Recent advancements in cognitive intelligence have substantially influenced brands and the ways in which they engage with their audience and consumers. Not only have they discovered novel ways of engagement - brands have also, through recent iterations of CI, developed methods of building human-like relationships with their consumers. Further obscuring the boundaries between brand and citizen, this serves pivotal in connecting with consumers. Thus it becomes necessary to ask the question - at what point, if it exists at all, should brands opt to not engage?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ethics thought leader The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, Global Procurement Communication of Sanofi Astrid Boutaud, and Havas' global head of marketing innovation Jason Jercinovic discuss the topic at length and in depth at Cannes Lions 2017’s panel on The Creative Ethics of Cognitive Intelligence.
Jercinovic muses on how artificial intelligence has transformed this era, making it the age of human empowerment. While these developments are most welcome, they certainly are not without risk, as Jercinovic points out, “as AI evolves, we have to make sure the data [it collects] is not used in the wrong way.”
In agreement with her co-panelist, Boutaud stresses the need, more than ever, for responsible marketing - “[AI] should be programmed for the benefit of humanity,” she emphasizes. Moreover, she challenges industries to think ahead, and create, if not reevaluate their own codes of ethics.
On the other hand, The Venerable Priyadarshi takes a philosophical approach in addressing cognitive intelligence, regarding ethics as a form of optimization. He explains, “how can you design [AI] for the greater good, such that you have the least regret?” He ventures a possibility, in that there exists no wrong answer, but these decisions have to be made with the most thorough deliberation.
With the pace that CI continues to advance, brands are sure to establish more integrated ways of engaging and building more meaningful relationships with their consumers. While the question of ethics remains at large unanswered, the fact that this continues to spark much-needed discourse among a wide range of industries proves it a step in the right direction.
“No longer are we waiting for the future to come to us,” remarks Jercinovic, “we’re creating it ourselves.”