Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t a new concept, but in the past few years its use in the business and technology world has grown exponentially. We saw that investment in AI startups increased 300% between 2014 and 2015, and it’s reported that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. While AI used to remain in the realm of high technology experts, the topic has recently been making its way into marketing and advertising conversations.

The concept of machine learning has been around in the advertising space for some time now. Advertisers are using programmatic technology to create better ads in real-time (Profile Audiences targeting and DCO: dynamic creative optimization), essentially getting the right ad to the right person at the right time. This technology, however, can be and is being drastically improved.

Those in the AI world (data scientists, engineers, etc.) are pushing to create AI systems that have a natural language understanding, essentially that they can comprehend, and maybe more importantly, predict human emotion. For the advertising industry, this is a huge step – being able to predict future behavior of a person (or set of people) before they even know the action they will take.

Advertisers Will Have a Deep Understanding of Consumers

AI-powered systems will be able to better sort and analyze big data coming in from social media and online interactions (along with company CRM and any additional consumer data). While the algorithms are constantly being improved to help advertisers compile and understand all of the data coming in, using AI, more powerful customer segments can be made.

The AI-powered systems will be able to provide better consumer segmentations and individual profiles, which in turn, will allow advertisers to reach the customer in a more impactful way. While this technology may take more resources at first, the ROI will be huge. And what we’ll see in the future are non-data scientists being able to access, understand, and use this information; this will become a tool for the everyday advertiser.

The Future of AI in Ad Tech

Big concerns with privacy arise when it comes to this type of technology. Concerns have been made about the abuse of this type of technology, as well as the fact that it may well take jobs away from humans. Some people like the personalization big data allows and others prefer to do without it, putting privacy preferences on when they can; developers must take this into account as the technology progresses.

What’s more interesting is many scientists and entrepreneurs note that many future AI dangers are unknown – we haven’t reached certain stages in the technology where AI becomes a threat, but we might reach that point. Whichever side of the AI debate you fall on, what’s clear is that AI technology will have a lasting impact on the advertising technology landscape and is sure to spur heated debate in the years to come.