Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics

Nothing is going to change the way we live our lives more than the Internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics. While these technologies will make life a lot easier and businesses more efficient and profitable there is a huge flip side as well. This has to do with employment prospects and if some prominent scientists are to be believed artificially intelligent machines might one day turn on their creators and destroy all humanity.

The Internet of things is expected to connect people, data, processes and devices on a gargantuan scale by the end of the decade-a whopping 50 billion connections. Before one starts worrying about the prospects of humanity being at risk from a take-over by machines, one needs to figure out how the opportunities presented by the Internet of things are put to optimal use, which in itself will require some doing.

The biggest existential threat to us will not be from sci-fi movie like scenarios where artificially intelligent machines and robots will rebel against humans, but by the security vulnerability that this mass scale convergence could give rise to. A less than perfectly designed system could for example impact upon the whole network and lead to disastrous consequences on an unprecedented scale.

Considering that real artificial intelligence is presently at an infantile stage, it is rather silly to be tilting at wind mills when we worry about the danger it poses to humans. Let us learn to fully reap the benefits that the Internet of things, some rudimentary artificial intelligence and smartly evolving robotic technologies bring to us. When the time comes we will ourselves find the solution to any potential threat in the future. We always have.

In the meantime we need to prepare our youngsters to handle these emerging technologies as this will help them find employment in the times ahead. There will of course be job losses for some on account of the increase in all round automation, but there will be other opportunities aplenty for those who anticipate and prepare for the paradigm shift in the way businesses and organisation will conduct their affairs in the times ahead.  We are entering very interesting times indeed.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The best kind of content.

Everybody agrees that great content is a great idea. The question is what constitutes great #content. In the first instance what is content? Is it an amalgamation of written, audio and audio-visual messaging and data? How is content stored? In documents and audio and video files, some would say. But don't we have content stored in our heads, which we can retrieve as and when we require it?

It follows that content by itself serves no purpose. You may remember all the verses of a holy book, but they would serve no purpose unless you were a priest who needs to recite them at religious ceremonies. Similarly for a farmer, albeit a modern one a play by Shakespeare would probably hold little value(unless he is inclined towards the literary arts) while the weather alert he receives on his phone in the shape of text messages would be.

So it would seem that when it comes to creating relevant content, marketers need to follow the horses for courses approach. That being said each type of content has its specific advantages.

1. #Written Content: This is the most prolific kind of content that we have known as man has kept written records of activity since the early days of civilization. All that mankind has learned over thousands of years has been possible with the help of written content. Every subject known to us-history, science, geography, religion and literature was propagated with the help of written content and this continues till today.

Written content gives one the luxury of understanding complex issues and phenomena at length and at a pace that the reader is comfortable with. Besides, this is the cheapest form of communication and provides one with a permanent record for future reference. This is possibly the reason why most official documents in the world are in written form.

2.# Audio Content: Audio content has always been in vogue and in fact predates written content. We could hear someone speak, even before we learned to read and write. The modern era saw radio being put to great use by leaders to broadcast their message simultaneously to vast multitudes of people, something not possible prior to that.

Politicians and entertainers were quick to grasp the potential of this new medium of communication and used it with telling effect for propaganda and publicity. Then of course there is the advantage of being better able to communicate with the visually impaired and those with poor education. That apart it is a pretty efficient and cost effective means of quickly communicating with large masses of people

Telemarketers who are trained to pitch skillfully on the telephone are a great example of audio content being put to efficient use. Of course with the advent of the Internet and chatting software audio content can be transmitted seamlessly across the world.

3. Audio Visual Content: In terms of receptivity and retention, this is definitely the most impactful means of communication. That is possibly the reason why Shakespeare's plays, which were essentially meant to be an audio visual form of communication courtesy the medium of theater, became so universally popular.

The advent of cinema showed how truly powerful this medium was with masses of people literally hero worshipping the actors and actresses who essayed myriad parts on the silver-screen. Television further extended the reach of this the audio visual format and today with the advent of social media and the Internet, it has assumed a life of its own with anybody being able to create and promote audio visual content.

Audio video content has grown in importance tremendously because of technology aided ease of creation and this has led to its being the flavor of the season for all kind of marketing. Audio #video content or video content has inherent advantages that make it a more potent tool than any other form of communication. Firstly video content comes closest in simulating real life situations and is therefore able to immediately connect with the audience on a more emotional level than any other form of content.

Video content closely approximates word of mouth advocacy which is statistically the best way of promoting anything. This is the reason why social video campaigns generate billions of views worldwide. If people are really taken in by a video,they tend to share it and that is what explains its popularity. That is why more and more companies are embedding videos on their websites. Who knows that their content may go viral and bring them millions of customers?!