There have been so many advances over the past year in computer evolved “learning”; or in reality, a computer’s ability to crunch mass amounts of data, devise a strategy to segment this data against a formula, and output accordingly. No matter how you care to look at it, computers are becoming extremely intelligent. I think we are still some ways off from Terminator type global intelligence, but from a digital marketing perspective I can faintly see an SEO Skynet evolving or at least a battle on the horizon.
In an article published in The Guardian earlier this year, Jonathan Holmes wrote about AI in journalism which was a bit of an eye opener for me.
“A machine will win a Pulitzer one day,” predicts Kris Hammond from Narrative Science, a company that specialises in “natural language generation”. “We can tell the stories hidden in data.”
Recent advances mean that AI can now write readable, flowing copy, and churn out repetitive articles faster than the most caffeinated hack.
Tron Media spends a laborious amount of time researching data, keywords, demographics etc. to be able to deliver great content of different lengths for various uses, predominantly for SEO purposes. Content is still King no matter how you boil it down and the search algorithms are excellent at reading that content which we all know has a direct effect on SERP.
With Google’s acquisition of DeepMind in 2014 I would believe that they are far beyond others in the arena of actual AI development. They have amassed an overwhelming amount of R&D in the process and development of algorithm technology and vase live testing ability; combine their unlimited tech capacity and almost unlimited resources with some of the best and brightest minds and you have a clear recipe for success. They have been methodically bringing stand-alone algorithms under the core algorithm which implies that it is learning and developing, the latest being Penguin (as far as we’re publically aware at least). Self-programing (aware) algorithms? Probably to a degree.
I do not see us reducing our editorial staff anytime soon but all of us involved with strategy, looking to get the best results for our clients, can readily see the huge implications this will have on content and how it will be served up dynamically and in almost real-time. It would appear that we are not far off one algorithm feeding another and being able to anticipate how to react. Eventually we will have an elite company or organizations with the ability to start producing AI content which is precisely tailored to search algorithms. In theory, the AI will learn as fast as and be able to anticipate the SERP algorithm. Will this render rich, dynamic content creation futile?
We are not quite at the Skynet level yet, but it is food for thought as the technology is here. I am a bit on the fence about this as it is not just ranking of someone selling through their online store but also Social ranking, Blog ranking, news ranking. AI content creation could predict how and when to produce news worthy content based on social threads, search criteria and other live sources and produce content, be it true or false, to sway opinion or plant ideas. I am certainly not a conspiracy theorist but given the recent upheavals with Facebook and bogus new content we can see a dangerous trend. Perhaps it will be a unique future selling point for Tron Media that we have actual people producing content for our clients.
The best thing about being involved with digital marketing is that you must be constantly learning and your company needs to be evolving – always looking at best practice and in a lot of cases, as with traditional marketing, looking to the ethical high-road. Are we going to lose something with automated AI content? Perhaps, but from the tech standpoint it is pretty cool.