Internet + Humanity // What would it mean for humans to become data?

“I’m not comfortable with my body, so I want to get rid of it. This thing. All the arms and legs and every single bit of it. I don’t want to be flesh. I’m going to escape this thing and become digital. I want to live my life forever as information.”

Bethany, the Years and Years transhumanist character, demonstrates the conundrum posed by merging human and machine. The short video presented outlined Bethany’s desire to live eternally as information:

Two parents are worried. Their teenage daughter Bethany has been hiding behind a 3D animated emoji mask and has scheduled a talk with them. Trying to figure out what they’re up against, they sneak a peek at her internet searches. When they discover that she’s been searching for information about being trans, they’re relieved; they can handle a transgender child.

Except when it comes time for their talk, Bethany tells her parents she’s transhuman and that she wants to “live forever as information.” 

This set the scene for the night’s conversation with an incredible array of more than suitably qualified people to lead the discussions:

A strange new world

How do we address the issue of being more online than not? What happens when we blend our bodies with technology? And how and where are the ethicists who are ensuring we actually consider the impacts of our actions?

Is technology evil? We all know that technology is changing at a pace that is difficult to keep up with .. especially when we are trying to keep up with our busier and busier day-to-day lives.

Humans opened the Pandora’s box of merging technology and biology a long time ago, and we’re now speeding head-on into the consequences, despite not knowing what humanity will become.

Integrating bionics into humans holds out the prospect of fuller participation by people with previously untreatable conditions.

The belief that humans should use technology to escape suffering and to expand human abilities is now real. Benjamin Richards, the Executive Producer at Apothecary Films, shared an example of VR being used by paraplegics where they could see their limbs move which in turn created new neural pathways, to the extent that some patients regained bladder control and in some cases increased muscle strength to allow them to drive.

The use of technology to enhance life can also be seen in this video – grab your tissues and watch (your first assumptions will be challenged): (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPluc5BJNlE&feature=youtu.be

How do we regulate the speed of change to ensure policy and ethical issues are considered before it’s too late?

We need to remember that technology itself is neutral, but in the hands of humans, it can be the vehicle for destruction or for deliverance.  

Depending on who wields it and how, technology can be or do just about anything. That also means that those who wield it can be or do just about anything. 

So how do we ensure that we understand the consequences of new digital and tech developments? No one knows what it would mean for humans to become data or to exist forever in the cloud, but we do know that such an advancement would fundamentally change humanity. That’s neither inherently good nor inherently bad; change is constant and inevitable. 

We need to SLOW. THINGS. DOWN.

This was the sentiment across the panel. The ethicists need time to consider the consequences of new digital and tech developments. And if we continue to push and develop at the rates we have seen in recent years, we do not allow time for that consideration.

The panel noted that there is some relief knowing that companies like Apple are slowing down some of their release timelines on things like wearables. Despite having over 1000 engineers working on these products, the delay is, in fact, good as it allows policymakers and ethics-implementers time to catch up pre-law and regulate products before mass-adoption.

We also need to take the rose coloured glasses off and think about what happens when the tech goes wrong. How is it regulated? And how do companies adhere to ethics that haven’t yet been articulated?

On hope for the future

How do we ensure we create a future that is for the greater good rather than one that lines the pockets of the few (especially when we know companies like Google have removed their “do no evil” mantra)?

On this Fiona Kerr, Founder and CEO at The NeuroTech Institute, very eloquently suggested that perhaps we need to simply start with the human-centric questions. If we start with a positive question and look at how technology can assist us in finding the answer we will succeed.

If we start with “how can we make more money” or “how can we build a mass scaling product” … we are doomed to fail.

Dimity Dornan, Executive Director & Founder at Hear and Say / Bionics Queensland, reinforced the sentiment of technology for good when she said:

“If you are ever worried about whether tech is good or evil, you simply need to watch the face of a deaf child who (thanks to bionic implants) hears the sound of their parent’s voice for the first time.

