Forget the man wearing the oversized Dominoes pizza box at the busy intersection, artificial intelligence technology will be the humanized advert of the future. After pondering the potential for interactive billboards, the route that advertising technology is on is looking mightily familiar, almost human.
What makes up a human, well a number of things, including opposable thumbs, feeling emotion, self-awareness and the ability to learn? ‘Strong A.I.’ can learn to simulate human thinking, recognise emotion, are self aware and thumbs are just unnecessary. Blade Runner hasn’t come to life just yet but the rise of the machines is on the horizon and they can show you the way to your nearest Dominoes.
Google have trained their search bots to understand and categorise humour, digital signs can recognise facial features, race, age, gender and recommend a bag to match your outfit. In the future they could discern emotion, and in turn react to the consumer’s mood. Let’s go one step further. Hooking up social media and your online purchase history to adverts would give the real insight into our minds that these virtual sales assistants need to make their pitch more personal.
NEC are confident in their A.I. signs released in Japan but Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt called facial recognition ‘creepy’. Privacy has been a core issue of controversy for advertising and social networking sites alike, but Amazon’s recommendations and Facebook’s adverts are both dipping into your personal information for marketing purposes and we’ve all grown accustom to it. I thought it would be amazing to have an advert refer to me by name and know what I’ve ‘Liked’ on Facebook but what if I joined the Twilight fan page ironically. Can strong A.I. understand sarcasm, would everyone be as overjoyed by a usually inanimate object talking to them? What if that billboard looked like a human, would that make the encounter anymore comfortable? Perhaps in time it will become the norm, we will grow accustomed to our digitised human advertisements.