Artificial intelligence (AI) is a broad term that refers to the process and result of teaching machines to perform intelligent tasks. “Artificial intelligence,” far from being just a branch of computer science, is an umbrella that covers many different fields and technologies, including machine learning, deep learning and the programming of neural networks.
That means the field of AI is much more exciting than a simple definition. It also means that, for marketers and the public at large, the topic of AI is far more complex than most people realize.
Marketers who wish to learn about and leverage AI must build a solid foundation of the key concepts and topics within the fields that comprise artificial intelligence.
Because the topic is complicated, there is plenty of inaccurate or oversimplified information on the subject of artificial intelligence.
To give you a solid foundation from which to build your AI expertise, we’ve curated some of the best—and most accessible—resources on the subject.
Don’t Know Much About AI? Start Here
If you’re unfamiliar with AI beyond the initial definition we listed in the introduction of this post, start with the resources in this section, in the order provided.
- What is AI? We Drew You a Flowchart to Work it Out, MIT Technology Review (@techreview). Get some top-level definitions of AI to start, and see a helpful flowchart by Karen Hao to help you discern whether a technology actually uses AI. What You’ll Learn: A new framework to help you think critically about AI; a bookmark-able resource to refer back to whenever you see a new tech that's "powered by AI."
- Everything You Think You Know About AI Is Wrong, Washington Post (@washingtonpost). Artificial intelligence as a topic breeds excitement, fear and conspiracy theory in equal measure. Ground your understanding of AI with this article, which soberly dispels some of the rumors and projections about the subject. What You’ll Learn: Why the power of AI shouldn’t be feared, but must be respected; why AI is really a portfolio of many technologies.
- What Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Neural Network Actually Mean, The Verge (@verge). AI is really a collection of technologies, and this article defines some of the most important ones. No understanding of AI is complete without an understanding of the technologies mentioned here. What You’ll Learn: Evergreen definitions of machine learning, deep learning and neural networks.
- Artificial Intelligence Research Archives, IBM Watson (@IBMWatson). IBM is synonymous with AI. This site has seemingly endless content and something for everyone, from in-depth research to interesting blog posts and videos. What You’ll Learn: The blog covers AI's many applications in cross sections of society. Start to unpack the varied mind-blowing ways AI can improve our lives.
- Demis Hassabis on AI's Potential, The Economist (@TheEconomist). Demis Hassabis is one of the top minds in AI today. He explores the impact of human advances throughout history, comparing them in impactfulness to AI. What You'll Learn: Why Hassabis calls AI "the most important technology ever invented."
Once you’re up to speed, it’s time to talk shop—because AI is going to change marketing as we know it.
How AI Will Disrupt Marketing As We Know It
Hopefully, the articles in the first section have given you a healthy respect for AI’s disruptive potential across industries. Marketing is no exception, and the resources below will help you begin to understand how the industry changing thanks to AI.
- Report: Top 25 Use Cases for Marketing Artificial Intelligence, Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer). Have you started wondering if AI will impact your marketing job? It could. Find out how in this post with the top 25 use cases for AI in marketing today. What You’ll Learn: How to rate AI use cases; how other marketing professionals see AI changing the industry.
- The Next Word: Where Will Predictive Text Take Us?, The New Yorker (@NewYorker). Can a machine learn to write for a newspaper, magazine, or blog? This article dives into how machines are increasingly being used to predict what we'll write and say next. What You'll Learn: How exactly AI learns to complete your sentences; AI's limitations and potential for content production.
- AI Deep Dive, Salesforce (@salesforce). After announcing Einstein, Salesforce’s AI component, the company went all-in on the technology. This helpful FAQ describes key AI terms, as well as how AI is impact sales and marketing. What You’ll Learn: How AI, machine learning and deep learning will affect businesses.
You’ve learned about a powerful new technology. You’ve studied what it means for marketers. Now, it’s time to jump fully down the rabbit hole.
Go Deeper on Artificial Intelligence
With a healthy understanding of AI’s potential, marketers can transform their companies and careers. To gain that understanding, it’s necessary to go deep on some of the “Big Ideas” in artificial intelligence. Below are resources used by some of the world’s sharpest thinkers to better understand AI.
- The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence, Tim Urban (@waitbutwhy). The writer of this article, Tim Urban, is so good at explaining intricate topics that Elon Musk invited him to SpaceX after Urban wrote an article about efforts to reach Mars. Here, he turns his scalpel of a mind to AI, explaining how it works, how AI technologies may develop at an exponential rate, and how better-than-human minds could feasibly come into being. What You’ll Learn: What AI can and cannot currently do; why many experts think AI will develop much faster than past inventions; and the vast implications of AI’s aggressive development.
- The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It, Scott Patterson (@pattersonscott). A highly readable introduction to how algorithms and automation can massively disrupt even the most complex industries. In this case, author Scott Patterson details how AI took over Wall Street, but in doing so shows us how the technology can change business as usual in other industries nearly overnight. What You’ll Learn: How even simple algorithms can create massive wealth and disruption; how AI is guaranteed to disrupt an industry near you.
- The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World, Pedro Domingos (@pmddomingos). This book details the different schools of thought around various algorithms and how, together, they comprise the bulk of AI technology. Even more exciting is discussion of a “master algorithm” that may help all these disciplines work together to build artificially intelligent solutions for the world’s most challenging problems. What You’ll Learn: What different types of algorithms do; the future potential of machine learning; how the search for a master algorithm will revolutionize learning as we know it.
Bonus Resource: Learn AI for Marketing From the Experts at Your Own Pace
- AI Academy for Marketers, Marketing AI Institute (@MktgAi). This is an online education platform for marketers who want to understand, pilot and scale artificial intelligence. You get unlimited access to more than 25 Courses and Certificates. What You'll Learn: Deep dives on disciplines within AI from top authors and speakers; Real use cases for piloting AI in your organization; What the Academy community is discussing in the exclusive online group for you and your peers.
As Chief Content Officer, Mike Kaput uses content marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing technology to grow and scale traffic, leads, and revenue for Marketing AI Institute. Mike is the co-author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing and the Future of Business (Matt Holt Books, 2022). See Mike's full bio.