We all have our own perceptions of technology and its place in the world, mine were somewhat sci-fi stereotypical. I think we all need to take the time to rethink the direction, drivers and impact of technology on how we think. We should be willing to look for new solutions and more nuanced consideration of how our future lives will be impacted so that we can help steer things in a positive direction.

……..

Thank you to Ben Johnston, CEO of Joseph Mark for both hosting and moderating the event.

Thank you to Lisa and her team at Bright Humans for creating the Night Nomad series.

Thank you to the panelists who are truly incredible in their respective fields.

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laptop on desk showing data

7 Ways That Programmatic Platforms Are Changing Advertising

Looking for a new way to advertise your business?

Thinking about using programmatic platforms?

While you may or may not have heard about it before, programmatic advertising is the way of the future. Programmatic platforms are changing the advertising landscape. They’re also changing the way that advertisers get their message out into the world.

Advertisers need to understand the many benefits of programmatic ads if they want to stay competitive. Unfortunately, if you’re unfamiliar with programmatic ads, it can be hard to understand exactly what they’re all about.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Below we’ll tell you about 7 big ways that programmatic advertising is changing the advertising industry.

1. Advertisers Are Embracing Automation

One of the top features of programmatic advertising is that it offers an automated way to buy advertising. Real-time bidding (RTB) functions as a large majority of this automation and allows for the automatic auctioning and buying of ad space.

Automated algorithms work to offer an ad to a user at the right time. It will be shown when they’ll be most likely to react to it in a positive way and when it will be most relevant to them. Advertisers can set requirements for placements and for their audience. Users can be targeted in a variety of ways including the device they use, personal interests, and their location.

With programmatic advertising, ad campaigns can be strategically managed and maintained. Ads will be shown only in the right places at the right times. This is in direct opposition to the traditional advertising approach of reaching as many people as possible every time.

2. Real-time Insights Are Influencing Business Decisions

Programmatic ads also offer advertisers the ability to see real-time insights and user data. Not only are bids managed in real time, but advertisers will always have full visibility into what is going on with their campaigns.

User data can be gathered and segmented automatically based on devices used, channels, and demographics. This extensive data can help predict possible pitfalls with a campaign, stopping it from continuing if necessary. It can also help advertisers find patterns that will allow businesses to make better decisions with future campaigns.

3. Ads Are Becoming More Personalized

With programmatic advertising, there’s never been better personalization and targeting available. Better targeting features and automation are helping advertisers to reach the exact people they need to reach at the right time. This allows businesses to more easily target people who are likely to take action, buy a product, or convert.

It’s important for a business to know who their target audience is when creating an advertising campaign. Advertisers can target users based on location, demographics, search terms, and other data. Because of this, advertisers who have a very specific customer base will be able to reach them more easily than ever before.

4. Advertisers Are Gaining More Control

Programmatic ads also offer more control for advertisers. With the increased amount of transparency, advertisers will have more control over the entire process. While much of the process will be automated, businesses will have more control over the type of people they reach and their goals.

Programmatic advertising campaigns are more transparent. They allow advertisers to see what types of customers are seeing their ads, what sites are being reached, and exactly what they’re paying. They’ll be able to tweak things to exactly the way they want them and will never be kept in the dark about how their ads are performing.

5. More Cross-Platform Advertising

Programmatic ads are also encouraging more cross-platform advertising. Programmatic ads appearing on all types of devices from smartphones to computers to TV. The rise of programmatic advertising is helping advertisers to pursue an omnichannel approach and ads are being optimized for each platform.

These days, people access the web from many platforms and devices. Programmatic ads can be used to help automatically determine where an ad fits best and where it will be most effective. This will help ensure that advertisers are always putting their message across on the right platform. They won’t have to simply hope they made the best choice for their ad location.

6. Advertisers Are Increasing Their Reach

Programmatic advertising can also help advertisers to have a wider reach. They’ll be able to discover new audiences through the use of advanced targeting and real-time bidding.

