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Keeping audiences engaged: How Transhuman’s Amanda Johnstone sees AI helping marketers

ADMA Global Forum

7 Aug 2023

Australian AI expert and internationally respected technologist, Amanda Johnstone, gives us an inside look at the insights and emerging technologies fuelling her keynote at ADMA Global Forum

ChatGPT and the rise of consumer-facing generative AI technologies has made it easier than ever for all of us to be part of the AI wave. It’s a fact that both excites as well as unnerves the CEO of Transhuman and internationally recognised AI technologist, Amanda Johnstone.

“The gap right now between being an expert in AI and not being an expert in AI is so small,” she comments. “It’s one of the things I’m excited about: The barrier is so low, anyone can learn.

“And it’s so important it’s not just 5000 people in Silicon Valley who are sculpting AI and creating our future technologies. We’re invited to be part of that conversation. I’m excited we’re all getting to play a part in an equitable future, where we are the AI and crafting the future of technology. We haven’t really seen that before.”

But it’s for the same reasons of access Johnstone also fears the future for marketers and consumers who don’t start learning AI now.

“My fear isn’t that AI might take over the world or create a Terminator 2-like situation,” she continues. “My fear is what if people aren’t embracing AI? What if they think it’s just another hype cycle? We have just gone through the metaverse and crypto hype cycles. The last big hype cycle we had that wasn’t one was the World Wide Web.

“A person using AI won’t replace us; an organisation will. Those who aren’t upskilled in AI by the end of this year will get left behind.

“So for me, it’s about how we get people to be serious about understanding because AI isn’t a hype cycle, it’s here to stay. We need people of all gender, race and from every part of the planet to be creating and training AI so we won’t end up with bias AI.”

Johnstone is the opening keynote speaker at this year’s ADMA Global Forum and will be sharing her wealth of insights into the latest AI use cases impacting creative and marketing disciplines. She’ll also dive into how AI is radically changing the nature of digital engagement, and what it takes to employ AI to make us better humans. Here, the Australian technology guru reveals the motivations behind her presentation.

What’s one persistent myth about AI you’d love to debunk at Forum?

Amanda Johnstone (AJ): One of the myths about AI that’s really scary for me to witness is that it’s a hype cycle and it’s going to go away – that we don’t need to learn about it, implemented it, safeguard it, upskill for it, change our organisations, how we market and live our everyday lives to incorporate AI. It’s not going anywhere.

It’s hard to know what’s the actual truth and what will stick around. But AI is something that has been around for a long time. It’s in our autocorrect, it’s in cars to help with indicators to help us be safer, it’s in our satellite navigations and our Tinder swiping. It’s behind the scenes in a lot of our technology. Now it’s been brought to the forefront for the everyday consumer. We need to embrace it and really build it into our businesses.

How can marketers improve their ability to harness AI?

AJ: One of the things about AI is it’s data driven. We need to make sure the data we’re entering to build the AI and build digital twins of who our customers might be is clean data. It needs to be real data that’s not biased. Not the data we want it to know, but the actual truth.

Because what we train our AI models on now will last a lifetime. Making sure data is clean, verified, legal and ethical is such a strong standpoint. I own an emotional AI company, where our whole goal is to understand the physiological state of the body in real time. We do comprehension analysis on people in real time for this purpose. And right now, there is an opportunity to collect so much data about people. I wholeheartedly believe and advocate this should be classified as electronically protected health data. I personally believe keystroke and voice data should be electronic protected health data, as should facial and eyeball recognition. Currently, it’s not.

There is so much data out there about how we go about everyday tasks and interact with everyday things. People are giving consent for that data. I know in the next few years it’s going to be a very different ball game.

My advice to marketers right now is to get as much data as you can ethically and with consent; keep that data really clean; and feed that data in to make really great digital twins and models of who your exact end user is.

Is there an overhyped technology you’d rather wasn’t getting so much attention from businesses?

AJ: One overhyped technology I’ve personally witnessed and played a part in marketing and growth of and seen huge results, positive and negative, is the non-fungible tokens and Web 3.0 space. I think we’re all sick to death of hearing about it. I don’t think it’s going away, however.

Digital tokens, proof of provenance and ownership is definitely the way of the future. We’ve just seen Worldcoin from OpenAI’s Sam Altman rollout, creating digital identities using a retina scan to have proof of person for millions of citizens globally. I think 2.2m people have signed up in the first week [Worldcoin launched in July 2023].

Proof of personhood, provenance, Blockchain and Web 3.0 is going nowhere. We’re seeing luxury, wine, wagyu and even cashmere brands using it for proof of provenance to show the supply chain. That’s a positive thing. Proof or personhood is also going to be fabulous for marketers in future and I’ll be speaking about it at ADMA Global Forum.

Can you give us a sneak peek into where the next AI innovations are coming for creatives?

AJ: I‘ve just from another trip from California and speaking with some of the greatest minds from NASA, Blue Origin, Meta. There are incredible things happening in the digital space. I’m really interested in this proof of personhood and I’m looking forward to sharing information about that at Global Forum. What it’ll mean is marketers can single in on people and their interests.

Let’s take video streaming, for example, and an artificial general intelligence. One of my favourite TV shows is Sex in the City. For me, if I was watching that with my sister, I might see Sarah Jessica Parker’s character strutting down the street in a pair of Manolo Blahnik shows. But my sister would see New Balance trainers or latest Nike sponsored trainers, because she doesn’t wear high heels and the general AI knows that and has adapted. That’s the power of what’s happening in real time.

We are not just going to have artificially generated different endings for different users, we are going to know our end users so well, we’re going to pre-empt and insert different content and things in real time. It’s a really exiting time to be a creative person in this space and be able to play, engage and be first to market with some of these exciting AI-generated futures and storytelling.

What are you hoping the marketing community attending ADMA Global Forum will take away from your presentation?

AJ: I’m looking forward to taking a deep dive into some of these AI technologies and what it means to be human, to understand the end user and how it’ll look for advertising, marketing, gaming and the future of TV and cinema. It’s about transhumanism, the emergence of AI and human creativity.

One of the things I’m hoping the audience will take away is the machine isn’t coming to take away our jobs, or the machine is coming to get us. Instead, it’ll enhance our capabilities and help us be better versions of humans.

I mentioned how we can create digital twins, copies of our ideas, suck in data and come up with great campaigns. But what it can’t do is generate that serendipity. What makes us human is our serendipitous hearts and minds. It’s for the creative imperfections we love watching ballet and live music concerts. We want the imperfections and human experience.

One thing I want to reiterate at the Global Forum is human experience and human touch is never going to go away. I want to teach people how to have a human and technology relationship so we can intersect what it means to be human with technology and get the best outcomes for the future.

Gain invaluable insights from Amanda and other marketing thought leaders at ADMA Global Forum 2023.

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