Machine Learning & BlockChains: A Cutting Edge Innovation to Digital Advertising

Post contributed by:

Kotryna Gasiunaite, Product Manager – Emerging Technologies

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as intelligence that is portrayed by machines. AI enables machines to perform cognitive tasks that are typically done by humans. However, much of what we see in the sci-fi movies is what scientist have been exploring since the 1950s. No doubt, much innovation has happened within the sector of Machine Learning and Deep Learning, which are segments of AI. While much innovation has to continue while AI is able to debut itself fully within digital advertising, its early onset and testing is well underway. Similarly, blockchain protocol aims to improve the landscape by proving transparency and streamline the supply chain efficiency.

Today, there are thousands of brands that have used machine learning to provide better customer experiences. Marketers and advertisers have realized the potential of big data and machine learning algorithms as a tool for improving their campaigns’ effectiveness. Though some brands remain uncertain about the impact of artificial intelligence in the immediate future, the possibilities have started to fuel exploration and investments in several new ventures with the digital advertising industry. However, the technological and talent pool shortage has slowed down the progression beyond its current exploration phase.

AI: Automated content creation

Several companies are using natural language generation or NLG to tell their data-driven stories faster than normal human beings. Natural language generation uses human-designed algorithms to parse data as well as to convert it into readable copies. For instance, some e-commerce firms are using artificial intelligence to come up with product descriptions. Real estate agencies are also using AI to create property listings. That means these companies don’t have to struggle with writers that compromise the quality of their content. That’s because AI enables them to create automated, high quality content. Additionally, this technology is more cost-effective and it can be used by in-house advertisers and marketers to write descriptions instead of hiring freelancers.

Basically, NLG enables advertisers or marketers to use their data to automatically create content. This enables them to write many stories within minutes and use them to attract exponential traffic and generate more leads and increase sales for fewer or same resources.

Improved customer experience

Global spending on cognitive systems is expected to hit $31.3 billion by 2019. In fact, some experts say that artificial intelligence might double the rates of economic growth by 2035 while boosting labor productivity by up to 40%. Although there is the lure of the cost-savings that artificial intelligence brings to businesses, the major goal for advertisers and marketers is to ensure that their brand experience is more predictive and personalized. Perhaps, that’s because redesigning a digital experience or making over a site or an app is one thing and adding cognitive computing and thinking power into the embedded experiences is another.

Mona Lisa is Gravity4’s public face for artificial intelligence, similar to IBM’s Watson. It is a cloud-based cognitive engine for digital marketing platform, programmed with the capacity to thinking like a human media analyst. Mona Lisa uses machine learning and natural language processing to enable brands to have one-to-one, relevant consumer to brand experiences. The data harnessed and utilized is on the basis of product and new consumer insights.

MonaLisa: AI
Gravity4: AI & BlockChain

AdTech: BlockChain

For the past several years, adtech has been battling ad fraud ranging from: incorrect counting, ad viewability, discrepancies, just to name but a few venues. In EU, we have pending GDPR deadline fast approaching on top of that, to ensure brand ads are placed on safe sites. While AI will no doubt help with this, there are innovations that Gravity4 has been working on. Aside from the upcoming announcements from the Gravity4 Labs team, my team has been working on the blockchain as a venue to bring transparency to the digital marketing platform.

While some countries are still light years behind in the blockchain discovery, one study states, 14% of financial market institutions intend to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain-based services by this year, while adoption of 65% to follow by 2020. It is reassuring to see the FDA and IBM’s Watson Health explore not just the financial sectors for blockchains, but also within the health-care to construct an audit trail of all transactions on an unaltered distributed ledger for the patient data exchange. This will further ensure the accountability and transparency in finance & healthcare.

All in all, the upcoming innovations of Blockchain, AI, and machine automations will continue to influence how we live, communicate, and shop. These influences, therefore, are indispensable and an unavoidable part of the digital advertising’s future. As such, we at the helm of this industry have exciting opportunity ahead of us.  

