Are Human and Artificial Intelligence on a Collision Course?

Creativity is in the crosshairs as the ad world takes on the ‘man vs. machine’ debate at DMEXCO.

Will machines take over the creative process, replacing human beings with data? The answer is a definitive “no.”

This year, DMEXCO, held in Cologne, Germany, attracted more than 50,000 digital marketing and media professionals, ad tech companies, advertising industry leaders, and creative innovators, as well as more than 1,000 exhibitors, building an encompassing and dynamic conversation around the present and future of adtech. Our COO, Nicolle Pangis, joined the conversation, speaking in a panel entitled, ‘When the creative genius is a machine – A day in the life of 2020’ discussing the prominent theme of artificial intelligence and machine learning that came out of the conference.

There was a big conversation at DMEXCO around what is perceived to be a collision between the data folks and the creative folks. This discussion is now extending into a so-called conflict between human intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning.

The idea that machines are taking over from humans is backwards. The data scientists who are capturing data and informing machines are directing AI and machine learning, not the other way around.

Machines can do some of the work, but not all of the work. We believe unique human sensibilities and emotions are integral to creative advertising, too. You need both.

At Xaxis, we have data scientists using AI and machine learning so that we can sort through the immense amount of data we capture to determine which pieces of data are relevant for specific clients and specific campaign goals, depending on what the client is trying to achieve.

For all our campaigns, we want to ensure that we’re making informed decisions on behalf of our clients based on smart data, not big data. Our data can become smarter because we have developed proprietary technology to drive insights you could not get from licensed platforms.

This year we launched Co-Pilot, which is the machine learning component of our stack. Co-Pilot is able to derive intelligence from the data in Turbine, leading Xaxis towards becoming as much a tech company as a business-facing company.

But, again, the technology is one side of the equation; people are the other. Computers process complex data sets in seconds, something human cannot do. Humans make decisions on behalf of business and client goals where it’s not entirely black and white. We have developed new proprietary platforms every year, but we have not reduced headcounts operating on the platforms. They have more tools and both human and platforms are getting smarter and interconnected.

On the people side, our technology is driven by a very senior product team and a growing and talented team in data science. This year, we hired Bob Hammond as our first global CTO to lead the integration of all our technology, some of which we have developed in-house and some of which we have acquired.

To move into the next phase, the age of human-machine collaboration. We have to find a way to create equilibrium among the creatives, the data scientists and the technologies of data science and AI. When we are able to do that, we will have the perfect trifecta for a new digital age.

Check out all of our coverage at DMEXCO in partnership with Campaign here.

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