5 new technology stories that will change the world!

Our Futurist Elena Corchero has her eyes firmly set on the future. She is always on the lookout for new technology that will impact the way we play, work, travel and experience life. Check her top 5 stories that stood out this month.

MIT invested $1 billion in AI!

MIT recently announced  that they’re investing a huge $1 billion into the future of AI. This means that they will cover the costs of anyone heading to the establishment to study AI. It also puts the US firmly in the lead in the race to develop and grow AI in the direction they want to take it. At the moment AI could go in any direction however MIT is focussing on keeping the human in mind and prioritising ethics to ensure this tech is taken in the right direction. This focus on AI is a step away from how it’s been explored so far which has mainly been for profitability.

studying at MIT

Gillette started 3D printing razors!

The US razor giant Gillette has started 3D printing custom razor handles that customers can personalise via their website. 3D printing has been around for a good few years now. With a global brand trialing it, it marks another step forward for the new technology. Earlier this year Chanel also started 3D printing brushes to be used as part of a new mascara set. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to print everything you’ll ever need from the comfort of your home. Meaning more time for Netflix and less time fighting the weekend shoppers! 

Walmart prepped for Black Friday with VR!

Walmart are one of the first big retail brands to heavily invest in VR training for their staff. The US retail giant has purchased 17,000 Oculus Gos to help navigate staff through difficult situations within a virtual environment. They created a special Black Friday training program to help staff prepare for the retailer’s busiest day of the year. The simulation dropped staff into a busy shop with customers running around with packed trolleys and baskets. As Walmart continue to invest and see the benefits of VR training many more brands will begin to adopt the new technology over the coming years. So don’t be surprised if you’re handed a headset next time you have a staff training session. 

shopping bags

The first AI scripted ad was created!

Yes you read that right, AI is now scripting ads, all of you who thought you were safe from being replaced by a machine because you have a creative job best watch out! ‘Driven By Intuition’ was written by an AI and shot by an Oscar-winning director, Kevin Macdonald, for the new Lexus ES. The AI, built with Visual Recognition support from IBM Watson, was ‘trained’ with 15 years’ worth of Cannes-Lions-winning car and luxury advertisements. The AI was primed with emotional intelligence data from Unruly to teach it which moments of those adverts connected most strongly with viewers. 

New technology: Lexus advert

China’s social credit system heads for Beijing!

Finally, have you ever seen that Black Mirror episode where the world is run on a system where you’re rewarded or punished based on your social behaviour? Well it’s now a reality in China. It was first piloted in eastern China and the government has decided to start the process of rolling it out in Beijing to help closely monitor the reputations of the cities 22 million inhabitants. The new technology uses AI and image recognition through CCTV to track citizens and monitor their behaviour. However there have been a few issues with the tech, including the AI thinking that photos of individuals on bus adverts were real people and serving them tickets…so if you’re a model make sure you check the small print on your next contract!

That’s it for now. Check back each month for more new technology stories! Interested in meeting Elena and taking a tour of our Home of the future? Find out more by clicking here.

The&Partnership London and Lexus will next week unveil ‘Driven By Intuition’ – the world’s first advert written by an AI and shot by an Oscar-winning director, Kevin Macdonald, for the new Lexus ES.

Following on from the success of campaigns like The&Partnership’s 2015 Lexus Hoverboard Project, ‘Driven By Intuition’ aims to highlight Lexus’ credentials as a brand at the cutting edge of technical innovation, testing the boundaries of humans and machines working together.

By exploring the importance of intuition between man and machine, the campaign aims to showcase the uniquely responsive features of the new Lexus ES executive sedan – a car that responds intuitively to the driver’s intentions and changing road and traffic conditions.

The script for the 60” film was written by The&Partnership’s first “AI creative” – a specialist automated script-writer built in collaboration with tech partner Visual Voice.  The AI was given a unique understanding of human intuition which helped enable it to create a car advert to rival all others.

The AI, built with Visual Recognition support from IBM Watson, was ‘trained’ with 15 years’ worth of Cannes-Lions-winning car and luxury advertisements, and was primed with emotional intelligence data from Unruly to teach it which moments of those adverts connected most strongly with viewers. It was then coached in intuition via a bespoke experiment for The&Partnership by applied scientists MindX, based at the University of New South Wales. The study explored what makes somebody intuitive, as well as how people with high levels of intuition respond to car adverts.

