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Isobar Launches ‘Augmented Humanity: Isobar Trends Report 2018’

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Isobar Launches ‘Augmented Humanity: Isobar Trends Report 2018’

Isobar, a leading global digital agency from the Dentsu Aegis Network, predicts that 2018 will be the year of Augmented Humanity, a year where technology enhances and scales our most human attributes. In 2018, technological interfaces will become more natural and instinctive, technology will automate repetitive tasks to free up time for creativity and compassion, and artificial intelligence will meet emotional intelligence. 

 Isobar’s innovation and strategy experts from around the world have defined five key trends that explore this evolving relationship between humanity and technology and predict a harmonious future. Augmented Humanity explores the ways in which technology enhances and fuels our most human attributes – the ability to recognize and trust each other, to adapt to changing circumstances and the power to deliver true creativity.

 Jean Lin, Isobar’s Global CEO, comments, “Artificial intelligence is great, but humans score on emotional intelligence. The power of being human is in empathy. This cannot be automated or outsourced. Augmented Humanity will use technology to scale everything that is best and most powerful about human interaction.”

 Shamsuddin Jasani, MD Isobar India, states, “It’s already clear that such technology will thrive in almost all businesses and will revolutionize the way we treat and manage specific services across sectors. The coming years will guide body augmentation competencies in a number of ways that will empower humans to be smarter, stronger and more capable than they are today. In India, consumer technology has already taken a huge leap forward. Analytic practices are growing in density and companies are using machine learning and prognostic modelling to increasingly consider complex data sets.”

The report argues that we may one day view the era of anonymous, one size fits all transactions as a temporary blip in our evolution, and that as technology advances it will become more human, not less. It will return us to a time where voice will be the primary way we interact with the world, where we will be recognized and rewarded in stores, and where we will buy more directly from trusted suppliers. 

Isobar’s five key trends for 2018 explore this intersection of technology and humanity, magic and the machine, code and conscience:

1.       Body Talk explores the body as an interface, as our eyes and ears replace touching and tapping.
Technologies such as voice recognition, haptic feedback, gesture and image recognition are moving us beyond a screen based interface and towards a world where our bodies, lightweight wearables and smart environments will be our primary means of interacting with content and commerce experiences of all kinds. Everything from a selfie to a heartbeat could become a password. Voice recognition has been the dominant technology of 2017 and the one with perhaps the biggest implications for retailers and FMCG brands alike. While image recognition is less widely
hyped, it has equally significant implications for retail. Neiman Marcus’ Snap. Find. Shop feature allows shoppers to upload pictures directly to its ecommerce site, which will then search for similar items. 
2.       Powered by People tackles the shift from customers to communities as technology turbocharges the sharing economy.
A recent survey by Dentsu Aegis Network examined the nature of trust in China, the UK, the US and Germany. Across all of the markets studied, consumers are most likely to trust a brand that is recommended by people they know. While there are significant differences in the trust users place in other sources around the world - 66 percent of Chinese consumers trust major institutions versus just 25 percent in Germany - trust in peers remains key in an era of fake news and corporate scandal. These shifting dynamics, alongside evolutions in ecommerce, and innovations such as Blockchain, are opening up new business models harnessing the power of community over corporations.

3.       The Economy of Me looks at the power of AI to deliver ever more personalised products, prices and places.
New frontiers in data are opening up the potential for increasingly personalised interactions across a host of different sectors. Retailers are using a combination of machine learning and human interaction to curate truly personalised product recommendations and deliver personal service at scale. Start ups are experimenting with introducing dynamic pricing to physical stores. Already the norm in some markets, the widespread introduction of digital price tags could enable stores to change pricing multiple times across the course of the day. 
4.       The Ethical Algorithm tackles technology as a force for good; in a world of fake news and algorithm bias is there such a thing as moral code?
In recent months the industry has wrestled with challenges from fake news to algorithm bias to the concern that robots will eliminate human jobs, all highlighting the need to balance technical possibilities with human intervention. There are significant issues to wrestle with, from the ethics of the algorithms that control ever increasing aspects of our lives to the ethics of the gig economy. Companies relying on automation when it comes to choosing job candidates, prioritising customers or vetting applications for, say, mortgages or credit cards will need a robust understanding of how their algorithms are designed and any implicit biases encoded therein. 
5.       The Makers and the Machines explores the extraordinary union of art and technology to create outputs we could never before imagine.
One of the applications of AI in art is how Netflix approaches colors. We know Netflix uses highly sophisticated data analytics both in powering its recommendation engine and in shaping future programming. The company can analyse the average colour of the titles customer select. This enables them to decide, for example, whether there is an optimal colour, or whether they should serve different colours to different audiences. 2017 has been a challenging year for AdTech but as programmatic continues to develop the ability to combine storytelling components in different ways for different users or moments will evolve. We might see happy or sad endings of a story, for example, based on our mood or the mood of the nation. More pragmatically, we might see different combinations based on age, demographic or location, editors working hand in hand with the algorithm.

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