Artificial intelligence has promised to revolutionize our lives, taking over the mundane tasks of daily existence, from prewriting "smart" email replies to driving our car through rush hour traffic. In the PR realm, AI has been touted as equal parts something to celebrate (no more manual coverage reports!) and fear (er, so long, means of employment). But the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. Some form of intelligent technology is already embedded in the PR industry, from the tools we use to find new audiences and monitor evolving conversations to modern media placement. Bloomberg News uses AI to generate coverage on some 3,500 earnings reports every quarter.
Here's the good news about artificial intelligence: the Terminator vision of the future, where smart machines turn on humanity, is unlikely. But here's the bad news: we could be heading for disaster anyway thanks to this revolutionary technology. That, at least, is the conclusion of the filmmakers behind Machine, who spent the past year researching the state of play in AI in the hope their documentary might provoke some serious thinking on the subject before it's too late. The documentary Machine ponders the ethical questions posed by the rise of artificial intelligence, including the nature of interactions between humans and sexbots.Credit:Finch "There's a lot of decisions we're making right now that will have ripple effects for decades to come," says Justin Krook, the director of the film. "In the whole history of humanity we've never had so much power at our disposal, and we only have one chance to get these decisions right. "People are worried about the robot apocalypse but that's not exactly the biggest threat we're facing here.
Who wouldn't like to get more done in less time? That's the idea behind Siri Shortcuts, a popular Apple app for iPhone and iPad, and built into the upcoming iOS 13 operating system, out in beta release now with a full upgrade due this fall soon after new iPhones hit in September. As the name suggests, Siri Shortcuts link the voice-controlled personal assistant you already know with time-saving shortcuts for tasks you want to perform. By simply asking for it – or tapping the screen if you're not in a place to freely use your voice – your iPhone or iPad can quickly heed your request. In other words, Siri Shortcuts – previously known as Workflow – fuses small actions to yield big results.
It is early July, almost 30C outside, but Mihkel Jäätma is thinking about Christmas. In a co-working space in Soho, the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Realeyes, an "emotion AI" startup which uses eye-tracking and facial expression to analyse mood, scrolls through a list of 20 festive ads from 2018. He settles on The Boy and the Piano, the offering from John Lewis that tells the life story of Elton John backwards, from megastardom to the gift of a piano from his parents as a child, accompanied by his timeless heartstring-puller Your Song. The ad was well received, but Jäätma is clearly unconvinced. He hits play, and the ad starts, but this time two lines – one grey (negative reactions), the other red (positive) – are traced across the action.