The AI then produced the script for the campaign: a narrative rich in genuine human emotion and indistinguishable from something written by a human, bar some unexpected details. For example, the AI gives the character of the car sentience and surprising emotional depth – a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life. Alongside each line of the script, the AI produced a highly detailed data key, providing references spanning the 15 years’ worth of adverts it had studied to back up the effectiveness of each twist and turn in its storyline.

Some of the key findings from the AI in terms of the ingredients for a perfect car advert were that: the car doesn’t need to drive at all, unless this is part of the story; the driving should be peripheral to the story; characters in the story should have an emotional designator, for example a husband or father over driver or engineer; and the use of children helps increase the emotionality of an advert. Additionally, strong facial expressions are more powerful than strong language; ads are most effective where use of the spoken word is limited; use of a midpoint or twist is important to keep the story moving and to maintain interest; and the midpoint should involve an unexpected event, for example a crash or near miss.

The result is an unusual and engaging short drama: a 60” film telling the story of a Japanese Lexus Takumi Master craftsman who, having worked painstakingly on the new Lexus ES, releases his finished car out into the world – only for it to be kidnapped and nearly destroyed. At the crucial moment, however, the car comes to life to avoid its own test crash – demonstrating the engineering and design that make the new ES Lexus’s most intuitive model to date.

To bring the AI’s script to life, The&Partnership brought in visionary director Macdonald, whose films include ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘Whitney’ as well as Oscar-winning documentary ‘One Day in September’.

Macdonald said he was immediately intrigued by the concept, recognising how it required a different approach from a conventional film. “When I was handed the script,” said Macdonald, “the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential. The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a robot. The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge.”

The film is part of a multi-market, multi-asset platform rolling out across Europe to promote the Lexus ES executive sedan. The car’s innovative chassis boasts features including a GA-K (Global Architecture – K) platform and intelligent Lexus Safety System+ functions, enabling it to brake for the driver as well as responding to road and weather conditions.

The campaign, which will reach audiences across digital, social and cinema, was created and overseen by Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at The&Partnership London, and produced by Carnage.

Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at The&Partnership London, said: “I thought I’d be writing an ad with the assistance of A.I. Instead it took over and wrote the whole script: a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life. A lot of other AI work to date has been interesting because of the process itself. This has been fascinating – maybe scary – because the end product is good in its own right.”

Vincent Tabel, Senior Brand Manager at Lexus Europe, said: “Here at Lexus we love to push the boundaries of technology and design, and that’s why we wanted to do something completely different – a world first – to launch the new Lexus ES. The ES is both intuitive and innovative, so we wanted the advert to reflect this. The resulting film surpasses our expectations of what an AI is capable of, from its creativity to its human emotion.”

Alex Newland, Co-Founder of Visual Voice, said: “This was both a challenging and fascinating project to be a part of. From the outset, it was almost impossible to know what level of quality or intelligibility the AI would produce. To see the project brought together with such a rich finished piece is extremely satisfying to witness. We believe this project moves AI-generated content from being a novelty gimmick into the beginnings of true, stand-alone creative merit.”

The&Partnership London’s CEO Sarah Golding has called upon the advertising industry as President of the IPA to grasp the opportunities for growth afforded by bringing AI and creative talent together. Her two-year ‘Magic & the Machines’ agenda for the IPA aims to future-proof commercial creativity, and challenges advertising practitioners to embrace ‘our new colleagues, the machines’ in order to produce more creative magic.

Said Golding: “Working on a collaboration between Lexus, Kevin Macdonald and an AI creative has been our most exciting foray into Big, Bold and Bionic creativity to date. It’s fascinating to see how the AI has absorbed and drawn on Cannes Lions’ most prized car and luxury ads – but the dollop of magic sauce is in our AI’s insights into human intuition, and how to provoke an emotional response in an audience.”

Check out the ad below.

Many say premium publishers have been disintermediated from their audiences by programmatic buying and selling. However, since GDPR  landed, browsers have clamped down on 3rd party cookies and initiatives like ads.txt and ads.cert have taken a hold. The practices adopted by the buy side to find premium audiences are being challenged and publishers are very much back in the driving seat.

