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    Entries in content (8)

    Tuesday
    Feb062018

    Automated narratives

    We are soon going to reach, if we haven't yet, 'Peak Artificial Intelligence' I think.

    There have been a million examples of 'AI will replace XYZ' or 'AI for 'Insert your favorite process here'' pieces and developments in the last couple of years, and if you and your organization is not at least thinking about incorporating AI into your business processes, well, the conventional thinking goes, you are going to be left behind. I suppose time will tell on that. I think the adage (was it from Bill Gates?), that we tend to overestimate the impact of new technology in the short term, and underestimate its impact in the long term probably applies to AI as well. AI is definitely coming to a business process near you, it is just a little unclear how long it will be and how much impact it will have on your organization, people, and business.

    But one fairly common theme in all the talk about AI (and automation more generally), is that it will effect and potentially replace more mundane, repetitive, rules-heavy, and precisely defined processes and roles (at least initially), while leaving creative, nuanced, complex, and more sophisticated processes and roles to the humans, (at least for now). Robots are going to take the wareghouse jobs and maybe some/most of the cashier jobs, but 'creative' types like marketers and advertising folks for example would be largely safe from automation. While Watson can win ay Jeopardy! and Google can build a machine to win at Go, no AI can come up with say, one of the amazing ads we just saw on the Super Bowl. Right?

    But wait...

    Check out this excerpt from a piece on Ad Week - 'Coca-Cola Wants to Use AI Bots to Create Its Ads'

    Coca-Cola is one of the most beloved brands in the world and is known for creating some of the best work in the advertising industry. But can an AI bot replace a creative? Mariano Bosaz, the brand’s global senior digital director, wants to find out.

    “Content creation is something that we have been doing for a very long time—we brief creative agencies and then they come up with stories that they audio visualize and then we have 30 seconds or maybe longer,” Bosaz said. “In content, what I want to start experimenting with is automated narratives.”

    In theory, Bosaz thinks AI could be used by his team for everything from creating music for ads, writing scripts, posting a spot on social media and buying media. “That’s a long-term vision,” he said. “I don’t know if we can do it 100 percent with robots yet—maybe one day—but bots is the first expression of where that is going.

    It is one thing when a manufacturing executive states that he or she wants to automate some or most aspects of a manufacturing or assembly process and reduce levels of human employment in favor of technology - we are coming to expect that robots and tech and AI are simply inevitably going to do those jobs in the future.

    But it is kind of a different thing entirely to hear a 'creative' executive from one of the world's largest companies and most recognized brands to openly discuss how technology like AI can and probably will begin to take over some or even most parts of a highly creative, expressive process like developing advertising content. We don't, or at least I don't, like to think of these kinds of tasks and jobs as ones that could also fall into the category of 'We are better off having a robot do that'. I mean, (trying) to be creative is mostly how I make a living. Emphasize the 'trying' part.

    'Automated narratives', for some reason that term stuck out for me when I read the Ad Week piece. Hmm. Probably need to think about that a little longer.

    But while I am pondering, I will end with the disclaimer that this post, (and so far, all the posts on this blog), was 100% produced by a person. Although some days I wish I had access to a blog-writing 'bot.

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Jan202015

    CHART OF THE DAY: What does it take for content to get noticed?

    Really interesting piece, (with accompanying chart that I will re-share below), on the GigaOM site on how social and online sharing is now truly the way readers (and potential customer and job candidates) discover content.

    The gist of the article was to point out that while they might like to think they are not in the same business as Buzzfeed, even more 'respected' publishers like the New York Times have to compete with the Buzzfeeds of the online world using modern metrics that describe success in online content creation - namely social shares (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).

    Check out the chart below, (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through), then some FREE commentary from me after the data:

    1. It is pretty obvious that for these big publishers, the bar for labeling a piece of content a 'social' success is really pretty high - at least 2K shares. Think about what you and your company might be sharing on social networks from your corporate blog or posting your open jobs on LinkedIn or Twitter. Two thousand shares of piece of content is a ton of shares, yet by the standards of the modern web, that barely starts to get you noticed. Less than 100 social shares leaves your content essentially 'unseen'.

    2. Unless, of course, it is 'seen' by the exact, right people. And that means most of us (me too, just look at the number of RTs of this post for example), have to really understand how to determine, classify, target, and attempt to engage a specific target market of interest in order to have success. There is almost no way any of us 'normals' are ever going to approach mass social virality like the masters of the modern web (Buzzfeed, HuffPo) can. If you post a job on Twitter and it is not RT'ed does it even exist?

