Friday Five

Friday Five on AI – @Pichai on #AIFirst, #AIMyths, #CX, #DigitalTransformation

Welcome to our Friday Five hot topics on AI from this week. Think of this as that TL;DR of those stories you meant to read or might have missed.

Sundar Pichai says the future of Google is AI. But can he fix the algoritm?

‘One of the most exciting thing we all can do is demystify machine learning and AI’ – Sundar Pichai

Most executives talk about AI like it’s just another thing that’s included in the box or in its cloud; But Pichai is intent on pressing Google’s advantage in AI — by making products that are themselves inspired by AI.

We at Blueshift resonate with Pichai in being inspired by AI and not making it just a check box More on Google’s vision for AI.

5 Myths About Artificial Intelligence (AI) You Must Stop Believing

Something that particularly caught my attention, and hits the nail on its head is Myth#4.

Myth #4: Artificial intelligence will quickly overtake and outpace human intelligence

In some, for example speed of calculations or capacity for recall computers already far outpace us, while in others, such as creative ability, emotional intelligence (such as empathy) and strategic thinking, they are still nowhere near and aren’t likely to be any time soon.

In fact AI should be used as a tool to simplify complex tasks, so humans can focus on creativity and strategic thinking. Isn’t that what marketers and product teams are best at? Check out your other myths about AI in this Forbes article.

How these 5 technologies are improving the customer experience journey

A customer is one of the most crucial aspects of a business enterprise.

Bingo! Chatbots, Big data analytics, AI, Virtual Reality and ioT are transforming every domain in the customer experience. Several businesses are seeing results from their investments. Are you poised to leverage these technologies? Read more on how these technologies can enhance customer experience

How Will Digital Transformation Change the Marketing Funnel?

Digital transformation has changed the roles in the funnel. In fact, I would argue that we are moving away from a funnel based marketing to a customer journey based marketing, especially in B2C.

80% of revenue comes from 20 percent of the prospects, and 80 percent of the pipeline comes from 20% of the campaigns. Predictive analysis like AI identifies the 20 percent.

Technology has introduced new kinds of marketing tools that take the guesswork and grunt work out of marketing. See how AI is transforming and personalizing experiences for customers at different stages.

AI set to dominate agenda at Money20/20

And finally, we were in the news this week. Here’s an in-depth interview with our CEO, Vijay Chittoor on how Blueshift was built with AI at its core to solve marketer’s challenges:

For banks looking to differentiate themselves, providing good customer experience is essential — but not always easy. Retail banking is on the cusp of an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven revolution.

Curious to see more from Money 20/20 happening at the end of this month in Europe as they are devoting a significant time for AI on the agenda.

Friday Five

Friday Five – #AImyths, #DigitalTransformation, #BlueShiftNews, @BillGates and @Zuckerberg on #AI, #HitRefresh

Welcome to our Friday Five. Each week, our goal is to give you a run-down on 5 of the top stories on the topic of AI in Marketing. Think of this as that TL;DR of those stories you meant to read or might have missed.

Busting AI myths: Why AI will help marketers usher in an era of extreme personalization

“Dear [FIRST NAME], thank you for your order. From here, you will be endlessly spammed without any attempt to get to know your shopping or engagement preferences.”

Is this the kind of personalization today’s customers are demanding? Customers today expect you to understand not only what they viewed and purchased, but also what they would like to see next. They are used to a Netflix-like experience and expect the same from you. Artificial Intelligence equips marketers with the ability to provide that level of personalization.

Are you on the fence about AI? Does it cause anxiety for you? Here are some thoughts from @Brian Solis to bust your myths and show how AI helps marketers meet today’s personalization needs.

Why Artificial Intelligence Will Stimulate Demand For Skilled Thinkers

Caught up on Satya Nadella’s book, Hit Refresh? If so, then you probably read what Bill Gates says in the foreword.

“Think of all the time we spend manually organizing and performing mundane activities, from scheduling meetings to paying the bills. In the future, an AI agent will know that you are at work and have ten minutes free, and then help you accomplish something that is high on your to-do list. AI is on the verge of making our lives more productive and creative.” – Bill Gates

While many express concerns that AI will take away jobs, here’s a perspective on how AI in fact stimulates demand for strategic thinking and storytelling.

AI shouldn’t give you anxiety, it should instill you with excitement.

Artificial Intelligence Is Our Future. But Will It Save Or Destroy Humanity?

From The Matrix toI, Robot, movies have exploited viewers’ anxiety around AI. Zuckerberg is optimistic about what AI will enable us to accomplish and thinks that these unsubstantiated doomsday scenarios are nothing more than fear-mongering.

