London Tech Week’s three words for AI latecomers: evolve or die

Life or death proclamations are funny things. They’re fun to make, easy to overstate and limitlessly versatile. They work across the spectrum – from anti-smoking campaigns to product descriptions on Gwyneth Paltrow’s oft-derided ‘lifestyle platform’ Goop. Which is to say, all the way from the genuinely life-threatening to the somewhat lesser trials of oily skin.

But, in the case of brands using AI to move fast and stay connected to their customers, the life/death binary fits. AI is exciting. It’s vital. And it’s everywhere.

Need proof? Ask Siri. Or, just check out the numbers.

Here are a few of the choicest predictions, presented at BIMA and Microsoft’s Future of Digital Agencies panel, at London Tech Week:

  • By the end of this year, 75% of all apps will use some form of AI
  • In next three years, AI will add an extra £1.2 trillion in revenue to UK businesses
  • Come 2020, 85% of businesses will be using AI at enterprise level
  • By 2025, 95% of customer interactions will be powered by AI chatbots

Microsoft’s advice? There’s no waiting until tomorrow. Even today, brands are sitting on piles of data worth their weight in AI-spun gold. It may not be structured. (That is, immediately usable.) But it’s still data. Pure potential, just waiting to be mined.

How, exactly?

The panel had some great ideas to build on:

1. Dream big, think small

Standing in front an image of a robot playing a piano, Wirehive CEO, Robert Belgrave, summed up AI’s usefulness nicely. “Robots playing piano. That’s bullshit. We all have AI on our phones,” he pointed out, “in our pockets, all the time.”

His point? Dream big, but think small. AI doesn’t have to look impressive, it just needs to make an impact. It can be as ‘small’ as a chatbot, or Gmail’s spam filter. To most people, Google’s predictive search is an AI execution hidden in plain sight. There’s no flashing arrow, screaming ‘AI in action!!’ It just works and makes life that much smoother. That’s the sort of AI that can really make a difference.

2. Collaborate with sense-makers

Just as AI is changing how we experience the world, it’s changing what brands should expect when collaborating with agencies on new tech-driven projects. According to Peter Barker, Chief Technology Officer at Rufus Leonard, agencies should be their ‘sense-makers’.

“Today, one of the biggest shifts is how we collaborate. We see a lot of blended teams now.”  Added expertise and advice is especially useful with the aforementioned lovely piles of data.

That’s where specialist digital agencies like Start Design come in. In digital agencydom, it’s ‘evolve or die’, but at lightspeed. There’s no space for anyone lumbering out of the gates.

We’ve become experts at iterating and implementing effective innovation at the international, enterprise-wise level. And, as outside agents of change, we can move with an agility that larger companies simply can’t emulate.

3. Know that trends change, but purpose lasts

From the sidelines, it’s easy (and maybe a little tempting) to look at AI as just another technological trend having its next-big-thing moment. What sets AI apart, is that it’s not just applicable to one sector – it’s changing everything. From phones to cars, to medicine, to fashion, to…..you name it.

“The plethora of technologies coming around the corner is so much bigger than ever before,” said Nat Gross, Managing Partner at TH_NK. But, in this avalanche of innovation, accelerating at frightening speed, one thing is consistent, she says:

“Having a good point of view is incredibly important. Knowing who you are and your specialty. Purpose has longevity.”

The challenge is using AI to enhance your brand, not alter it. Today, with new tech enabling so much, it feels only slightly hyperbolic to say ‘anything is possible’. But that breadth of possibility can tempt you away from the authentic story you want to be telling. People like one-off experiences, sure. But relationships are long lasting and, in the end, more mutually beneficial. That’s what your AI-enhanced thinking should be grounded in.

AI will continue to drive change that will challenge businesses. At Start Design, we can help brands respond to their customers’ ever-changing needs and expectations with incredible experiences. Want to have a powerful agent of change working alongside you?

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you, get in touch.
Or email or call Kate Barker directly on +44 (0)7888 681869

Dante Sacomani Copywriter