We’re a talkative bunch here at Gloo HQ. When we see something interesting in the news—invariably about the world of tech—we like to share and discuss it. It’s how we stay informed and come up with engaging content for our clients. Here’s what got us thinking and talking over the past week.
Recently, Warner Music became the first major label to sign a record deal with an algorithm. The German startup app Endel creates personalised soundscapes based on certain inputs, like your location or the weather. It’s designed to help you focus or relax in certain environments.
Endel has been signed to release 20 new ambient noise albums this year alone. Five of them have already been released. With track names like “Clear Night”, “Rainy Night” and “Foggy Morning”, we doubt Endel will be packing out stadiums like Taylor Swift. But it does set an interesting precedent.
The music-industry is no stranger to using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to enhance music and generate lyrics. But can technology ever meaningfully compete with human creativity? We like to think there will always be a place for real musicianship; but perhaps it’s naïve to think that the arts are immune to automation.
A recent survey of 2,500 adults in the UK and EU has found that a quarter of people would prefer policy decisions to be made by AI than by politicians. Given the chaotic way Brexit has been unfolding, that might not come as a surprise. But is AI really the answer?
When decisions are made by an algorithm, they’re not necessarily free from bias—AI itself can inherit prejudices from developers or the data-sets it ingests from the real-world. That’s been clearly demonstrated in the case of algorithms designed to assess the risk of criminal behaviour; prejudices of the past are often repeated.
Interestingly, the initial survey also revealed a great deal of anxiety about the growing pervasiveness of technology in our lives. 70% of participants said that unchecked technological innovation may do more harm than good to society. So, politicians vs. AI—the politicians have the upper hand at present, but for how long?
A new Centrum ad starring Tom Hiddleston is causing a stir online. The commercial—aimed at audiences in China—is shot in a first-person perspective, implying that Hiddleston is your boyfriend or husband. You wake up, stroll downstairs, and he’s cooked you up a nutritious (if unusual) breakfast. Then he kindly reminds you to take your vitamins.
Western viewers have labelled the ad “creepy”, “baffling” and even “terrifying”. But amusing opinion pieces and murder theories aside, Centrum seems to be onto a winner—the ad has had incredible success in China. The video racked up over 2.5 million views in its first week.
Instead of deriding the ad, marketers might want to take note. Developing an intimate understanding of the cultural nuances and preferences in your target market can pay dividends. And we’re kind of tempted to try blackberries and egg for breakfast now.
Posted by John on 1 April 2019