👴Albert transforms the ad world | 🤖Trusting AI | 🌍Planet Earth 2 tech and thoughts on a smarter home🏠

Well well well. Do we have some news this week. The newsletter has been named Connected Paths (and yo
👴Albert transforms the ad world | 🤖Trusting AI | 🌍Planet Earth 2 tech and thoughts on a smarter home🏠
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #11 • View online
Well well well. Do we have some news this week. The newsletter has been named Connected Paths (and you can see all the historic issues on the Connected Paths website. I have also co-founded Radiate b2b, an account based marketing agency using new approaches and technologies to scale traditional account based marketing approaches. More on the website. All of you had an early hint I have been busy working on this when I shared my last article with you recently 😉
Anyhow, getting onto the wider topics of the week. This week has a focus on advertising, controversy and philosophy in artificial intelligence, evolving tech in film/tv and some thoughts on the smarter home.
As ever, if you enjoy reading this. Please share via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks!

Artificial Intelligence cometh
Albert (Only Fools and Horses)
Albert (Only Fools and Horses)
So Trump and his friends believe disruption from AI is not going to happen for 50-100 years. Meanwhile, lingerie brand Cosabella has replaced its agency with artificial intelligence (called Albert wouldn’t you believe🤣). Albert increased returns from ad spend by a mere 336% and then went on to increase conversions from Facebook by 2000%. I feel sorry for the agency. More here.
It should come as no surprise that Google is leading the way here. The company that “does no evil” has dramatically increased the number of academic papers it published on AI in 2016 and analysis by Clarivate found that they are having an impact four to five times the world average and are the leaders in artificial intelligence by a wide margin. More here.  (🙏 Nikita)
Moving away from the usual focus on the business and tech side of AI, philosopher Daniel Dennett talks about AI, robotic and religion. He suggests that our fear of a super intelligence is less worrying than our ability to attribute more intelligence to devices than is there. He also doesn’t like the idea of giving cutesy names to these devices as Amazon and Apple have done. I disagree here, as I think the approach makes them easier to adopt and use.
From the film: Memento
From the film: Memento
He also believes that users of such AI systems must be licensed and bonded, forcing them to assume liability for their actions citing pharmaceutical companies’ approach of listing all their drugs’ suspected side-effects. This oversimplifies the industry - the majority of AI is single function so stating the function is sufficient, whilst the generalised AI used in assistants, are so broad that you would need more paper than exists to disclose side effects. Easier to just place a disclaimer on every AI assistant saying “Don’t trust their lies”. That should go down well.
Planet Earth 2 tech
I’m sure many of you were wowed by the sweeping vistas of the first Planet Earth series. Season two is back with a much closer and immersive experience. Surprisingly they used cameras available to the general public (albeit with a rather large wallet) along with consumer drones to capture the video. To get up close and personal,  the biggest innovation came from stabilisation improvements that allowed you to run alongside animals and still have sharp in focus footage. Read more detail about how it all came together here.
A smarter home
Your future home.
Your future home.
Last year the hype inside the home focused more on managing your home through your phone and smart hubs than the AI assistants of today. Despite the underlying hardware coming down in price, smart home platforms continue to be priced at a premium. The increasing penetration of Alexa should increase both competition and supply driving prices down and even more important, simplify installation of these systems. In the meantime, IKEA has entered the fray with its own range of smart bulbs and another smart hub of its own. All rather old school and no Alexa integration yet. It is a little cheaper though. More here.
With all the coverage of Alexa and Google Home, its easy to forget you could only import a Google Home until now. It has finally launched in the UK with some special British quirks and surprisingly they are not (just) American stereotypes. When asked what are you scared of, it responds with “Four words. Rail replacement bus service”. Of course why you would ever want to ask that in the first place..
Supposedly, Google delayed the UK launch to deal with the various British accents it has to deal with. Too early to tell how they got on but if you haven’t seen the Scottish voice-activated lift video you should. 😆
Finally joining the AI assistant party is Bixby, your Samsung assistant that launched last week. The tech behind it was bought last year and actually has some decent heritage with the team previously selling Siri to Apple. Samsung will need to open up beyond its own ecosystem to succeed, but along with Samsung’s purchase of SmartThings, they have the early makings of a Samsung ecosystem at least. Can they tie it all together in time is the big question. I suspect not.
Finally, Wired, probably reaching a little (ok - a lot), wrote up a piece using Beauty and the Beast as a lens into the smart home showing how far the technology has to go and its potential problems. I suspect the next few years will see capabilities move forward in leaps and bounds given the amount of focus it is getting. Read it here if you dare
The simpler things..
Sometimes its the little things that move industries forward. Enter the legal keyboard. No artificial intelligence, no voice capabilities. Just a keyboard with some characters lawyers use an awful lot. It has had plenty of positivity and appeal - to lawyers at least. All for just $65. Read more here.
The book corner
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Philosopher, Daniel Dennett mentioned above has a new book  From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. He builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Worth a read.
Bill Gates’ latest book recommendation is down to an eye opening book that puts microbes in the spotlight. By British journalist Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes suggests that microbes are mostly not to be feared or destroyed but to be cherished, admired, and studied. In fact we are more microbe than human and could not survive without them. More on the story here and the book here.
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