    3. For the HR Tech spin on things, if you have employed a social sharing strategy for your jobs and employer brand building content, but you are not utilizing one of the several HR tech tools on the market that provide the capability to track, analyze, and help you determine actual results (clicks, shares, applicants, hires), for your jobs content, then you probably need to consider that investment in 2015. Since the easy and most common measure of success on the social web, absolute number of 'shares', is almost always going to leave you in the 'unnoticed' bucket, you need to find a way to 'prove' your social strategy is actually working. And the only way to do that is to better understand what happens to those lonely tweets after you send them out into the big, scary, social web.

    Happy Tuesday. Hope this post breaks out of the 'unnoticed' category.

    Tuesday
    Dec312013

    REPRISE: By 2015, you'd better be a content creator

    Note: The blog is taking some well-deserved rest for the next two weeks (that is code for I am pretty much out of decent ideas, and I doubt most folks are spending their holidays reading blogs anyway), and will be re-running some of best, or at least most interesting posts from 2013. Maybe you missed these the first time around or maybe you didn't really miss them, but either way they are presented for your consideration. Thanks to everyone who stopped by in 2013!

    I wrote almost incessantly about robots and automation in 2013. Sorry. Once in a while I tried to be constructive and offer some advice and ideas as to how to manage in the new world of work, one where 'the man' will conspire with 'big robot' to destroy everything you love. The below post was one example of that - a look at how technology equipment patterns affect usage and what that means for out careers. The piece originally ran in June 2013.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    By 2015, you'd better be a content creator

    I peeled my eyes away long enough from the ongoing drama at Rutgers University (by the way, catch a special HR Happy Hour Show on all things Rutgers here), to catch the news that market research and analyst firm IDC is predicting that by 2015 global shipments of tablet devices are expected to overtake shipments of PCs.

    Here are the specifics of what IDC is forecasting for tablets and PCs as reported by Bloomberg:

    Tablet shipments are projected to grow 45 percent from this year to reach 332.4 million in 2015, compared with an estimated 322.7 million for PCs, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC. PC shipments may decline 7.8 percent this year, the worst annual drop on record, the researcher said, a revision from its prior projection for a 1.3 percent decrease.

    Pretty interesting if not terribly surprising I suppose. Just think about how much personal computing (taken generally) has changed since the introduction of the first iPad just a few years ago. Chances are you or someone in your family, or maybe everyone in your family, had jumped into the tablet craze. And why not? Tables are fantastic for watching movies on the plane, checking up on your social networks, playing games, and sure, tapping out that odd email or two when you are on the road or on a plane.

    Pretty obvious right? But worth repeating and thinking about what this means. Hers is more from the Bloomberg piece:

    More portable, affordable and backed by hundreds of thousands of applications, tablets are replacing PCs as consumers’ main tool for checking e-mail, browsing websites and accessing music and movies.

    Read it again and think about what, so far, you and pretty much everyone else does with a tablet. You sit back. You relax maybe. You have the TV on while you are messing with your iPad. You consume. Movies, books, your friend's updates on Facebook. Sure you might send the odd email or two, but you probably read 10 more for every one you actually create and send.

    If the trends in the growth of tablet shipments that IDC predicts are accurate, then in just a couple of years more personal devices that are primarily oriented on consuming content will hit the market than ones whose primary purpose is creating content. All the content that you and me and most working stiffs create, even boring content like spreadsheets and slide decks, (that pay the bills for lots of us), are created on PCs. Even 'creative' stuff like blog posts (other blogs I mean), and graphics and podcast and video editing - all done on PCs or more powerful machines.

    To date, hardly anything is created on tablets. That doesn't mean they aren't amazing tools and certainly the growth and trends indicate the market values the form factor and capability. But mostly, and probably for a while, they will exist for personal and business use cases as consumption devices.

    And by 2015 and beyond, with more and more of these consumption devices out in the world it seems to me the place you want to be isn't sitting back on the couch consuming right along with everyone else. It seems to me the place you want to be is on the content creation side.

    I think you want to be the person pushing content and value (and hopefully getting paid for it), to these millions and millions of consumption devices.

    But that is just my opinion.

    Written on a PC.

    Monday
    Jun032013

    By 2015, you'd better be a content creator

    I peeled my eyes away long enough from the ongoing drama at Rutgers University (by the way, catch a special HR Happy Hour Show on all things Rutgers here), to catch the news that market research and analyst firm IDC is predicting that by 2015 global shipments of tablet devices are expected to overtake shipments of PCs.

    Here are the specifics of what IDC is forecasting for tablets and PCs as reported by Bloomberg:

    Tablet shipments are projected to grow 45 percent from this year to reach 332.4 million in 2015, compared with an estimated 322.7 million for PCs, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC. PC shipments may decline 7.8 percent this year, the worst annual drop on record, the researcher said, a revision from its prior projection for a 1.3 percent decrease.

