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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Digital Trends #6 - Data and artificial intelligence "algorithm"

January 2011

This is a series of posts on my take on the 11 digital trends for 2011. This sixth trend is on data and AI. The trends are not in order of importance.

In the January 2011 edition of Wired Magazine, the feature The AI Revolution Is On says “By using probability-based algorithms to derive meaning from huge amounts of data, researchers discovered that they didn’t need to teach a computer how to accomplish a task; they could just show it what people did and let the machine figure out how to emulate that behavior under similar circumstances.”

On the web, artificial intelligence is already part of many websites we visit daily: Google’s search, Facebook recommendation of friends and the top news feed, Amazon’s recommendation engine, Pandora’s and Last.fm’s recommendation engine. These AI (some call it algorithm, which I think isn’t correct) derive their “intelligence” from massive amount of data generated by the huge user base, rather than mimicking human intelligence.

AI is not analytics like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights. The goal of analytics is to offer you data for analysis and conclusions, while AI is to offer your users something actionable or tangible like a recommendation.

How is this relevant to marketing? Recommendation and personalization engine is the first in mind. However, it is clearly very costly and difficult, and you may not have a huge data set to begin with. I think the way to go is to rely on third party services, via API as discussed on Trend #5.

The Facebook Recommendations plugin is one of the first to offer such service. It uses data from user interaction with the target website and the user’s friends’ interaction. I believe it takes into account the user Social Graph as well.

Google has a whole library of APIs for its various services, and a few have AI features. Use at your own risk though. Surprisingly I find Google APIs quite unstable because there’s so many and they seem to be created by different teams (they are, actually). If you are using Google AdSense, the AdSence API allows you to generate codes that display contextual ads. The YouTube Data API has some form of recommendation API as well that you can query for “related videos”, and the Google Language API deals with translation.

My 2011 Watch List for data and AI:

  • Facebook Social Graph – I hope that the next step is to provide a set of APIs that give third parties AI capabilities such as recommendations based on the data from Facebook itself and the third party sites.
  • Foursquare - I am interested to see how Foursquare’s location data can be used for recommendations and personalization beyond the “Trending Now” feature. Or does it need to be integrated with Facebook Social Graph?

Via: http://blog.campaignasia.com/yonghwee/2011-digital-trends-6-data-and-artificial-intelligence-algorithm/

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