic Advertising.
This specific tool is designed for online advertising and allows to reach the proper target at the lowest possible price and in the right moment. In short, the Programmatic Advertising acquires an amount of data provided by sources like cookies or monitoring systems and allows the target customer to be identified. It then automatically buys the most suitable advertising spaces to be displayed by the user you want to reach.
We can say artificial intelligence is an excellent ally of human beings, as it helps them finding new and interesting ideas or saving huge amounts of time on monotonous and boring activities. Obviously, it is always good to consider the important human capacity for creative thinking, problem solving and understanding of feelings, especially in view of future AIs, which will be even more “intelligent” and integrated into society.
In this article we also examined how much the AI can be useful for all those dealing with marketing, communication and graphic design activities, as it could be a very valid tool for several applications. From creating content, websites and newsletters to budget optimisation for online advertising, up to data analysis and future trends prediction.
Using AI, however, must be done with diligence. It must in no way replace human beings and their work, or it could be extremely harmful. Just as has happened in the film industry, where actors protested against the AI and its potential exploitation in the world of acting, as it would jeopardise their careers by emulating their figure, behaviour and even the voice.
Have you ever used AI for your marketing and communication activity? How do you think AI can be useful to improve your strategy? If you want to receive more support on how to apply artificial intelligence to improve your marketing and communication strategy, contact us now!