The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Personal Assistants on Marketing

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Personal Assistants on Marketing

Christina L. McDowell Marinchak (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA), Edward Forrest (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA) and Bogdan Hoanca (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7766-9.ch047

Abstract

This chapter will review the state of the art in AI, with a particular focus on applications in marketing. Based on the current capabilities of AI in marketing, the authors explore the new rules of engagement. Rather than simply targeting consumers, the marketing effort will also be directed at the algorithms controlling the consumers' virtual personal assistants (VPAs). Rather than exploiting human desires and weaknesses, marketing will need to focus on meeting the user's actual needs. The level of customer satisfaction will be even more critical as marketing will need to focus on establishing and maintaining a reputation in competition with those of similar offerings in the marketplace. This chapter concludes with thoughts on the long-term implications, exploring the role of customer trust in the adoption of AI agents, the security requirements for agents, and the ethical implications of access to such agents.
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Background: Applications Of Ai By Marketers

The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first coined in 1956, and has evolved over a half century of steady progress in building computers that can manipulate symbols (both logical and linguistic). In the mid 1990’s, with the commercialization and diffusion of the Internet, exponential growth in computing power and advanced software sophistication fully functional intelligent agents have come to pass, and the term “intelligent agent” has been formally defined:

An intelligent agent is software that assists people and acts on their behalf. Intelligent agents work by allowing people to delegate work that they could have done to the agent software. Agents can, just as assistants can, automate repetitive tasks, remember things you forgot, intelligently summarize complex data, learn from you, and even make recommendations to you. (Gilbert, 1997)

Whether termed an agent or assistant or defined as artificial or virtual, these emerging applications are an amalgamation of many technologies – voice recognition, linguistic sciences and natural language processing, machine learning, cognitive computing, analytical and predictive statistics, neural networking, and deep-learning algorithms.

Marketers are currently utilizing an array of advanced AI platforms, services and technologies. The scope of activities and functions that AI is already being applied includes:

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