Why artificial intelligence needs the human touch
By Tom Richards, VP Global Product at MiQ
Successfully evolving digital advertising to deliver better outcomes for advertisers demands creating a delicate balance between human talent and technology, says MiQ’sTom Richards
There has been an undercurrent of anxiety surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for some time now because of its ability to power the automation revolution. Will robots take all our jobs? How long will it be before they can think for themselves? Just how safe are self-driving cars?
Following the launch of ChatGPT, this has become a raging torrent due to the AI-driven language tools’ impressive ability to read and write conversational content. Out of nowhere, whole industries feel under threat. Privacy concerns are so heightened, through a lack of clarity over how the application is leveraging user data, that Italy has imposed a ban. The world is struggling to rein in a technology running blindly ahead of the regulators.
This, of course, is nothing new for the media industry. Since the introduction of desktop publishing, it has dealt with technology revolution after technology revolution. One gave rise to programmatic advertising, which continues to push the boundaries of how brands can reach and target digital media audiences and measure the results.
ChatGPT is simply the latest frontier of AI and ML, which programmatic advertising have been harnessing successfully for some time though a strategy that vividly illustrates the value of striking the right balance between artificial and human intelligence. Maybe it’s an approach that other industries can learn from.
Although programmatic is viewed as technology businesses, we’re actually a service industry. We simply invest in cutting-edge innovation, like AI and ML, to enable our human teams to deliver the outcomes our clients demand. On the one side we draw on as much relevant data as possible. On the other we have a desired client outcome. Our brilliant people bring the two together using the latest digital technology.
Human talent lies at the heart of what we do, whether that’s a data scientist or another member of the programmatic team. We’ve built products and solutions that always take into account that there is a trader at the end of the interface and that everything should be complementary. There is huge value in us having key talent on the frontline delivering a tailored, personalised experience. But our experts are supported and powered by AI to perform even more effectively, efficiently and productively, ultimately driving better outcomes faster for brands.
The programmatic space is highly complex. To deliver the required outcomes you need to have a thorough understanding of the ecosystem and the nuances involved so that you can ask the right questions to develop and train AI models to perform in the right way. The blend of subtlety, expertise and experience this requires is impossible to automate, which means the human element remains critical, and that’s why we should never downplay our talent.
Acceleration not revolution
Will ChatGPT shift the dial? Will it prove to be another valuable programmatic tool? As a sophisticated conversational interface, it could potentially help extract the required insight from data more quickly and in a less cumbersome way, reducing the time and effort spent structuring data and carrying out the necessary testing.
It would be great, for example, to have a more conversational experience when pulling out reports on the top performing domains for a campaign, or how much budgets have changed week on week. Simply asking a question and getting immediate results would accelerate processes. But it will always be humans asking the question, tailored around a specific or unique client problem.
No matter how advanced AI and ML become, the technology will only play a supporting role to best practice trading. In programmatic advertising, machines will never control everything. Humans understand the context of what a client is asking for, what the campaign needs, what DSP to trade in, what the ultimate goals are. All these are nuances that would be lost in a purely plug-and-play scenario.
Technology will automate, but it’s humans that ensure campaigns meet the many, varied and exacting demands of clients. The future of programmatic lies not in technology, but in blending it successfully with human talent to help continually deliver better results for advertisers.