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Powerful Advice for Marketers on AI from a Serial Tech Entrepreneur

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Screen Shot 2021-06-15 at 9.48.04 AMThis post is part of our AI Experts Series, which profiles leaders whose insights can help expand your understanding of artificial intelligence and how to apply it to advance your business and career.
Today's spotlight features Zeze Peters, CEO and founder of AI advertising company Beam.city.

AI + You

In a single sentence or statement, tell us what you do.

I’m the CEO of Beam.city, a platform that aggregates and optimizes performance on multiple ads platforms using AI.

How do you define AI? (Or, what’s your favorite definition of AI?)

Artificial intelligence means a system able to act and adapt to its work.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has stated that, “AI is probably the most profound thing humanity has ever worked on.” Do you agree? Why, or why not?

I do not agree. I believe electrical power transmission and storage take that prize. Why? Energy storage and utilization, and not computational capacity, has proven to be the defining root capability of any advanced civilization: no electricity, no modern civilization, no modern AI.

How did you get started in AI?

My first foray into AI was in video game development before I went to university. 

While at university, I studied robotics and electronic systems and learned how to build neural networks, back-propagation systems, and a myriad of other now mainstream methods.

"Artificial intelligence means a system able to act and adapt to its work."

What’s your favorite example of AI in your daily life that most consumers take for granted, or don't even realize is made possible by AI?

Ads on most websites are driven by intelligent systems fashioned for that purpose. 

What excites you most about AI?

The ability for AI to help teams of all sizes scale to the moment in all facets of advertising. 

Humans can teach AI the basics (the baseline) about their business and goals, and over time it will extrapolate to all known/knowable facets of their strategy. It won't just recommend actions but actually execute said actions with confidence. 

This can cut out click fraud, poor targeting, poorly interpreted data, and all other ways humans get overwhelmed. 

What worries you most about AI? How could it go wrong?

When too few people understand how AI works, it becomes open for abuse and misuse with massive repercussions for companies and even our human societies. We do not actively analyze or learn from environments that fast, so it's easy to "cheat." The only way to beat such a system is with a heroic AI, but the villains typically appear first. 

What do you think is the biggest misconception about AI?

Many people think AIs are generally smart and stable. Most AIs are actually quite brittle and not built with resilience and flexibility.

What skill or trait do you believe has the greatest chance to remain uniquely human for the foreseeable future?

Self-directed product innovation and empathy.

Who has the greatest influence on how you think about AI and the future?

Me. I do not follow any AI prophets/experts. I think that will pigeonhole my learning and ability to apply AI to various problems. 

What is a recent advance in AI that blew your mind?

The application of AI to learning the intent of monkeys as trained by Neuralink. While theoretically this has been a possibility for decades, no one funded a potential real-world rollout of such technology. I’m truly excited about our incoming monkey overlords. 

"Many people think AIs are generally smart and stable. Most AIs are actually quite brittle and not built with resilience and flexibility."

If you were entering college, knowing what you know now, what would you study?

The same things. Robotics and aerospace engineering.

If you were the dean of a business school, what is one thing you would do right now to start better preparing students for the intelligently automated future?

Add a course in syntactic programming and statistics, and ensure B-school kids spend at least 30% of their time with engineers. This way, both groups can understand and work together better.


Marketing + AI

What advice would you give to marketers looking to pilot AI in their organizations?

Start before it's too late. Don't be afraid to experiment for a short period of time. 

What is the biggest challenge marketers should plan for as they scale AI?

Lack of understanding of what the AI is doing. AIs can frequently be black boxes, so marketers should optimize for their ability to see what decisions an active AI makes and why. 

What question(s) would you advise marketers ask vendors who claim to have AI-powered technology?

Does your AI act for me or give recommendations? 

Hint: Recommendation engines do not maximize your outcomes. 

What percentage of marketing tasks will be intelligently automated to some degree in the next five years?

  • 0%
  • 1 – 10%
  • 11 – 25%
  • 26 – 50%
  • 51 – 75%
  • 76 – 99%
  • 100%

Which three marketing categories will experience the greatest disruption from intelligent automation in the next five years?

  • Account-Based Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Analytics
  • Communications
  • Content Marketing
  • Conversational
  • Customer Service
  • Data Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Research
  • Sales
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Strategy

What’s one marketing job you see AI fully automating and eliminating in the next five years?

None. Creatives and media buyers are in for a massive productivity boost, though.

What’s one marketing job you see AI creating that doesn't exist today?

Marketing strategist or marketing architect.

What can marketers do to ensure the ethical use of AI in their marketing?

Take courses in ethics and create standard operating procedures to review all outcomes at least monthly.

How can brands achieve personalization without invading privacy?

They need to adopt a strategy of defining or discovering customers based on personas intent for their products. There are huge numbers of people who need solutions to problems but approach them in different ways based on their persona and intent.

How can brands become more human as they intelligently automate tasks and roles?

This is where the marketing architect I previously mentioned comes in. They can help brands think through the outputs in some key scenarios and allow the AIs to extrapolate to fill in the blanks but using the same tone and message. 

"Start before it's too late. Don't be afraid to experiment for a short period of time."

Rapid Fire

Voice assistant you use the most?

  • Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Siri
  • Don’t use voice assistants
  • Other: Cable TV Remote

More valuable in 10 years?

  • Liberal arts degree
  • Computer science degree

First publicly traded TECHNOLOGY company to reach $3 trillion market cap?

  • Alphabet 
  • Amazon 
  • Apple 
  • Facebook 
  • Microsoft 
  • Tesla 
  • Other

Preferred cloud for building AI solutions?

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Don’t use or prefer any of them
  • Other

Best guess, how long until we achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI)?

  • 1 – 5 years
  • 6 – 10 years
  • 11 – 20 years
  • 21 – 50 years
  • 51+ years
  • Never

Net effect over the next decade?

  • More jobs eliminated by AI
  • More jobs created by AI
  • AI won’t have a meaningful impact on jobs
    • AIs don't cause job-loss per se. Managers do. 

Favorite AI movie?

TV Show: Love, Death and Robots.

Favorite AI book?

The Best of the Bolos: Their Finest Hour.

Favorite AI-powered marketing technology your company uses that regularly reduces costs and/or increases revenue?

Beam.city DNA: aggregated ads publishing and AI-driven optimization with little human oversight.

Favorite piece of AI content you've created that you'd like to share with our readers? Include any relevant links.

Coming soon! See us at MAICON.


Final Thoughts

Any final thoughts on AI for our readers?

Do not get left behind as the world adopts AI technology in all sectors. Read up and take courses to stay on the edge of the data revolution, with AI as your guide.

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