At our Unruly Trust Talks: The Great Programmatic Debate coming up in the UK, we decided to take a look back at last month’s one in New York where Unruly COO Kenneth Suh spoke to Chris Guenther, Global head of programmatic at NewsIQ, Brendan Cleary, VP of Programmatic Sales at The Guardian, and Rachel Tuffney, Head of Financial Vertical Sales at Dow Jones, to find out their thoughts on this matter.

Has programmatic changed your business for better or for worse?

Rachel Tuffney (RT): For us at Dow Jones, programmatic is an enabler. We always have to go back to what the consumer wants. When programmatic first started out it was all about ad networks and cheap CPMs. It has evolved so drastically now, and with the application of AI, I think there is a lot of opportunity. Having worked for publishers for the past 20 years, I really think this is an exciting time for our industry. In the past six months there’s been more change than there has in the past five years!

Chris Guenther (CG): I think from the client perspective it’s great. It has given them the ability to manage campaigns more seamlessly across multiple publishers, and get the results in a cohesive manner. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but if you think through what digital is supposed to be about (accountability and ease of transaction) then programmatic is helping the industry to achieve this.

Brendan Cleary (BC): I think it has changed for the better. Granted there are some issues, however there are no other industries that enable businesses to monetise on sold inventory as seamlessly as we are able to do now.

Kenneth Suh (KS): What we’ve noticed at Unruly, within the world of programmatic advertising, is that sometimes it seems like it levels the playing field. This means there is a premium to be paid for premium publishers pre-programmatic. One of the growing issues we see is where buyers have a block list and as long as you’re not on the block list your content is seen as fine. This can devalue your property in a way that you may not have wanted it to.

What issues do you see premium publishers who invest lots of money and time in maintaining a level of premium content for their audiences facing?

RT: From our perspective, The Wall Street Journal has been a membership site since 1997 so for us we’ve always had a different revenue stream coming in. The data we collect and offer from a first party perspective is extremely valuable. We have a very wealthy audience, and everybody wants to be in front of that audience. As a result there is a premium associated with that.

I oversee the financial services which is a very select audience for brands to try and get in front of. It’s also not just about being in front of audiences. There’s also huge value in being associated with premium brands. Being aligned and partnered with The Wall Street Journal has a lot of value.

CG: When programmatic first started, everyone bought into impressions and that’s why it didn’t matter about the exchange. As long as you had the lowest CPM and you got a good number of impressions people were happy.

Now that there are so many complex insights and measurement tools, people have realised that although their impressions are high, it doesn’t mean that their ads are being shown to the right people. Brands are also now concerned about ads being shown in environments that they don’t want to be associated with.

With new tools we are able to start to understand more about audiences. It’s still not perfect but it is moving in the right direction. I think that that’s why we are seeing high DSP in premium environments. With the combination of premium content and a good site experience you definitely get a better result than just not really caring where your ad ends up.

panel talking about programmatic at trust talks in New York

How are we going to make programmatic easier for people?

RT: There is so much going on within the programmatic space. With so many different companies working independently, it’s difficult to know where the real issues lie. If we want to improve programmatic we all need to start working together better.

CG: First of all there’s the complexity of the adtech stack. There are players within the ecosystem who thrive based on the complexity and based on the lack of transparency. So how do we remove these players? Ultimately the people with the most influence on the buy side who are the ones with all the money. They need to choose the right path and the right partners. We can then start to remove some of those bad players.

However, you need to be careful when simplifying your adtech stack as it could mean that you are working with a player who has too much influence in the market. One that is very much focused on black box, and not having a fair auction process. We need to figure out how to find the middle ground between too much complexity and too little complexity.

How do you view Google, Facebook and Amazon, and how do they fit in with how you run a successful business?

CG: As a publisher it’s our responsibility to not be complacent and not just go with the easiest partners. If you are primarily working with these companies you need to be monitoring them and their services, and understanding how they are affecting your business and the wider industry.

BC: I think businesses just need to make sure they are working with a variety of different companies and services. Putting all your eggs in one basket means that a change in an algorithm could end your business!

Get in touch to find out more about our verified marketplaces, brand safety shield and programmatic offerings.

