The Majority Report

Sun, 16 Dec 2018

I’ve never been a sci-fi fan, having no interest in Star Trek, Star Wars or Star anything to be honest. However, I have always had a thing for films that look into the future, because I have learnt that, if Hollywood can come up with it, it will no doubt be real at some point in time. Okay, let’s quantify that. I’m yet to be convinced that either Father Christmas, the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy will really ever exist even though I’ve seen them on the silver screen in many a Disney film. However, it’s worth taking a look at back at some of the far-fetched inventions in celluloid that were once fictitious but have now been designed and manufactured – from wearable computers in Back to the Future II (1989), Skype (or a rudimentary version of it) in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), military robots in Short Circuit (1986) and self-driving cars in Total Recall (1990).

One film that really blew me away with its predictions for the future was Minority Report, made in 2002 and starring the diminutive Tom Cruise. The film was so ahead of its time in showing our world today, that it really is mindboggling how creative creative people can be.

Back to the future

In 2002, we didn’t have Smartphones. Social media, functional robots, consumer virtual reality and 3D printers had yet to be born. In Minority Report a plethora of technology is in abundance throughout the film. From touchscreen interfaces and swiping, to personal ads, voice-controlled homes and facial/optical recognition. At the time I remember being fascinated, and now I’m simply in awe of the technological advances that have occurred over the last decade, and yet I’m also worried about what our future looks like.

Trading places

 My latest concern has focused on artificial intelligence, which according to Wikipedia is…

“intelligent behaviour by machines, rather than the natural intelligence (NI) of humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. 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”."

According to me it’s about the rise of clever computers. The question is, how do you control software that is more intelligent than us?

I read an article on LinkedIn recently which did nothing to dispel my worries on the subject. According to Digital Journal, researchers at Facebook had to shut down an artificial intelligence program after it created its own language. The system developed code words to make communication more efficient and researchers took it offline when they realised it was no longer using English. A case in point of clever computers being smarter than humans. Where could that lead us? Have you ever watched The Terminator movies?!

Risky business

But what has all this got to do with me, you and the future of marketing? Well quite a bit actually. Personalised ads are now a reality with Google tracking everything you look at, watch, read or buy on the internet. Automation is happening everywhere with machines replacing humans. A recent study by Dell Technologies suggests that 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet. Authored by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 tech, business and academic experts from around the world it states:

"The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn 'in the moment' using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself."

How will all of this affect your job, business, life?

How to get ahead in advertising

In the meantime, the team at Cavalry has been looking at AI opportunities for clients, and we’re delighted to announce a new initiative we can offer from our friends at Billed as the world's first AI website assistant, Zepper is an artificial intelligence system that monitors your website, social media and competitors and uses what it finds to make suggestions for improvement to your digital channels. So, for example if you have a broken link on your website, Zepper will let you know. It will even report back on competitor social media activity. You can either work directly with Zepper or we can run your account and make any changes to your digital platforms based on its recommendations.

If you’re interested in embracing the future and seeing how AI can help your business, then get in touch. Or alternatively, if you’re worried you’ll be out of a job due to the rise of automation, check out