AUSTIN, TX: Artificial intelligence (AI) has the promise to help marketers work faster, smarter and at scale, according to Rachel Weiss, VP of innovation and entrepreneurship at L'Oréal, the beauty company.

Speaking at a session during SXSW 2018, Weiss suggested that AI systems can perform many tasks with higher rapidity than a human could, and do so free of limitations like store opening hours.

“What can a computer do a little bit faster or at scale than I cannot do, or we cannot do, internally?” she asked. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Memo from SXSW: L'Oréal’s vision for an AI marketing future.)

“That could be anything from thinking about 24-hour service bots to finding out what your favourite skincare cream could be from Kiehl’s.”

In time, activities such as trend forecasting, media-buying and ad-targeting could also be powered by ‘backend’ that rely on machine learning – the structure that underpin AI.

“The first thing that I think about machine-learning is: How does a machine learn? How do we create data and algorithms that can be smarter than a human?” Weiss added.

Another viable usage of AI involves ‘computer vision’. Various digital tools hint at this future by augmenting images – say, of a user’s face in a selfie – by overlaying colours, graphics or shades, with obvious appeal for beauty brands.

“It can be around thinking about early lenses that you put on your face with Snapchat, or Pinterest [visual] search. Those are early computer-vision tactics,” Weiss said.

The third area outlined by Weiss is ‘true AI’, where artificial intelligence fulfils its potential as it becomes ‘smarter than a person’.

At this point it may, for example, “start to understand when someone has certain skin diagnostics or have certain things that a doctor couldn’t see. And that, for me, is what ‘true’ AI is,” Weiss said.

While the exact use cases might vary by sector, Weiss urged her fellow marketers to begin exploring this area, with the expectation that it will soon become a mainstream technology across industries.

“I suggest everyone here tests, because the more data that you get, and the more you test, the smarter than you [the] machines will become, and your tactics and the strategies will be,” she said.

“I don't think I’ll be talking as much about ‘AI’ and ‘computer vision’ in two years,” Weiss predicted. “It’s just going to be table stakes for everything that we do.”

L'Oréal’s commitment to the opportunities offered by AI technology was further reinforced last Friday when it announced that had acquired ModiFace, a Canadian beauty tech company.

Lubomira Rochet, Chief Digital Officer of L'Oréal, said in a statement that the acquisition would “support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and chose products and brands”.

Sourced from WARC