Whether things like what we see in the Netflix show #BlackMirror are on the horizon or not, AI is definitely disrupting our everyday lives. This article gives the lay of the land on both sides. Some food for thought on a Friday afternoon.

Is digital transformation a fad or friend?

There is a lot of talk about digital transformation and how it is important across different industries to be successful in future. But lots of questions on the minds of executives, including who owns this transformation?

Digital transformation is not just IT. Companies with technology at their core often don’t have an IT department at all. Data holds the key to many operational and opportunistic decisions, but many feel hamstrung by legacy technology and those without restraints are set to take an early lead.

Read these takeaways from an executive lunch at Retail Week Tech on what Digital Transformation means.

Blueshift: The Tech Startup Using A.I. To Shift How Marketers Engage Consumers

And finally, we were in the news this week. Here’s an in-depth interview with our CEO, Vijay Chittoor on how Blueshift was built with AI at its core to solve marketer’s challenges:

“In today’s world, the challenge is around scaling the storytelling to millions of customers in a personalized manner. Blueshift helps marketers become storytellers once again, and uses the power of AI to help scale the stories to millions of personalized versions.”– Vijay Chittoor, CEO, BlueShift

Read more on Forbes, Blueshift: The Tech Startup Using A.I. To Shift How Marketers Engage Consumers.

Holiday Season

Personalization Will Make or Break Holiday Season Campaigns

Customers demand respect from retailers. They ask simply for organizations to remember who they are as an individual consumer from a transaction and a behavioral perspective — otherwise, they are likely to purchase less frequently, or, more than likely, churn to a competitor who does understand them and communicate with them better at that individual level.

Personalize, personalize, personalize!

This has been the mantra of marketers looking to communicate with their customers at a highly relevant and engaging way. According to the latest report by Accenture covered by MediaPost:

  • 56% of respondents acknowledged they were more likely to shop at a retailer that recognized them by name
  • 65% of consumers expressed a preference for retailers that remembered their purchase history
  • 58% of respondents were more likely to shop at stores that offered relevant recommendations based on past purchases or preferences



The need for smarter cross-channel personalization…

It’s important to point out that marketers are being asked to personalize across all channels, not just one or two. In fact, as the Accenture report highlighted, less than 50% of consumers completed a purchased based on an on-site product recommendation. The perpetually connected consumer now enters the buying cycle from a number of channels and touch points: email, Facebook, SMS, mobile push notifications, in-app personalizations, and numerous others.

And forget about flooding a consumer with a higher number of product recommendations. The “Quantity over Quality” tactic is similar to annoying batch and blast techniques used within emails by out-of-touch marketers. Filling a page or a communication with a dizzying number of recommendations only annoys and splits the buyers attention away from products that they are more likely to purchase. According to the report, almost 40% of respondents admitted to abandoning an online shopping experience altogether because of an overwhelming choice of recommendations

The “Burden of Choice” is in the hands of the brand. Brands must serve only the best recommendations to the right person built through predictive algorithms that sift through the dozens or even hundreds of “best products” that could be delivered to the consumer and transform that into the best few.

Read the full article on MediaPost.



Obama on Technology, AI and an Optimistic Future

President Obama chatting with Ito and Scott Dadich

President Obama chatting with Ito and Scott Dadich

“This year, Artificial Intelligence will become more than just a computer science problem. Everybody need to understand how A.I. behaves.”

Recent advances in computer science and AI (more specifically advances in building and running large convolutional neural networks) have given a fresh fodder to the age old debate on how technology is replacing workers and making us all obsolete. The current political climate only amplifies the anxiety and generates FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about our collective future. So it’s very refreshing to see President Obama re-framing the discussion in this Wired article and talking about common humanity and a confidence in our ability to solve problems. If one can ignore the media hype and peek below the surface there are real opportunities to build solutions to many seemingly intractable problems.

Machine learning, data mining and deep learning techniques can nudge us to lead healthier lives, change our habits and build stronger communities. Imagine AI powered tools that remind us in context of whatever we are doing in our daily lives to consider factors that we may have missed, overcome biases in thinking fast and slow, present information in ways that helps us build better financial portfolios that are in our long term interests, prevents us from being defrauded or phished or scammed online, helps us communicate with every one one the planet crossing language boundaries and more. That’s the optimistic future we can aspire to and it’s refreshing to see this possibility being talked about.

President Obama chatting with Ito and Scott Dadich

Read the full article on