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Marketing AI Today: 3 Links in 3 Minutes (Feb. 7, 2018)

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At the Marketing AI Institute, we read dozens of articles on artificial intelligence every week to uncover the most valuable ones for our subscribers (become a subscriber today), and we curate them for you here. We call it 3 Links in 3 Minutes. Enjoy!

1. A New $175-Million Fund Just For AI

Last month, Andrew Ng, a globally recognized leader in AI, took to Medium to share some groundbreaking news for the future of artificial intelligence. Ng wants to speed up the creation of AI businesses, so he and his partners, Eva Wang and Steven Syverud, have officially formed the AI Fund. This non-traditional venture fund hopes to introduce more individuals to the field of AI and ultimately build an AI-powered society. Thanks to investors NEA, Sequoia, Greylock Partners, the SoftBank Group and others, the fund has already raised $175 million.

Artificial intelligence is beginning to transform nearly every industry. Ng echoes Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s belief that AI is as transformative as electricity:

“In the early days of electricity, much of the innovation centered around slightly different improvements in lighting. While this was an important foundation, the really transformative applications, in which electric power spurred massive redesigns in multiple industries, took longer to be grasped. AI is the new electricity, and is at a similar inflection point.”

As former Chief Scientist for the AI Group at Baidu, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, Ng was responsible for building teams to explore new AI directions and systematically assessing their potential to grow into profitable businesses. Ng realized the need for a systematic and repeatable process to pursue new AI opportunities and, with that, the AI Fund was born.

The AI Fund plans to pursue three new AI-powered directions and provide additional capital to promising projects, enabling them to move quickly towards becoming a business without the headache of fundraising.

“A difference of six months can determine whether a new AI solution takes off or is too far behind to catch up, so we’re setting up the AI Fund to let our teams move as quickly as possible. It also allows our teams to publicize their work only when they are ready.”

2. Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba has joined the race to develop AI that can personalize users’ news feeds, ads, social media and more. However, according to Bloomberg Technology, as of January 5th, Alibaba took the lead with a model that can outperform humans in a standardized reading test.

Considered the world’s most accurate gauge for machine reading, the Stanford Question Answering Dataset requires machines to read, comprehend and correctly answer over 100,000 questions from 500+ Wikipedia articles. To be successful, models must use machine learning to accurately process large amounts of data and answer queries precisely.

Currently, human performance is scored at 82.304 and the system developed by Alibaba scored an 82.44. This is the first time in history that a machine has ever outperformed a human in the area of reading comprehension.

“The technology underneath can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way,” says Alibaba.

3. Will Work For Leads

A recent Bizztor article shared that 80% of companies surveyed by the Aberdeen Group believe that artificial intelligence will change the marketing industry in years to come. This is in direct correlation with the positive effects businesses have already experienced since implementing AI, such as a 58% increase in revenue, 54% more traffic engagement and 52% higher conversions.

There are already a handful of AI tools being used by marketers to increase efficiency and operations. Moving forward, the more data businesses are able to collect and feed their AI tools, the bigger an impact they will see.

One area of marketing that will be greatly affected by AI is lead generation. Through machine learning, systems are able to not only crawl and comprehend thousands of pieces of raw contact data, but they are able to identify which contacts have the highest rate of becoming MQLs and SQLs based on previous customer conversions. Specifically, AI tool Netra scans social media interactions to provide insights on customer interests and AI solution CaliberMind predicts customers’ purchasing habits by analyzing raw data from CRM, marketing automation and social media.

In addition to better understanding leads, AI tools can help marketers convert leads to sales. Using predictive data, AI can target businesses and customers on a 1-to-1 basis instead of as an entire demographic or sector, increasing the relevance of lead generation campaigns. For example, using Optimove’s AI, online lingerie brand Adore Me has doubled its active customer base and increased its monthly recurring revenue by segmenting and contacting customers on different platforms.

Lastly, marketers can decrease the cost of campaigns by using AI to optimize content based on customer engagement. By doing so, brands are able to reach more specific target markets with messaging that resonates. Last year, advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi trained IBM Watson to write thousands of ads for Toyota’s Mirai model, each personalized to specific buyer types at various stages in the buyer journey, increasing the number of engaged buyers and lowering costs per click.

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