Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

20th October 2017

This week I attended a great WARC mini-conference on Machine Learning. The highlight was a joint session hosted by Mindshare and JWT, highlighting their Speak Easy research around Voice Tech. The full report can be downloaded here. Perhaps one of the most alarming aspects is the rise of the virtual assistant, similar to the one played by Scarlet Johannsson in Her. We were introduced to ‘Hikari’, who is a female hologram and personal assistant  – targeted at single young men in Japan.

Artificial Intelligence may one day rule the world, but to get there it will need human help to develop a coherent decision making process. Take this automotive example : ‘In each grisly permutation, the Moral Machineinvited visitors to cast a vote about who the vehicle should kill.’ In order to teach computers (like autonomous cars) how to react, we need to figure out what the average human would do.

Interesting development for display targeting as advertisers start placing paid media behind influencer content for lower CPMs.

This is rather wonderful – James Vlahos’ story of how he recorded hours and hours—nearly a hundred thousand words’ worth—of his father speaking. When his father died, he tried to rebuild him as a chatbot. ‘It’s a story about where life ends and technology begins, and it is beautiful.’

Interbrand’s Global Brand Rankings for 2017. Featuring the usual suspects but the report (free to download) features some developing trends and challenges; including ‘a focus on clarity of brand purpose’, ‘social responsibility’, and ‘design as a catalyst for integration and better performance.’

A couple of my pieces on the Econsultancy blog this week – Why digital out-of-home advertising is not really digital (yet) and The changing face of consumer trust and the implications for marketers.

From an interesting new book : Signs of Life: Why Brands Matter – an intriguing and controversial perspective on branding. ‘So a brand is rather a complicated entity involving many of the absurdities and appetites that define existence itself. A brand is a collaboration between consumer and producer in a piece of theatre: playwright and actor working on an agreed script… By making tobacco companies follow strict packaging restrictions, we’re paving the way to a future where brands no longer reflect our lifestyles.’

“A lot of work left to do”: A handful of publishers argued a few years ago for selling ads based on readers’ time rather than impressions. But time-based ad sales still haven’t gained traction.

One of the positive claims for Uber is that it enables people to ditch their cars and thus reduces pressure on transit systems. Contrary to this suggestion, this piece of research implies that Uber and the like, could actually make traffic worse. ‘Many…trips additionally require drivers to cruise around waiting for rides, and to “deadhead” occasionally after the rides are over (to return to, say, the airport with an empty back seat).’

If your Amazon package is damaged, this could be why. Love this idea from Adobe, providing a nice perspective on how (some) Ad Agency creative departments work – Keep Up With Hovering Art Directors. And finally, I challenge you to remained unmoved, as this baby hears for the first time and doesn’t know what emotion to feel.