    Pretty interesting if not terribly surprising I suppose. Just think about how much personal computing (taken generally) has changed since the introduction of the first iPad just a few years ago. Chances are you or someone in your family, or maybe everyone in your family, had jumped into the tablet craze. And why not? Tables are fantastic for watching movies on the plane, checking up on your social networks, playing games, and sure, tapping out that odd email or two when you are on the road or on a plane.

    Pretty obvious right? But worth repeating and thinking about what this means. Hers is more from the Bloomberg piece:

    More portable, affordable and backed by hundreds of thousands of applications, tablets are replacing PCs as consumers’ main tool for checking e-mail, browsing websites and accessing music and movies.

    Read it again and think about what, so far, you and pretty much everyone else does with a tablet. You sit back. You relax maybe. You have the TV on while you are messing with your iPad. You consume. Movies, books, your friend's updates on Facebook. Sure you might send the odd email or two, but you probably read 10 more for every one you actually create and send.

    If the trends in the growth of tablet shipments that IDC predicts are accurate, then in just a couple of years more personal devices that are primarily oriented on consuming content will hit the market than ones whose primary purpose is creating content. All the content that you and me and most working stiffs create, even boring content like spreadsheets and slide decks, (that pay the bills for lots of us), are created on PCs. Even 'creative' stuff like blog posts (other blogs I mean), and graphics and podcast and video editing - all done on PCs or more powerful machines.

    To date, hardly anything is created on tablets. That doesn't mean they aren't amazing tools and certainly the growth and trends indicate the market values the form factor and capability. But mostly, and probably for a while, they will exist for personal and business use cases as consumption devices.

    And by 2015 and beyond, with more and more of these consumption devices out in the world it seems to me the place you want to be isn't sitting back on the couch consuming right along with everyone else. It seems to me the place you want to be is on the content creation side.

    I think you want to be the person pushing content and value (and hopefully getting paid for it), to these millions and millions of consumption devices.

    But that is just my opinion.

    Written on a PC.

    Thursday
    May302013

    In Soviet Russia, marketing candidate find you!

    Yes I am (sadly) old enough to remember the heyday of one Yakov Smirnoff, a Russian comic popular in the 70s and 80s. Smirnoff's main schtick was to crack wise about the differences between the then-communist Russia and his adopted home in the USA in a format that came to be known as the 'Russian Reversal' and that went something like this:

    In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, Party always find you!

    and

    In America, your work determines your marks. In Soviet Russia, Marx determines your work!

     

    Ol' Yakov was quite a funny guy, and I couldn't help but think of him several times over that last few days when seeing numerous pieces in various contexts about how technology, robots, and increasingly sophisticated algorithms are more and more moving the needle to produce not only what we explicitly ask for and need, but also what they think we will need next.

    See for example, Pre-cognitive robot knows you need help before you do, about developing robot technology that is learning how to 'see' and assess you, your actions, and your environment to anticipate your needs and react to them without or before receiving commands or direction.

    And this piece, Forget Searching For Content, Content Is About to Start Searching For You, on how smarter, location-based, and fundamentally tied to your mobile device applications will more and more 'push' data, suggestions, and options to you, based on where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with, without you having to search or ask for information.

    And this one, The Data Made Me Do It, about how the availability (and our increasing willingness to share) of oceans of personal data is leading to better and smarter 'anticipatory systems' that can and will provide you the answers to questions that you haven't even asked. Yet.

    The key running through all these examples? None are really similar to what passes for analytics or business intelligence or even 'big data' solutions that we keep hearing so much about, and what lots of energy are focused on. Mostly, these current tools try to provide better insight and visibility into things that have already happened, not so much about what is likely to happen next, or even more advanced, to lead you with answers to questions you have not even though about yet. What has already happened is important, no doubt, but that is only a baseline or floor for beginning to understand what's next and what is not even imagined.

    It's said that when really good basketball players play together on a team for awhile that they begin to understand, visualize, and anticipate each other's moves, and what they are most likely to do on the court without having to shout, point, or even make subtle eye contact with each other. Each player just knows where the other one will be, and with that knowledge and insight, can make the best decisions about what to do next, again, without even asking.

    I think the same thing will eventually be said for the best technology support systems that we deploy in our workplaces. 

    They won't tell us what has happened, but what is likely to happen. 

    They won't be about providing report cards about the past, but rather action plans for today, (and tomorrow).

    They won't remind us that we need to do a search for candidates for that Controller position that has been open for two weeks, rather they'll present us a list of qualified and interested people to contact for that VP of Marketing position that isn't technically open yet, but that signals from the internal and external social networks indicate a 87% probability the current VP is going to resign.

    As Yakov the HR Director would say, in Soviet Russia, you don't look for marketing candidates - marketing candidates come looking for you.