Who owns the future? AI vs. IQ


AI for all.

Elon Musk is at it again.

His non-profit artificial intelligence research company OpenAI have announced they’ll pursue the next set of breakthroughs in partnership with Microsoft.

Their mutual ambition to “democratise AI” takes shape in the form of new open source tools and technologies.

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to create entirely new experiences, stories and services and as well as new levels of personalisation and automation. This is already playing out as AI-run chat functions, Snapchat filters, marketing automation, website design, storytelling and high-end cooking and is even starting to replace aspects of teaching. The big social networks are all aggressively reorganising not only their products around AI but also the way they operate as companies. And if you work as part of a team, there’s every chance one of your colleagues will soon be a robot.

Which begs the question... what can AI do for you?



The redesign continuum.

We’re all problem-solvers it seems. Some have labelled it Makeover Mania.

The inconveniences and annoyances of everyday life quickly become hot new startups and Kickstarter campaigns. A quick look at the crowdfunding platform shows the drum kit, the humble measuring spoon and the alarm clock are all supposedly overdue a redesign and heavily backed to do so. Entire industries are tackled in a heartbeat. It's inevitable that today's redesigns will surely be redesigned by somebody else, and so on until the phrase 'reimaginged' has lost all meaning.

But is every imperfection worth disrupting? How do you know if you’ve found meaningful product-market fit?

This excellent New York Times Magazine article covers it well. Before you turn your next hunch into a hustle, make sure you give it a read.



Move over Black Friday.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday almost upon us, one company eclipsed the latter’s entire $3bn sales in only 15 minutes.

Chinese giant, Alibaba, invented its own 24-hour shopping spree, Singles’ Day and achieved whopping $17.8 billion in sales this November 11th. What’s even more remarkable is that mobile sales accounted for 87 percent of total purchases.

Originally conceived as an anti-Valentine’s Day back in the nineties it was hijacked by Alibaba in 2009 to great effect.



Antidotes to hate.

Trump’s win last week caught us all by surprise. And within minutes everybody seemed to have formed a retrospective theory about how it happened. 'Fake' and 'hate' topped many lists. In fact, fake news (AKA propaganda) beat real news on Facebook over the last three months of the election...

It seems hate can't stop you from getting elected but it might stop you from getting acquired. Twitter have responded to its latest setback by allowing users to mute abusive keywords and mentions; Facebook have seen the light and declared war on fake news; and companies are beginning to pull ads from entangled media platforms.

It’s unlikely the collateral damage from this new wave of politics will stop there, with even iPhone production under threat. Some companies are even issuing ultimatums to their staff.

Perhaps a new age of authenticity and change-making is required. One were brands and tech put their resources into uniting divisions and helping communities achieve positive visions of tomorrow. One such example that’s risen from these flames is RageDonate. The new website is encouraging people to channel their anger through charitable donations to the groups attacked by Trump during his campaign. Expect other resistance efforts to pop up.



The human side of tech.

Far too many companies get caught up in endless innovations and forget about the people they're creating for. Not all though. Here’s some of the standout ideas we’ve seen to engage and entertain users this week:

  • Atom Bank removes the anxiety of checking your bank balance

  • Google are to give one million children their first taste of virtual reality

  • Snapchat created a playful treasure hunt to launch its new Spectacles



And finally...

Some inspiration from award-winning animator Brad Bird. Brad gives an insight into his writing process, how he directs and the enduring power of storytelling.

Stuart Goulden