Programmatic advertising works to get an ad in front of the best possible person across many platforms and devices. It allows you to move beyond a few select advertising spots to get an ad to its best possible placement. With advanced targeting features and the use of “look-alike audiences”, it can be even easier to find the right type of person to show an ad to.

With programmatic advertising tools, advertisers will have a wider reach than ever before. They’ll ensure that they’re reaching the people who will respond the most positively to their message.

7. Increased Advertising Efficiency

Due to the many benefits of programmatic ads, advertising campaigns are becoming more efficient and effective than ever before. With improved targeting features, real-time bidding, and insights, programmatic advertising is helping businesses reach their ideal audience. This is being done in an automated way and with the fewest steps possible.

Many advertisers want the best bang for their buck and don’t want to rely on guesswork or a mass advertising approach. In this case, programmatic ads improve the process and make a much more useful choice for businesses.

Making the Switch to Programmatic Platforms

The advertising industry is always going through changes. However, programmatic advertising may end up being one of the most impactful of all. If you want to experience more success with your advertising campaigns, it may be time for you to get on board with programmatic platforms.

Need help with your advertising strategy? Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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Deciphering Digital Transformation in the Marcomm Industry

The business world is an ever-changing matrix, shifting to reflect every new piece of technology going. To keep up with these changes the industry must remain reactive, creating new ideas almost constantly. 

Remain Customer-Centric

The consumer mindset changes almost as often as job roles; both shifting constantly to reflect new trends and opportunities. Customers are no longer willing to wait, instead expecting everything to be available at their fingertips. Brands no longer have the option to use multiple touchpoints; rather, they HAVE to engage in every one of these just to appear relevant in today’s society.

Different generations and genders demand different experiences. The most successful companies will be those who are engaging not only with the black and white of each of these categories, but also all the different shades of grey in the middle. Experts have predicted that over the next five years, 85% of relationships between the business and consumer will be conducted without any human input companies have to resolve to move with the shift, reaching into digital spaces and creating new ways for their consumers to engage with them. As modes of communication develop, so too must our communication with the consumer, finding ways to enhance their experience of the brand. 

Real vs. Virtual Environments

Real and Virtual environments are no longer two separate entities. These days, the two have become blurred, working in harmony to ensure the consumer gets the communication they want. The marcomm landscape has shifted and created an explosion in customer experience online as the number of individuals “logging on” shoots up.

Despite this, expert reports show that 82% of Millennial’s would still opt to shop in a physical store, proving that those most active on their mobile devices would still choose a physical store.

Artificial Intelligence is decreasing the demand for human interaction across a huge range of sectors, though the problem still remains – how can a machine create a customised experience for each individual? In answer, it comes down to how we engage and use AI to enhance the consumer experience rather than replace it. The online is working with the physical in so many areas, we fail to see how this cannot be adapted to work, creating a bridge between AI and human intelligence. 

New Technologies mean New Jobs

Another stat: it’s predicted that as AI and technology continues to develop, most children in school now will end up doing jobs we cannot yet comprehend.

Though not all job industries are under threat of an AI takeover, there are many whose jobs could be at risk of a technology takeover. For example, farming is a huge worldwide industry, but the creation of more intelligent machinery is making light work of our existing manual labour jobs.

In the marcomm industry, automation of some aspects of work is inevitable, though there is a huge opportunity to embrace and work alongside this. The machines may be efficient and ruthless in their perfect execution, but human intelligence is where the creative ideas lie – and that is why marketing companies must be careful to integrate their employees in with AI. 

Integrated Marketing Communications

Basically, this means deciphering exactly what people want to see and hear. It’s an experiential means of communication, which is growing increasingly more interesting and challenging as the variety of platforms for receiving marketing is expanding.

These communications are chosen by profitability, identifying the most profitable means of engaging with the individual and then exploiting this for the good of the brand. The brand message must be seamless across channels, following the individual round as they browse the online world.

It is vital that we see these new developments as opportunities rather than challenges and obstacles. The growth in technology and the current digital transformation has created a world in which we can be innovative in our approach, and the way we work with the technology rather than against it. 

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