Few of the buzzwords that float about the advertising industry are as scary as artificial intelligence. A seemingly new technology, it is about to steal all of our jobs: drivers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, planners and even creatives. At Mindshare's Huddle event (London, November 2017), what emerged was a complicated future for a broad swathe of industries, advertising included, that face changes, though not in the way the movies might suggest.

AI or Machine Learning?

The technology is not, at its core, new. As Google's Director of Product (Cloud), Greg DeMichillie, noted, the maths has been understood for 30 years, but it is only in the last decade that we have developed the computing power necessary for AI. Even then, the comparison of AI to a human often derisively invokes its sub-childlike stupidity. We enjoy watching algorithms screw up simple tasks. Yet, that level is hyper-complicated: "we have to have thousands of computers to have a brain as good as a two-year old's," DeMichillie explained.