Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gradually being used for different business needs. Thus, more discussions are happening around the opportunities and challenges of its use.

On February 26, 2020, TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario hosted the “Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence” event at The Factory.

This panel discussion was hosted by Christina Fox, CEO of Techalliance, with guest speakers as follows:

  • Anna Foat, Director of Global Digital Transformation Office at Sun Life Financial,
  • Dan Sinai, Senior Innovation Leader and Executive Director – Canada Research and Development Centre at IBM Canada Ltd;
  • Tyler Bryden, Founder of Speak AI, and Corporate Trainer & Curriculum Developer at Fanshawe College, and
  • Mike Picard, Founder and CTO of EzoTech.

While the talk explored the use of artificial intelligence in general for business, this post will focus on points related to marketing.

Photo of guest speakers and host of AI panel discussion

L-R: Dan Sinai, Mike Picard, Christina Fox of Techalliance, Anna Fort and Tyler Bryden.

Positive uses of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

The time when artificial intelligence (AI) will take over human activities is not even close. However, the augmented use of it is a reality for business, and marketing.

“Marketing and selling is driving automation.” – Tyler Bryden

Currently, AI allows for automated interactions with consumers. For example, social media platforms use artificial intelligence to deliver personalized content.  The event’s speakers mentioned:

  • Responding to customer inquiries quickly by intelligent virtual assistants and agents such as chatbots.
  • Collect keywords from conversations with customers to create personalized messages and advertisements.

Challenges to implementing Artificial Intelligence

Despite many options for using artificial intelligence in business, the conversation indicated several hurdles must be overcome, particularly bias. (A message amplified with a view of climbing ropes behind the speakers.) Most related to the balancing the power of technology with business ethics as follows:

  • Unconscious judgement of developers could influence and create inaccurate AI decisions. The results would be hard for businesses to explain to customers.
  • Data sets are often too small and inaccurate as
    • historical data provides context though often unstructured, and
    • individuals provide little or even false information to protect their privacy.
  • Consistent monitoring is required as well as policies and procedures to deal with the risk of database breach and loss of consent. 

Artificially Intelligent Marketing needs to be managed

Our key takeaway from the discussion was that the use of artificial intelligence is highly dependent on what data is used to develop the algorithm.

“Know what problem that your data will solve – either making or saving money – then build around that.” – Dan Sinai

Having accurate and unbiased data is vital to the success of marketing campaigns and advertisements. Efforts should be based on what we know about our consumers – using market segmentation and personas – more than assumptions and predictions.

If we begin with flawed data then we must understand how human bias will influence the customer’s experience, and thus, impact the use of artificial intelligence for marketing.


Comment below on the ways you have thought to use Artificial Intelligence in your business.

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