Kotryna
My name is Kotryna (pronounced: Kat-rina). My focused responsibilities include management of the programmatic platform, DMP, Machine Learning developments and to oversee the Ad Operations for the EU offices. I also contribute to the product strategy, manage product roadmap and coordinate efforts to drive our overall revenue for the AI marketing cloud, Mona Lisa.

BlockChain: The Next Digital Revolution

Blockchain MonaLisa AI
Blockchain MonaLisa

(Post written by: Gurbaksh Chahal. This blog first appeared on BeLimitless).

In the past few decades, a few major changes in technology have led the evolution of the digital world. First, in the 90s, the advent of the mainstream internet allowed digital advertising to be born. As the industry matured, in the late 2000s, the programmatic marketplaces revolutionized the landscape which created much needed automated efficiency. Today, this industry is $232 billion globally, and in some countries has already eclipsed Television Advertising.

While programmatic automation has streamlined the buying and selling process, the industry has been struggling to solve the reduction of eCPMs for publishers, increased intermediary costs and lack of transparency for advertisers. Adding to this list, this digital tech marketplace has so many middleman data vendors, making it difficult to figure out which partner actually brings value. Not to mention, the industry still does manual publisher payment processing, with several delays due to necessary audits and verification processes.

Our industry has a problem, and rather than adding another middleman or creating a new acronym, let’s acknowledge the problem and fix it.

If one was to take a blunt view of the current state of the industry, much of it has been plagued by fraud, costing billions of loss to brand marketers. In a recent ANA study, it described a “technology tax” that effectively accounts for more than 40% of advertisers’ programmatic spend.

Introducing now the ‘Era of Blockchain’. Although this technology was intended development was for developers to run bitcoin, the underlying separated infrastructure holds enormous implications to various sectors, leading to faster services for the consumers. A recent World Economic Forum report predicts that by 2025, 10% of the GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain related technology.

One such area that would positively be impacted is the digital marketing. Blockchain brings immense transparency and data security to the programmatic supply chain. It further ensures brand safety by validating the ad placement and transactions. Imagine not ever having to worry about ads appearing next to not-so-cool content and avoiding circumstances that caused YouTube/Google to experience a boycott. Those who understand the technology behind blockchains understand its biggest positives. It is a decentralized digital ledger that enables automatic verification of the transactions through peer-to-peer networks. This method immediately solves the multi-billion dollar ad fraud problem and lack of transparency. Each transaction is connected to the one before and the one after it, leading to a traceable history of every recorded event. No record can ever be deleted as it’s immutable and nothing can be altered.

Now with ‘smart contracts’ also means the removal of the many ‘middlemen’ from the supply chain, bringing much needed efficiency to the landscape. Smart contracts are conditionally programmed into the blockchains. These conditional triggers make the contracts self-enforcing; therefore, once the campaign has served the needed impressions with specified targeting or goal, publishers’ payment will be immediately released. Say goodbye to waiting for getting paid by the clients net 90.

Now I am sure if the full transparency and reduced cost brings sheer happiness to the brands, then the last line (of immediate payment) should get the publishers jumping up to dance with joy as their price of inventory will also rise without it being associated with fraud!

Jessica
Hi, I am Jessica. I support our Gravity4 EU for product marketing efforts. We have diverse set of media products, across 12 countries my team collaborates with. Follow us and learn more.

The Next Multi-Trillion Dollar Economy: AI and BlockChain

Gravity4 AI Blockchain
Gravity4 AI Blockchain

(Post written by: Gurbaksh Chahal. This blog first appeared on BeLimitless on July 31, 2017)

As digital technology continues to evolve, there are two major disruptions entering the marketplace: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

In the past couple of months, the industry has seen massive penetration of LIVE AI beta products ranging from Chatbots, servicing from e-commerce to banking, to AI outranking the top-ranked Go player, Ke Jie. Similarly, a host of global banks are in the midst of discussion to testing ways to issue currency using blockchain distributed ledgers. Among the long list, Bank of Canada and The Monetary Authority of Singapore are the latest to issue a ‘tokenized’ form of currency on blockchains.