On this week’s episode of the Unruly Home Show Live Leo Bernard talks to Honda’s Marketing Manager, Benjamin Neu, about their robotic lawnmower, and how connected devices are branching out from the home into the garden!

Check out previous episodes of the Unruly Home Show Live.

Not sure what to see at Advertising Week New York? With so many venues, speakers and topics, it can be overwhelming! We’ve broken down the three areas which continue to dominate discussions within the ad industry. We’ve also highlighted the talks we are looking forward to around each topic.

Why are people still talking about Blockchain?

It feels like we have been talking about blockchain forever, and that’s because we have. Ten years in fact! The first blockchain was conceptualised back in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It’s come a long way since then and many people believe that the technology will revolutionise numerous markets including the advertising sector.

With problems of fraud, complicated supply chains and lack of control over data privacy, many believe that blockchain could help to bring some transparency back into digital advertising. They believe this will be done replacing the current online model with one in which companies have more control over campaign performance tracking, and ensuring equitable outcomes.

Whatever your thoughts are on the technology it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. There are lots of discussions and talks planned around how it could disrupt digital advertising next week.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

Out of all the talks on blockchain this year, we’re especially looking forward hearing Venture Capitalist Bill Tai’s Blockchain Crash Course. This is happening on Thursday afternoon on the IBM Watson stage.

How much longer do I have to wait until machines can think for me?

AI is advancing all the time and Google recently revealed Duplex. This gives their Assistant the ability to make calls on your behalf. It can also book appointments for you like your haircut, or a table at your favourite restaurant! Scary I know!

Boston based emotional intelligence company Affectiva are also working on software which will allow AI to read facial expressions. This will open up the possibility of assistants being able to make recommendations to us without us needing to say a word to them!

AI robots

More and more companies are creating voice assistants, and piggybacking on the tech of Alexa, Google or Messenger to create specialised assistants. A good example of this is Diageo’s “Open the bar”, or Estée Laude offering nutritional advice, where you have the dialogue with the brand, not Alexa.

Our Futurist, Elena Corchero recently wrote an article around how AI and future tech will change the way brands communicate with consumers. She believes that if brands are not careful they will easily get bypassed by other tech savvy competitors. AI will be a huge talking point at Advertising Week.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

After appearing on our Home Show Live, we are looking forward to hearing IV.AI’s views on the impact of AI on different industries. We are also looking forward to IBM kicking off the week with their ‘Survival of the Fittest in an AI World’ talk.

Is retail dead yet?

shopping mall

Over the past year the conversation around retail has changed. Many thought that physical stores would eventually shut down and everything would move online. Although we have seen a lot of store closures and retail chains disappearing in the US, many retailers have embraced the digital era. They are finding new ways to attract customers with combined on and offline advertising campaigns.

Rather than seeing the online space as separate to the physical store, many retailers are combining their approach and using digital to attract customers to their stores. Amazon opened their first physical store in the US last year. It allows customers to shop by simply taking products off the shelf and charging them directly rather than having to queue at a till.

The online US lingerie company Adore Me opened their first physical stores last year. After seeing the benefits of having a combined on and offline presence, they have announced that they plan to open another 200-300 stores in the US in the next five years.

As retailers continue to see the benefits of a combined on and offline approach, they are looking for their ad campaigns to follow suit. Expect a lot of conversations around the benefits and drawbacks of combining online and offline advertising in campaigns.

What to see at Advertising Week New York

This year there are a number of talks on this subject. We are especially looking forward to hearing SET’s CEO Alasdair Lloyd-Jones on why he believes the retail apocalypse is a myth.

To find out how we could help improve your ad campaigns check out our offering.

If you are going to be at Advertising Week and would like to chat with one of our team get in touch.

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Unruly Futurist Elena Corchero talks about her experience at DMEXCO earlier this month, the future of advertising, and how to avoid brand bypass.

This year a lot of the conversations we had were around the future of advertising and the rise of ambient tech. We also spoke about the growth of data produced by humans, and how it’s doubling every year.

Everyone knows that voice technology and voice shopping is on the rise. However, I was surprised about the number of brands who hadn’t considered the implications of brand bypass.

