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Editorial

The future impact of Artificial Intelligence on content creation

Companies and countries are starting to map out some of the potential ways this could play out.

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Recently, in the technology and marketing communities, we have started to have a robust discussion about the future impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the world’s workforce. Companies and countries are starting to map out some of the potential ways this could play out.

Let’s take a quick step back. Let’s define Artificial Intelligence. As usual, Wikipedia has a pretty good definition.

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals…. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”

Wikipedia

AI refers to the ability of computers and machines to learn and perform tasks that traditionally only humans could do.

AI is being used already

There are radical developments in AI happening in the following fields:

Healthcare

Artificial intelligence is breaking into the healthcare industry by assisting doctors. According to Bloomberg Technology, Microsoft has developed AI to help doctors find the right treatments for cancer. There is a great amount of research and drugs developed relating to cancer. In detail, there are more than 800 medicines and vaccines to treat cancer. This negatively affects the doctors, because there are too many options to choose from, making it more difficult to choose the right drugs for the patients. AI helps with those problems.

According to CNN, a recent study by surgeons at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington successfully demonstrated surgery with an autonomous robot. The team supervised the robot while it performed soft-tissue surgery, stitching together a pig’s bowel during open surgery, and doing so better than a human surgeon, the team claimed.

Driverless cars

Advancements in AI have contributed to the growth of the automotive industry through the creation and evolution of self-driving vehicles. As of 2016, there were over 30 companies utilizing AI into the creation of driverless cars. A few companies involved with AI include Tesla, Google, and Apple.

Finance and economics

Financial institutions have long used artificial neural network systems to detect charges or claims outside of the norm, flagging these for human investigation. Financial Institutions also routinely use AI and Machine Learning to determine credit worthiness.

Video games

In video games, artificial intelligence is routinely used to generate dynamic purposeful behavior in non-player characters (NPCs). In addition, well-understood AI techniques are routinely used for pathfinding. Some researchers consider NPC AI in games to be a “solved problem” for most production tasks.

Military

Worldwide annual military spending on robotics rose from 5.1 billion USD in 2010 to 7.5 billion USD in 2015. Military drones capable of autonomous action are widely considered a useful asset. In 2017, Vladimir Putin stated that “Whoever becomes the leader in (artificial intelligence) will become the ruler of the world”.

Advertising

A report by the Guardian newspaper in the UK in 2018 found that online gambling companies were using AI to predict the behavior of customers in order to target them with personalized promotions.

Developers of commercial AI platforms are also beginning to appeal more directly to casino operators, offering a range of existing and potential services to help them boost their profits and expand their customer base.

and more…

My concern though is a little less altruistic and more personal.

artificial_intelligence_brain

What is the future of content creation when a machine can write better than I can?

So many questions.

What is the future of blogs, blogging, content and landing pages when I can come up with a title and feed it to a program to auto-generate the content? Today we have plugins for WordPress that auto “spin” content and come up with pretty tacky “articles” but that technology is crap today.

What happens when those types of apps are perfected?

Here’s the challenge – on one hand I can make the case that if a machine can predict my credit worthiness with greater certainty than a banker, it should be able to create more engaging content than any blogger can.

Let’s go a little deeper.

If it can create more engaging content, it should be able to create more organic keywords and more effective calls to action than any human writer could.

Theoretically this would mean MUCH more profitable articles and landing pages i.e. more $$$ for the advertisers.

On the other hand, this means, a LOT of digital marketing bloggers, writers and copywriters would be out of jobs. That’s not even considering the newspaper business which could theoretically all be run by machines in real time putting EVERY reporter out of business… but I digress.

AI is an asymmetrical weapon, both in business and warfare. The first businesses to deploy this technology will win and grow exponential marketshare compared to companies that depend on real human beings.

The creepy part is, when AI is deployed, you as a consumer will never know. I mean think about it, you assume I am a human being writing this article right? You have no idea.

These are some of the conundrums I think we will face very soon with the rollout and deployment of AI. What do you all think?

Let me know in the comments below…

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

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Editorial

The ONE skill most digital entrepreneurs do not have

After many years of mentoring digital entrepreneurs, I find that there is constantly one core skill they do not start with…

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Writing skill entrepreneurs

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of being a digital marketing mentor to a lot of MBA students and entrepreneurs.

I have always loved being able to help people who are just discovering what the internet can do for their businesses and how thinking asymmetrically can create growth and profits online.

In the process of mentoring a lot of these awesome people, I started to see a common trend and it profoundly affected me and has made me rethink everything about the way I teach digital business.

The internet is awesome.

It’s made it possible for an entrepreneur or a small team of people to create websites and online applications that compete against much larger businesses. This because they have mastered some skillset that is in demand and have figured out how to share it profitably with the rest of the world.

I used to believe that when entrepreneurs are starting to learn about starting an online business, they needed to learn everything about business, tools, terminology and technology.