Among these two innovations, AI is easy to understand (for the most part by many) as the key driver is to boost the corporation’s profitability. In a recent report by Accenture, AI is forecasted to lead an economic boost of $14 USD trillion across 12 countries by 2035 – across 16 industries. Similarly, central banks in many countries are exploring ways to put existing currencies on blockchain or also known as “unaltered distributed ledgers.” Advantage for the banking industry to use blockchain is that it allows secure transactions between parties without the need of intermediaries. This process reduces fees as well as increases efficiency of transactions transparently.

Among the 16 industries being impacted, Blockchain brings inherit advantage to the growing $230 billion+ digital advertising we participate in. Currently, the industry is plagued with fraud and data supply chain challenges mounting to over $8 billion+ annually. It aims to revolutionize the programmatic marketplace by preventing fraud and by bringing much needed transparency to the ecosystem. The transparency provides the vendors the opportunity to facilitate a secure exchange of non-PII audience data. With the pending EU GDPR data regulation, this area has been a critical focus for Gravity4 to solve yesterday’s problem with tomorrow’s solutions.

Another low-hanging use case is how Smart contracts are enabled using a blockchain platform, allowing contracts to execute seamlessly when consensus is met.

Among many advantages, blockchain is a decentralized network, where host of peer networks verify each transactions. This process is a useful attribute in an ecosystem to overcome fraud, increase accountability, and address attribution challenges.

While there are many ways to solve the same problem, as various companies are looking to build “new standalone blockchains” with no supply or demand. However, at Gravity4, we see blockchain as a necessity that sits on top of an established advertising technology stack. As the old saying goes, “Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just make the wheel better.”

This will ultimately lead to a new evolution of data-driven omni-channel marketing.

Stay tuned as we bring more on this latest innovation from our global Gravity4 leadership team.

Samatha
I love my job and am delighted to be part of Global Gravity4's product marketing team. I am one part math & one part marketing geek - woohoo!!!. Big Data & Machine Learning is my game! Bring "it" on! I focus on the global communication efforts for our cutting edge marketing cloud platform and delighting our global brand customers.Regardless of a big global team, our aspirations revolve around one word: #BeLimitless

Chatbots and the Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Gravity4 Mona Lisa - Chatbots
Gravity4 Mona Lisa AI  – Powered Chatbots

Post authored by:      MD, Gravity4 Asia

Chatbots have risen in the communication ecosystem so that some say they’ll replace mobile apps and even sites. The history of chatbots starts with ELIZA, an application built at MIT in 1966, that could carry on a text conversation with human interlocutors.

Messaging apps and social media long ago replaced conventional phone calls to connect with people. As the dynamics of communication change, consumers are more apt to use a similar service for customer support issues. A chatbot, in these instances, helps bridge the communication gap between customer and the brand. These bots essentially provide instant feedback and answers to a consumer’s urgent questions. Imagine having a medical question at 3 a.m. and no medical person to call.

AI powered Chatbots
Mona Lisa – Artificial Intelligence Powered Chatbots

This is one area of many areas where chatbots come handy in critical moment to provide consumers with much-needed answers and relief. For commercial brands, these lightweight applications aim to provide value to consumers and assist them in retrieving information as well as get product recommendations and getting information to consumers in a speedy and accurate manner in a world where consumers increasingly demand answers right here right now at any time of the day. Furthermore, these bots serve as trusted and reliable employees, ensuring brand loyalty

Next Immediate Disruption

Chatbots have had a great impact on consumers, so that they experience digital ecommerce and other services in a completely new way through AI-driven conversations. It’s undeniable these bots are the newest trend among the messenger apps. However, these bots’ rise is a mere signal to a huge upcoming disruption in the marketplace.

