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AI in marketing: artificial, but not intelligent

Artificial intelligence is on everyone's lips. For some, artificial intelligence (AI) is the gateway to a blessed future of technology, for others the topic simply scares them.

Die Zeit writes: “Algorithms and artificial intelligence promise something impressive: a fairer, safer and more efficient world. You can judge in a less discriminatory way than a judge whether someone belongs in jail or not. They're sending the police where a crime is about to happen. And they solve tasks that are too complex for us humans. This is not science fiction, but everyday life in cities like New York. Modern technology should be the key to a better society there. "

The Süddeutsche seconded: “What actually is artificial intelligence? For some, it ensures that no one can win in chess and that cars drive autonomously, in short: intelligent machines mature into experts in various fields. For others it is the great job destruction machine of the future, which will make people superfluous, will be cognitively superior to them and thus ultimately rob them of their decision-making power. "

Human brains are lazy - a huge advantage over artificial intelligence. Because this has made them particularly efficient. AI, on the other hand, is just as stupid today as it was 50 years ago.

A punishing, merciless God
However, that doesn't help us to understand why almost everyone with high "Human Intelligence (MI)" warns us about AI. Stephen Hawking: "AI will replace humans as a whole." Mathematician Cathy O'Neil calls it: "Weapons of Math Destruction". For Frank Schätzing, AI is a “punishing, merciless God”. After Richard David Precht, Yuval Harari warns: “You can predict our decisions, predict our behavior and manipulate our desires.” And Elon Musk said at the Texas digital festival SXSW: “Mark my words - A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes. “One inevitably thinks of the Terminator and Skynet.

Last but not least - Big Data is ultimately the prerequisite for AI - the assessment of “Horizont” head reporter Jürgen Scharrer: “The decreasing radiance of brands is one of the dark chapters of Big Data Marketing.” And in his article entitled “Against the belief in algorithms in marketing ":" Big data has turned marketing, advertising and communication into a discipline that weighs tons and weighs heavily on our heads like reinforced concrete. "

So it sounds more like the disadvantages outweigh the disadvantages of big data and AI.

A lesson in buzz wording

When it comes to how and where AI can advance humanity, the disciplines of medicine and traffic planning are cited in a mantra. But marketing? Yes, but! The news has long been full of it: “Swedish distillery uses AI to create the perfect whiskey.” Saturn MediaMarkt: “Low prices thanks to AI.” Or Sixt: “Whoever buys at Chanel pays more at Sixt. However, one cannot say exactly which factor leads to which price, since the calculation is carried out by an artificial intelligence. ”At least the AI ​​Sixt provides a nice, albeit terribly bad excuse for the next price increases.

Neuralink reveals something exciting: The start-up from Elon Musk wants to equip the human brain with electrodes in order to increase its performance in the future. First, however, paraplegics should be helped.

The reality is terrifying

In fact, none of what is being described here in perfect marketing jargon has anything to do with artificial intelligence. For Mirko Holzer, founder of BrandMaker and an expert in marketing automation, almost everything that is called AI today is nothing more than relatively simple machine learning. Experts therefore call this "Artificial Narrow Intelligence" (ANI).

“Artificial General Intelligence” (AGI), on the other hand, is the intelligence of a machine that is able to learn intellectual tasks that previously only a human could do. Even the researchers are currently still at the experimental stage. And only “Artificial Superintelligence” (ASI) describes an intellect that is actually smarter than the best human brain. ASI includes scientific creativity and general wisdom as well as social skills. However, we are still miles away from that. Experts do not expect a breakthrough at ASI until 2045 at the earliest.

Companies have high hopes for the use of artificial intelligence in human resources. But it will take a long time to hire people because technology continues old mistakes.

If you look at reality, we are currently failing because of the comparatively simple machine learning. “The algorithms don't always work the way their developers planned,” writes journalist Benedikt Fuest: “They can even cause great damage, as terrifying examples show: Amazon had to switch off an AI, and the candidates for Amazon jobs based on their application documents should choose. The system had sorted out all women. Data journalists from the ProPublica project discovered a similar problem with an algorithm called Compas, which systematically assessed probation requests from black inmates in various US states as negative. "

Artificial, but not intelligent

In marketing, the highly misleading discussion about alleged AI is nothing more than a storm in a glass of water. Where marketers and advertisers bravely write “AI” on it, there is nothing more than an algorithm, at best machine learning. And we really can't even do that. Instead of fueling the buzz, education is needed. More transparency and knowledge would prevent some marketing managers from running into an open AI knife whose blades are still shockingly blunt.
All of this is not surprising, because only every fourth large company has an AI strategy or even an understandable definition for the mysterious AI.

German companies are dependent on giants from the USA and China for future technology. They can only become self-sufficient if politicians support small IT champions - or at least give them jobs.

A worried look into the future

What we absolutely have to worry about is the future. Mirko Holzer: “While the EU is discussing ethical and safe AI, the USA and China are creating thousands of start-up incubators and are thus maneuvering themselves to the fore in the development of artificial intelligence. Most of the leading AI companies are from the US and China. "

According to the futurist Amy Webb, only nine companies worldwide have the resources to develop “real” AI: Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and Tencent. If we generously include institutions like MIT, there are ten or twelve.

At least Germany is in charge of the creation of an ethical set of instruments for everything to do with AI: Prof. Dr. Alexander Filipovic, media ethicist at the University of Philosophy in Munich is currently working on an AI charter and wants to "set red lines" with it.

When the day comes when real AI finds its way into marketing, the next generation will probably have to look for another activity. Most of the tasks in marketing and advertising - graphics, text, media planning, and media buying - will be done by machines. Significantly, all jobs relating to all aspects of online marketing will be particularly affected. And it’s going to be fun to watch the tin heads, armed with their big data arsenals, beating each other’s heads in.

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