One of the most pressing concerns facing marketers is whether we’ll even have jobs in a few years as machine learning and artificial intelligence become more powerful. I spent the last week as IBM’s guest at their Vision 2017 conference and saw what some of the cutting edge technologies have to offer.
Are we going to lose our marketing jobs?
In a word: no.
To dig in more, IBM created a tool called Node-RED, which is a workflow-based tool that allows non-programmers – us – to interact with sophisticated software in user-friendly ways. Node-RED gives marketers access to the full power of Watson’s APIs as well as many other libraries for data processing, algorithms, the Internet of Things, and machine learning in a drag-and-drop environment.
Marketers like us create workflows in Node-RED without writing code. That means we focus our creative energies on designing and architecting solutions rather than finding a missing semi-colon in a tangle of code.
Suppose we want to solve the management of a customer service inbox. Using Node-RED, we might rig an inbox checker to scan incoming messages for sentiment, then use Watson to understand what the message is about. Based on Watson’s assessment, we could route the emails to different departments, from other email lists to Slack bots to even call centers and CRMs:
The above workflow took me about 2 minutes to set up. Granted, it’s just a prototype that has had no formal planning or requirements gathering, but the point is that it would have taken me hours to write the same code, and I’m not sure what quality it would have been. A less technical marketer might not have been able to draft up a solution at all.
This technology makes me optimistic about our future as marketers in a world run by AI. Instead of cryptic black boxes which might or might not do what we want them to do, AI might be made this accessible to everyone. That means instead of spending our time doing menial, repetitive tasks, we will instead be able to design and build a brilliant future for ourselves, our families, our companies, and our communities. Instead of AI taking away jobs, with technology and interfaces like Node-RED, more people than ever might be able to create new, exciting, creative careers in AI.
The future is bright – and it’s already here.
Disclosure: IBM paid for my travel and expenses to attend IBM Vision 2017. No other form of compensation was provided, and I was not required to create content from the event.
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of Marketing Blue Belt!