It’s expected these bots could eventually replace a lot of “call centers” and even sales people within the foreseeable future. Furthermore, they may potentially replace low-level business functions the web or mobile apps currently handle.

Imagine bots powered with machine learning and can recognize speech and data, learn natural language patterns and interpret historical engagement based on previous interactions. Sounds a lot like super-intelligent artificial intelligence, doesn’t it?

As structured data is compiled and imported, these applications hold the capacity to understand the users’ specific needs and provide appropriate solutions without human customer service. The chatbots’ intelligence enables them to handle multiple conversations with ease.

Chatbots: Today

Brands and businesses are racing to adopt (or build) a chatbot for two main reasons. One, the chatbots let businesses talk to individual consumers in real time and engage in automated two-way conversations at scale. The second is data. Yup, a life without Big Data won’t be much of a life on the digital landscape. Data allows businesses to keep a measurable KPI to enhance their customer experiences and optimize the engagement or sales with the hope of future sales.

Our development efforts on these bots with powerful machine learning methods and continuing to improve them to actually understand conversation using natural language processing. With the layered capability of AI-powered engine, we’re focused on enabling these bots to communicate using both text and voice and retrieval of recommendations through searching on the open web.

For companies doing online and even offline sales, we think of this as the next generation search engine that serves your every need knowing your historical purchase patterns, current needs and expectations. Imagine telling chatbot you need coffee and it delivers it to you within the next 30 mins to your doorstep with the exact amount of milk and sugar in it. That is very close to happening in many parts of the world and Asia in particular China is racing to develop AI driven technology and there’s no doubt that Chatbots and voice based applications will play an important role to brining this to the man on the streets and serving their daily needs, ones as simple as getting coffee.

Chatbots: Future

By 2020, it is estimated by Garner that 85% of the consumers will their relationships with brands without ever interacting with a human; every aspect of the interaction – from start to finish – will be AI driven.

Surprisingly, many key regulatory and business decision makers have not considered the implications of transitioning to utility to AI, or even tested it through chatbots for their own businesses and industries. Furthermore, some regulatory bodies have not assessed the deep social implications on the wider marketplace and economy either. Virtual assistants (Siri/Google Assistant), customer service chatbots (Gravity4 Asia/Pixels’ Chatbot), conversational e-commerce assistants (Alexa), autonomous cars, and medical techs – the list of AI powered chatbots is endless.

Whether the brands want to acknowledge it or ignore it, chatbots will continue to revolutionize the way that brands provide service to their customers, increase customer service engagement, brand loyalty and ultimately profits.

At the current pace of the AI powered chatbots, we will continue to see the acceleration of the automation. Furthermore, I feel chatbots potentially be an evolutionary process to a stand-alone mobile app, since they can learn our habits, understands our tastes and preferences and adopt each time we interact with them.

As we continue to evolve AI incrementally, these intelligent bots are drastically minimizing the barrier in making machines intelligently learn from prior interactions and preferences. On this road to discovery we’re singularly intent on ensuring conversational software will enable humans to talk to machines naturally.

Brands and marketers need to sit up and take chatbots seriously. As chatbots become more powerful with AI and machine learning layered on top, they not only will be able to connect you closer to your customers but help transform your business. Stay tuned as AI-powered chatbots continue to become the fastest-growing software segment.

Hong Kong: Adapt or fall behind 

Hong Kong, a city with 238% mobile penetration with now close to 90% smartphone penetration, a population that is addicted to their phones and a market where brands thrive on cutting edge technology, aim to stand out from the clutter and increasingly rising cost in doing business including talent cost, Hong Kong brands have to play a leading role in the development and deployment of chatbots to aide their businesses.

It is vital that automation and deployment of instant customer service take center stage in Hong Kong as its already discerning consumers become even more demanding and expectations increase with every new piece of technology made available.