Brand bypass in AI

Companies are using voice assistants, and piggybacking on the tech of Alexa, Google or Messenger to create specialised assistants. A good example of this is Diageo’s “Open the bar”, or Estée Laude offering nutritional advice, where you have the dialogue with the brand, not Alexa. This is one way for brands to avoid the brand bypass.

It’s a big issue. I spoke to a lot of people about the new B2B: bot to bot. In the future new AI applications will take over interaction, negotiation and even advertising which will lead to the elimination of choice for consumers. Just think it through: the first brand you choose comes into your connected home, and there are going to be many barriers to switch that brand out for another.

Imagine your fridge has image recognition. It knows what brands you have on the shelves so when you run out of juice, the fridge and home AI reorder the same juice for delivery. So when are you going to switch brands? It’s going to take significant energy to get in the way of that bot to bot transition.

Brand bypass in voice

Another example is that we will order through voice but not mention a specific brand. This means our AI will default to our usual choice. Appliances are partnering with cleaning brands so they can already come pre-programmed to order specific chemicals such as detergent or dishwasher tablets.

Finish, smart dishwasher

It’s clear we need to understand how to use these technologies to create stronger brand and emotional connections, and also how these technologies can allow people to switch brands when they know something better is available.

Brand bypass in image recognition

Brand bypass is also an issue in image recognition. Google had an enormous stand at DMEXCO showing image recognition technology. I checked it out and it was a surprise to me to see how many brands had not considered the impact of this. Not least the value of the data which the image search platforms will generate. They will know exactly what people are searching for and buying to a highly accurate level. This sort of data can impact the manufacturing chain. Pinterest gets around 600,000 visual searches a month, so consumers are ahead of brands on this!

All the ambient technologies were on show at DMEXCO. For me, voice is where the action is. Primarily because the car will drive voice adoption. New cars are increasingly voice enabled, so when you leave the car and don’t have that assistance, you’re going to miss it!avoiding brand bypass in voice activated cars

Ambient tech awareness

Strangely, as I talked people through the implications of voice, AR and AI technologies, the most common question I was asked was “is this out now?”

Many people, senior brand marketers among them, didn’t realise how these ‘futuristic’ things were actually here now, even in a mature market like Germany. And where there was some awareness of ambient tech, there was very little first-hand experience.

It reaffirmed the role the Home plays in telling the story of ambient technology, which is essential if brands are going to build effective consumer relationships and deliver effective, relevant and timely advertising. The future of advertising is already here!

Unruly futurists Elena Corchero and Leo Bernard

Find out more about our connected home, and book in a tour with one of our Futurists.

This week on the Unruly Home Show Live Elena Corchero chats to Neil Stubbings, Managing Director at IV.AI, who shows us how brands can use messaging platforms to communicate with customers in new ways. He also demonstrates how Netflix have been using their tech to communicate with consumers and recommend content depending on their mood, and how Smashbox are using it to help consumers try different types of makeup.

Check out previous episodes of the Unruly Home Show Live.

In this week’s episode of the Unruly Home Show Live, Elena Corchero chats to Charlotte Morris and Jo Osborne, the founders of SkinNinja, an exciting new app that uses AI to allow consumers to be more informed about their personal care products. Charlotte and Jo demo the app, discuss the idea behind it, and how it helps consumers to make better decisions about the products they use.

This article was first published on The Drum.

Technology cycles like this: magic, mainstream, mundane. Artificial Intelligence is firmly in its mainstream moment and is becoming so embedded in the everyday that we risk not noticing it at all.

Self-driving cars, humanoid robots and Go grand masters may grab the popular imagination, but it’s the way that AI is seeping into everything from voice recognition to fast food delivery that better illustrates its quiet ubiquity. Alexa and Siri don’t just seem to be getting smarter, they are getting smarter, day by day, along with most other connected devices.

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Unruly’s New Video Targeting Tool Uses Watson Cognitive Computing To Help Increase Sales From Online Consumers

LONDON, NEW YORK – December 15th, 2016 – British ad tech company Unruly has turned to IBM Watson to create a new cognitive powered psychographic targeting tool to increase the effectiveness of digital video ads. Unruly DNA combines the company’s emotional intelligence tools with IBM Watson’s machine learning capabilities to help identify and engage the people most likely to increase a brand’s sales.

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