AI/Voice trends

I was interviewed recently by The European Advertising Standards Alliance to offer my perspective on trends to look out for in 3 key areas of interest:

  1. Ethics (or “our devices are always listening!”)
  2. Milestones and trends
  3. Moonshots

Read the interview in full below:

Ethics (or “our devices are always listening!”): How should we set a trade-off between AI-enhanced creativity, ad delivery and privacy concerns? Do you see an imbalance in the way the technology and consumer behavior/reliance on automated tools is currently developing? How are the ethical dilemmas addressed by yourself or the industry actors you engage with? 

The platforms are increasingly being held to account and their architecture is built with this in mind.  These concerns are 100 fold with mobile phones which are also always listening plus measuring your every interaction and movement in many cases.  The utility far outweighs the ethical concerns for many and like it or not I expect that to be the case with voice.  We build everything in a GDPR compliant manner, employ a Data Protection Officer who manages our policies which are constantly under review. 

Milestones and trends: Looking one/two years back, could you pick up a case of AI / machine learning application in advertising which stands out as a “breakthrough” in your mind? What are the five trends in voice advertising (enhanced by AI) that everyone should keeping an eye on right now and/or looking ahead?

Richard Hill and the team at “Send Me A Sample” used the interest in voice technology to create a platform for brands to offer and consumers to request product samples.  We at Say It Now created a whisky tasting experience for Diageo’s brand Talisker to not only improve consideration at point of sale but to create brand advocates at home whilst discovering the nuances of the brand. 

Looking ahead the 5 trends we are most excited about are: 

  1. Service providers enabling voice assistants to use their services e.g. managing subscriptions of food delivery
  2. Improved discovery of third party skills and actions on voice assistants (Name Free Skill Invocation)
  3. Voice Commerce
  4. Digital Audio advertising experiences (engaging with ads using voice)
  5. Location aware voice services (in car and in ear buds)

Moonshots: Where do you expect and/or want to see AI and machine learning applications in voice advertising in the next year/ three years’ time? How can we get there? When will Alexa know that I am in the mood for some coconut mochi ice-cream today? 

The clue is in the name ‘Voice Assistant’ I really want to see us all treating our voice assistants like a real aid to our life.   There needs to be an increase in trust to get there but it is coming and events like coronavirus which has given people more time at home to try out new things with their voice assistant is only shifting behaviour faster. The test will be when we are regularly meaningfully delegating everyday tasks to our assistant without a thought:

For example “Alexa can you book us a babysitter for friday evening at 19:00?  Juliet is available, she last babysat for you on April 16th and you rated her 5 stars.   Yes that’s great.  All confirmed for Friday at 19:00.”

This is possible today and we are working hard to enable a raft of products and services to be engaged with in this manner

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