It doesn't take artificial intelligence or native smarts to realize an increase of 300% in A.I. investment is a pretty big bump. But Forrester Research probably isn't going out on a limb predicting that artificial intelligence will be a hot investment category in 2017.
It's already been a big deal. In 2015, this Bloomberg article went into detail about the recent acceleration in A.I. startup funding.
But a jump of 300% in a single year? That's a pretty good sign that everybody's jumping on board this particular bandwagon. Because at some point, you realize you can't afford to get left behind.
Having worked with a number of A.I. developers, most notably the fine folks at Mariana, I've seen how machine learning will profoundly impact every aspect of marketing and engagement, from lead generation and sales to CRM and customer service.
We've heard all the talk about how A.I. and the Internet of Things will make everything in our lives, from our cars to our kitchen appliances, "smart."
But here's what marketers need to bear in mind about this shift: Like prior tech revolutions, it'll leave many competitors in the dust, agencies and clients alike. As the story points out:
Businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to uncover new business insights “will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020.”
A.I. will certainly upend how content marketers go about their business. It's a bit disturbing, for instance, to read about outfits like Articoolo, the Israeli firm that's developing an A.I. platform for writing content.
But then again, whatever a machine writes can't be any worse than some of the craptent glutting the interwebs already, for which human beings bear sole responsibility.
Marketers can't afford to ignore what's coming. You're either able to embrace change or become its victim.
Don Draper may have had his qualms about the IBM 360, but data-driven analytics propelled advertising out of the buggy-whip era, for better or worse.
There are always leaders and losers, and the sooner we each begin to know and leverage the potential of A.I. for marketing, the more likely we are to survive the shakeout. Because it's coming.
As for me? I'm going to go make friends with my toaster.