This week I spent a couple of days in Hartford attending IMPACT Live 2017 where I met other great bloggers and inbound marketing experts. Thanks to IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo for the invite and incredible conference. I'm already looking forward to next year. While the conference centered on marketing, the talk that blew people's minds was from Paul Roetzer on “The Path to a More (Artificially) Intelligent Future.” It definitely made for great lunch conversations shortly afterward. Here are some of the highlights and my thoughts.

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AI is already being implemented today and is just in the first inning of development. This is a trend that isn't going away. Here are some other examples of AI today:

  • 60% of all trades are executed by computers with little or no real-time oversight from humans.
  • Orion: AI algorithm from UPS that determines the best order of stops for drivers.
  • Netflix uses algorithms to suggest content and manufacture shows based on subscriber viewing habits and preferences.
  • Epagogix algorithms analyze movie scripts for improvements, to make them more marketable.
  • Tesla uses deep learning to share learned data between cars, making all of them smarter.
  • Siri and Alexa both use AI to get smarter with every question that is asked of them.
  • Facebook is already using deep learning to suggest friends and looking for more ways to use it
  • Google is pioneering it with many of their products (RankBrain)
    • Even the creators of RankBrain don’t know how it works anymore because it has learned and changed
  • IBM has taught watson to read medical journals and use the information to help doctors make decisions about diagnosis and treatment


From an investment perspective, AI is going to be a hot area for many years to come and it is just getting started. Today all the major technology players (Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, Google, Alibaba, etc) are  developing AI in house and purchasing new companies to fill in the gaps.

Kai-Fu Lee, former President of Google China, has become an oracle in predicting Chinese tech trends. He said that AI is the “singular thing that will be larger than all of human tech revolutions added together, including electricity, the industrial revolution, internet and mobile internet.” Let that sink in for a moment. Read it again.

Many people are concerned about job losses and that will certainly be the case but in many ways AI will supplement experts like doctors with better information so they can make more informed decisions. Eventually most repetitive data entry type jobs will be replaced by AI. This should translate to huge gains in productivity for companies and increases in profit margins. New jobs and industries will also be created because of AI and service jobs won't go away. You still need someone to cut your hair and plumbers and electricians to fix problems at home.

According to Lee, transportation is going to be the biggest industry that is going to be disrupted by AI, starting with truck drivers. “That's why Otto was acquired by Uber in the US.” he said.

Roetzer recommends reading Automate This by Christopher Steiner if you want to start learning more about AI.

Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates recommends Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence and Pedro Domingos’s The Master Algorithm for your summer reading list. “Certainly it’s the most exciting thing going on,” he said of artificial intelligence. “It’s the holy grail, it’s the big dream that anybody who’s ever been in computer science has been thinking about.”

What do you think about AI? Are you worried about the future? What will the future look like in 10 years?

Photo: Christopher Wang