While those are all important, there is one critical skillset that is often missed when people are learning to build digital businesses.

The ability to write properly and eloquently.

Frustrated writer

I have been stunned and shocked to see people who can master every other component of digital marketing be so intimidated by a blank screen or sheet of paper.

Lots of entrepreneurs are terrified of writing. They love building products, selling products, tinkering with website elements, landing pages and doing everything else but they are scared to actually learn how to write compelling content.

The irony is, they love consuming content from other writers!

My story

When I built one of my successful online businesses, it was based on Microsoft Windows. I realized that to really understand how to create compelling content around software, I had to learn how to write. Even about a topic I was only peripherally aware of at the time.

So I did.

I wrote over 7,000 articles in less than 8 years.

I wrote on websites, syndication sites, on financial sites, press releases, landing pages, editorials and more.

I started one article at a time and did it so much that it became second nature. I was edited by tough editors at sites like Seeking Alpha and had to rewrite content often to get it published. It was tough starting out but I learned.

Eventually, my content was so compelling that my website had 50,000 daily visitors and in 2010, I received a Microsoft MVP award for the Windows Desktop.

Build Conference Anaheim

Me at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim California – 2011

My ability to write got me into conferences where I met most of the popular technology writers I had always admired. I was a member of the press pool at Microsoft events – because I learned how to write.

That business made me close to a million dollars based on my digital marketing abilities BUT at the end of the day it all came down to one thing.

The ability to write and express myself.

It’s critical.

I learned this the hard way

When I would walk entrepreneurs through digital marketing basics and eventually get their sites up and running, I would find out that they either didn’t know how to write or hated writing.

That changed the way I teach.

Now I start off with a basic digital writing and copywriting class.

Once my students are able to write somewhat decently and properly, only then do we move to keyword research, idea validation etc.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out

If you have an idea for an online business, you should take a writing class. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you should learn how to write.

You should head to online resources like Udemy and search for “writing”.

Yes, you can hire a copywriter to do some things for you but the truth is, even the best copywriters can’t replace you.

Customers and clients are drawn to YOU. 

They come to your site, connect to you on social media and respond to your content because it’s YOU. This is true for every kind of business and it’s also why the most effective way to sell professional services online is with your blog.

The blog allows customers and visitors to see how you think and figure out whether your values are compatible with theirs. If they like how you think and express yourself, you’re more likely to make that sale or convert that visitor.

Also practice writing!

“I’m not a good writer!” – that’s a common refrain I hear.

No one starts out as a good writer. No one.

Some people do have natural talent but even that takes honing and practice until it’s perfected. Write one hundred articles in a month and I GUARANTEE you that the first and last article will be dramatically different.

The bottom line

The ability to express yourself is one of the most critical skills you can develop as an adult. It’s what gets you the VC money, what gets you the raise at work, the first date with a significant other and what gets your content to convert.

Learning how to write can change your life. I know this because it changed mine.

If you don’t know how to write, learn and if you’re a good writer, practice. This skill is often the difference between success and failure online.

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Editorial

Is Magic Leap’s new mixed reality headset the future of digital marketing?

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition, which the company calls a “spatial computing” device, officially ships in the US today for $2,295.

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magic leap mixed reality headset
Photo Credit - Magic Leap

The day is finally here and after billions of dollars spent and years of secret development, you can finally buy a Magic Leap mixed reality headset.

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition officially ships in the US today for $2,295.

It’s an interesting piece of technology – the system is packing an Nvidia Parker CPU with two Denver 2.0 64-bit cores and four ARM Cortex A57 64-bit cores. The GPU is an Nvidia Pascal with 256 CUDA cores, and the Lightpack has 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage capacity and a lithium-ion battery, though a full charge only powers three hours of continuous use.

The whole product consists of three main components. There’s the Lightwear headset, a pair of computerized goggles that drop over your eyes.

The Lightwear is connected to the Lightpack, a puck-shaped computer about the size of a portable CD player, which clips to your pocket.

The Lightpack houses a chip from Nvidia and provides power to the headset. Then there’s a remote that you hold in one hand that allows you to control the experience with a digital pointer that you can see through the glasses.

Magic Leap controller

The company has been talking about changing the way we see and use products for years now, racking up more than $2.3 billion in funding from the likes of Alibaba, Andreesen Horowitz, Google, Warner Bros., and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The early reviews from tech companies were pretty bad and now that an early version of it is here, it has been getting some pretty good reviews.

For a couple of really good Magic Leap reviews, check out the reviews at CNBC and The Verge.

Also a video review from The Verge below.

Now at over $2200, this is an industrial product which will make more sense for hardcore enthusiasts and businesses.

Magic Leap produces what most people call augmented or mixed reality experiences: hologram-like objects projected into three-dimensional space.