Amidst a rapidly changing business environment, rapidly rising cost and consumer expectations, Hong Kong brands need to up their game and be there when consumers want them to be. Yes, they can hire more people to deal with mundane questions such as what time does your shop open or how do I fix the display on my television to work around the clock or they can adopt technologies such as chatbot to take care of this. From there on, chatbots with AI can also be your sales rep to up-sell your customer.

All in all, the whole point of creating chatbots is to build superb customer experiences. As they say, the customer is always right and we need to be there for them, always.

 

Alice
I am a Data Engineer and support the APAC region of Gravity4. I have Masters in Computer Science with focus on Data Analytics. I have been working on projects related to machine learning & deep learning.
the future of articial intelligence

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal: Artificial Intelligence Will Change Our Connection with the World

It’s no secret technology is moving faster than ever. It seems like every week there’s a new innovation. Regardless of the size of the change, the speed of this process has a huge impact on the business world. It is our responsibility to harness that technology and put it to the best use possible. We can’t wait for another development; we have to act now.

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal believes that in just a few years (maybe even just 1-2 years!), many of our daily activities will be streamlined through artificial intelligence. We’ve already started, with voice or image recognition technology. But the digital industry is poised to take the technology beyond that stage-far beyond it.

Language has always played a critical role in society, beginning with very basic communication. What artificial intelligence can do is take that language and manipulate into a task or set of tasks. Not even 10 years ago, we would have said this was impossible. Today, these technologies are no longer dreams, but realities within our grasp.

How Gurbaksh Singh Chahal Believes We’ll Move Forward

Voice activation is a big key for future projects, says Gurbaksh Singh Chahal. It can propel artificial intelligence projects forward by giving independence to people who didn’t have it before; requiring less parts to our technology because the process is simplified; and providing an easier way for us to connect with each other. All this relies on language.

Language is both the simplest and most complicated part of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology. It is a natural phenomenon that we communicate with our voices, and it is only natural to want to find other uses for them. On the small scale, we have seen this in terms, of phones that recognize who you want to call, or computers that allow you to log in by speaking a certain word or phrase.

But this is just the beginning. Soon, the majority of our lives will be operated by artificial intelligence. Slowly, little things are creeping into our everyday lives and processes are being automated and successfully run by computers and not humans. Sometimes we realize it and sometimes we don’t. That’s how commonplace the new technology has become: it happens so quickly, we don’t even notice a difference when it’s introduced.

There’s Still a Place for Humans, Right?

Of course there’s a place for humans! As of right now, artificial intelligence can only go so far. It sounds new and amazing, but the technology is still in its infancy. However, as mentioned earlier, technology is developing at a much more rapid rate than it ever has in history. We as humans need to be ready to adapt because soon artificial intelligence will be adapting around us.

Gurbaksh Singh Chahal is currently leading teams working one some of the most advanced artificial intelligence technology right now. From Chatbots to a computer playing Go, to ad-blocking technology, Gurbaksh Singh Chahal has demonstrated a number of practical uses for artificial intelligence, but he also sees plenty more possibilities for the technology being developed.

We, as humans, have done much to change the course of history through technological development. In some ways, it seems like our language of “ABC” is being replaced by zeroes and ones.  But that’s not completely true. Artificial intelligence is being created to mimic-and in some cases, improve-human behavior. That means a human needs to be the one to set the system that produces the chatbot or the AI or the voice recognition software. Artificial intelligence only understands language as it was programmed to (currently), and if you are worried about how are that can go, remember two things:

  1. Humans have a finite learning curve. We can keep learning new things, but at some point, certain information becomes irrelevant and we dispose of it.
  2. Right now, artificial intelligence also is finite. The advances that are being made to the technology are incredible, there’s no doubt there, but there is still only a certain point to which machines can process information, and only so much information that can be input into an individual machine.

There are a lot of opportunities for artificial intelligence to make the world a better place, but it’s up to the humans to apply it. Right now, artificial intelligence is revolutionizing communication technologies. Perhaps the next step is to turn it into a less polarizing technology, make it something all society can benefit from, and takes us from there into the future.

Gravity4