By Rob Oquendo

A computer manages my money. Not really, but it does help… A LOT.

The investment landscape has changed and, from a consumer perspective, it’s for the better. When I get together with my financial advisor now, we’re talking market trends and big picture stuff. I’m telling him my goals, he’s telling me how he’s seen others get to where I want to go, and then he’s helping me get there too. What he’s not doing is sitting on the phone moving my money from place to place. He lets the computer do that.

Technology—artificial intelligence, specifically—has changed his job. But he doesn’t look like a man whose job has been stolen by technology. In fact, I think he rather likes the shift. He’s got more tools at his disposal to handle the paper-pushing, so to speak, that used to come with the job – and that ultimately frees him up to do the part he’s really good at.

Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term for technology that can sense, reason, act and adapt. You have probably heard of some of the more sensational examples of companies using AI to replicate human thinking, but, as a recent article pointed out, AI is all around us! And it’s because it’s useful.

It’s even creeping into communications, and that’s a good thing.

Earlier this year my team launched Galileo6, which uses machine learning – a subset of AI – to determine relevance of media for health and science brands.

And just like with my advisor, our clients aren’t crying about it. That’s because a machine can now automate many of the monotonous, time-consuming tasks they used to pay my team to do in a fraction of the time and cost. That allows my team to focus on what they do best – provide data-driven insights to make their communications strategies better.

For example, the way we’re supporting clients at conferences is totally different. With just a few hours of prep and research we can identify and set-up KOLs, hashtags, competitors and trending topics into one quick view for our clients. No more twice a day reporting – the information is all there in real-time so we can optimize communications on all relevant channels immediately. And by leveraging Galileo6 to provide engagement, influence, velocity and trust scores, my team of analysts can focus on insights – where are the trends, where are the emerging topics and stories and how do we use this information to reach our client’s goals faster and more efficiently? 

And get this… Galileo6 learns over time by using past performance data to better predict outcomes.

Long story short – everyone’s happy. No one is doing rote calculations, scanning dozens of different data sources each morning and aggregating basic reports. Our clients aren’t paying for the time for our people to do that either. And me? I get my team doing the things they love, for clients who need our help.

So back to the question at hand. Is AI friend or foe?

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s quickly becoming my BFF. Shhh…Don’t tell Michelle Anderson.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Rob Oquendo, EVP of Digital and Creative. Rob leads the The LAB, our group of digital and creative specialists, in leveraging digital media as an integral element in global strategic communications programs.