Modern smartphones offer a primitive version of mixed reality, and headsets like Microsoft HoloLens offer a more advanced version for industrial and professional use. Magic Leap has a more ambitious goal: it’s building futuristic mixed reality glasses for everyday computing, hoping to beat bigger companies like Apple or Facebook to market.

My take

Magic Leap is trying to do a REALLY big thing and my gut tells me that they aren’t quite there yet (and may never get there). As someone who was excited about the Playstation VR before I actually used it, I know that this mixed/virtual reality model is not easy to pull off.

I start thinking about the potential uses for the product and some of them are interesting.

  • A consumer might be shopping for a car and, with Magic Leap, could see that car right in their driveway and swap out the colors in real time.
  • Or a consumer browsing for a pair of shoes online and seeing what the shoes look like in 3-D from their desk.

I think that this is an interesting concept and I see what the company is trying to do but unfortunately I think that based on the reviews I have seen and the amount of money invested there are a few major problems.

First, based on where the company is in the development cycle, I think we are very far away from seeing any must have killer apps for it. The hardware hasn’t been ready so by definition, developers haven’t been ready either.

Second, while I have friends who have seen it and tell me that it’s pretty comfortable, it still looks a little too bulky. It’s a really tough problem to miniaturize hardware for virtual/mixed reality – REALLY hard.

Third, my gut tells me that it’s not technology that a consumer will want to use on a daily basis. It’s the vicious cycle of hardware not being ready, developers not being ready, no killers apps, early release, consumers apathetic.

Fourth, still way too expensive.

Finally, I think that they may be the right product but just at the wrong time. Maybe in a few years, the size of the technology will be as small as a pair of regular glasses and businesses will have the interest and apps for consumers but right now, I just don’t see it.

My own humble take is that unless something can drastically change within 18 months, the real story will be about how much money has been spent here and what investors can do to get their money back.

What do you all think?

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Editorial

The simple dirty little secret about Apple’s iPhone X

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Apple iPhone X

I guess I’ve been a computer geek all my life. I started out watching my brothers (who are 10 and 12 years older than I am) buy and use the latest computers back in the day.

My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81 (Google that) and all the other computers at that time (Commodore 64, Acorn Electron, BBC A and BBC B) etc etc

Then when I got older I was fascinated by PC’s. From the older IBM XT’s to newer desktop devices, I loved them all. I could take apart a PC and replace the motherboard and everything connected to it, chips, drivers, sound cards etc. I loved overclocking processors, hyper-threading and all that good stuff and it was all really exciting until one simple thing happened.

Intel CPU

PC processors hit the magic benchmark – the 3Ghz clock speed.

You see after all that, it didn’t really matter anymore – it was the point of diminishing returns where every computer was fast enough. After all, how much speed and power did you REALLY need to open up an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint doc or even a Photoshop document?

My friends, we have hit that moment again with Apple’s new iPhone X or iPhone Ten.

Apple's iPhone X

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard that Apple recently released a trio of phones – the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X.

They are all beautiful devices and if you want more details, feel free to check out the Verge’s obligatory annual ode to Cupertino.

I get it, Apple has made a bunch of beautiful phones and the new one is really big, uses an OLED screen and has facial recognition.

The dirty little secret about Apple’s iPhone X? – it’s not substantially more useful than my iPhone 7 Plus.

I have an Apple iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB of storage and portrait mode. It takes AMAZING photos day or night and it does a real novel thing as well – it lets me make and receive phone calls really well.

I watched the Apple crew present the iPhone X and apart from it being a really cool new gadget, I didn’t hear one substantive reason I HAD to buy it.

Facial detection – nice to have, what about law enforcement and privacy?

Faster processing – my phone’s plenty fast thanks

OLED screen – if that was a must have, I would have a Samsung

Wider screen – once again, nice but…

New Snapchat filters with facial recognition – what am I, 12 years old?

Augmented Reality – No killer apps yet

And here’s what makes it even worse – iOS 11 is going to make me LOVE my current iPhone even more.

A lot of naysayers said that once Steve Jobs died, Apple would run out of ideas and as we can see, that hasn’t been true. It’s a great company led by an able steward (TC).

The truth is, it’s not Apple’s fault – we have simply run out of things to do with a phone and unfortunately, these publicly traded companies can’t afford to admit that. So the race continues and Samsung will have to focus on a new phone with a trillion transistors on a super bionic chip and on and one we go.

I suspect both Apple and Samsung are fighting the last war. Phones are good enough, fast enough and powerful enough. Companies fighting this battle are becoming dinosaurs, looking up and patiently waiting for innovation meteorites to wipe them out.

If you are on an iPhone 6, you should upgrade to an iPhone 8, it’s time. If you’re on an iPhone 7 and higher, I suspect it’s going to be a much harder sell.

BONUS – check out this article from Digital Trends that shows how “innovative” these new features are.

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