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Isobar: Jean Lin implores the ad industry, "See AI as a friend"

Cannes Lions seminars, snack-sized!

created on Tuesday 20 Jun 2017

At midday, Isobar's CEO Jean Lin and the director of Tencent's AI Lab Wei Liu joined Fortune’s Adam Lashinksy in the Lumiere to share the possibilities presented by AI and machine learning – and argued that the industry needs to embrace it, and quickly.   

Tencent, the Chinese tech giant behind trailblazing app WeChat, wants to make machines with the intelligence of humans. And at Isobar, they’ve already made impressive strides: at KFC China, for instance, they helped to implement robots that will “take your order using voice technology.” 

Aren’t people afraid of being taken over by robots though, Lashinsky wondered? According to Wei Lui, they needn’t be too worried. AI isn’t better than humans in every instance: “the singularity is not near. Its better in some places, such as facial and voice technology,” Liu assured the audience, “but few others.” 

isobar article

It can also be used to make our lives significantly easier. He gave an example of how machines can help to reduce repetitive work, for instance by reading newspapers or watching films in quick time. The data collected from such technology means that “we can create very personalised, high quality work,” said Liu.  

Lin agreed that AI could prove revolutionary for the marketing and communications industry. “It’s one of the most important thing that’s happened in our industry, in terms of reshaping our resources,” she argued. “There’s a lot of work being done by junior people in agencies that could be automated.” 

To sum up, Lin argued that while our emotional intelligence and capacity for empathy will always give us the upper hand over AI, “We need to find a way for them to work together.

“AI is a liberating force for us – an agent for change.”

Talks and work from Cannes Lions 2017 will be available on the Cannes Lions Player.