For several years I’ve served on the business council for Glasswing, an early stage venture firm focused on AI and frontier tech. Working with Glasswing has broadened my knowledge of where AI is currently viable, particularly its application under the hood in marketing technology. Three takeaways from their recent annual summit at MIT Media Lab:
- AI ethics are top of mind everywhere. Forget self-driving cars: Specific applications of AI in job candidate screening, loan approval, and security protocols require clear guidelines and transparency. An important caveat is that we should measure the risks of AI against what we have today versus an ideal world scenario: existing human systems are not free of bias.
- AI expertise is largely missing in the boardroom. Many startups selling into the enterprise are working with innovative business unit, IT, or marketing leads who are driving execution but in need of a champion at the board level. Without board understanding and stewardship, application of AI risks being piecemeal rather than strategic.
- AI wins specific to marketing today include accelerated customer support interactions that also boost human capacity, analytics that generate insights from your customer data platform, and budget planning and management. What I’m still waiting for: uses of AI that amplify the creativity in marketing, speeding time to launch campaigns and evolve as they go.
Like the early days of the internet, there are some companies already deeply transformed, recognizing revenue wins and costs savings while many others mired in PowerPoint decks outlining the AI opportunity. Here’s hoping the AI future — from transformational benefits to informed governance — soon becomes more evenly distributed.
Last modified: June 30, 2019