Easily Develop Personas with our B2B Persona Creator Tool

It’s no secret that the key to a successful campaign, is ensuring that you are targeting the right audience, and with the right messages. Online platforms now play a significant part in interacting with consumers, and it’s important that you identify the most effective channels to communicate with your audience.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a company’s specific target customer, it provides detailed information about your ideal customer’s demographics, career background and goals. A persona might include the following: age, job role, skills in terms of using the internet and their understanding of the product, as well as the key challenges they face. It’s also important that your persona document addresses the objective that they are trying to achieve from visiting your website, as this will help you solve the challenges they are facing in their position.

A persona creates a ‘human’ representative for the businesses’ larger target audience and provides the team with a shared understanding of customers in terms of goals and capabilities. In companies with multiple units who each target different customers, having personas is so important to make sure you establish the differences between them and how to best target their needs. How many personas a company needs will depend on how many different segments your customers fit into.

As part of the Napier Group, we understand that it can be time-consuming and difficult to create customer personas on your own. Our B2B Persona Creator Tool allows you to develop personas for a specific campaign, and truly understand the audience you want to target from the beginning.

Gathering information from goals and objectives, to identifying the media channels your customers use, our tool provides an easy to read concise PDF, detailing all the information you need to create a successful targeted campaign.

Why not try it out today? Or get in touch now if you want us to provide some further information on personas and how we can help you.


Five trends in industrial robotics that are helping to transform manufacturing

Today a Meltwater search of ‘robotics’ headlines tallies 24 results across 12 titles including BBC News, Financial Times and HR magazine. We’re dedicated to following the robot trends across all industries - whether it’s AI being used in finance or robot skeletons being used to help paralysed patients walk again. However, as an agency we are particularly focused on the manufacturing industry where many of our clients are helping UK companies to achieve faster and more flexible production.

There are a number of areas where robotic technology is developing at a rapid rate due to a demand for greater flexibility and speed.  It was difficult to come up with only five because there are many different industries within UK manufacturing that have all got the potential to use robots. Nevertheless, we managed to narrow it down. Here are the five that we think are the most exciting to track right now:

Collaborative robots
Initially collaborative robots conjure up visions of smaller robots working alongside people. There are a number of models which have been developed to bring the collaboration to many new areas of production such as electronics, pharmaceutical and automotive as well as small to medium sized manufacturers or workshops. Some of these are able to react to potential collisions and others are ergonomically designed so that if a collision occurs they won’t impact the co-worker. 

Lesser known collaborative robots are the large-scale industrial sized robots which are fitted with sensor technology so that they can stop before a human gets within a certain radius. There are even researchers who are exploring code which make robots interact closely with humans - see Madeline Gannon’s work here.

If larger robots are able to collaborate with us, then we could be lifting cars with a wave of our hands in no time.

Machine tending
Robots are able to be adapted into different configurations according to the needs of a customer. In the machine tending industry, there are many different end tools required and robot manufacturers are creating cells which are especially adaptable for this purpose. 

There is also a growing skills gap. In this industry many companies are introducing robots to perform the manual loading and unloading so that the skilled employees are able to use their expertise to perform other work steps.

Digital maintenance
With the advent of smartphones and 4G, the possibilities for maintenance engineers, factory managers and CEOs to communicate with elements around the factory floor has expanded. When 5G lands, expect more possibilities. But for now, we are able to share with you that remotely monitoring robot performance is a thing. This is achieved using data analysis and as robots are basically told what to do via a form of data (code), it is possible to analyse this data and provide insightful statistics such as how fast the robots are performing and how many parts have been processed.

A lot of us are getting used to analysing data in the form of social media analytics, for example - if there can be this much insight into engagements on smartphones to drive changes in the way we interact with each other, then analysis of robotics performance could mean great changes for the way that manufacturing is performed - and all at the tap of a screen.

Warehouse logistics
As many of us are ordering goods online whether it’s new clothes or a new sofa, warehouses are having to quickly adapt to manage all of the incoming orders. Warehouse automation has become the differentiator for many online brands. Leading names Ocado and Amazon, for example, have invested heavily in robotic technology. Ocado even has its own innovation department within which they are developing their own robots. 

As more of us come to rely on shopping being delivered to our door, greater numbers of warehouses are going to need robots to maintain their position in the market.

Here’s a video of Ocado’s robots in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DKrcpa8Z_E

Food and beverage
As food trends proliferate from veganism and vegetarianism through to the paleo diet and sugar-free, the demand on food and beverage brands to continue to churn out relevant products means flexibility is key.

Robots are adept at providing flexibility. They can pick, pack and place products using vision technology which recognises various shapes and sizes. It all comes down to the programming - which is taking less and less time thanks to innovative programming software. Robots also bring the speed - so if a confectionery brand needs to release a timely limited edition chocolate bar, they can do so without too much hassle.

To understand more about what robots have to offer the food and beverage industry, watch this video from Wired https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKBHnbYo-4s


Hootsuite Summer Social Series Webinar 2: Using search and social advertising together

Following our attendance at the first webinar of the Hootsuite Summer Social Series, we joined the next live webinar to explore the ‘Best practices for using search and social advertising together’. This is the second webinar we’ve attended in the series presented by Hootsuite to learn new strategies on search and social advertising. If you missed our blog on the first Hootsuite webinar click here. The second webinar of the series covered how to use Google and Facebook simultaneously to get best results. So, what did we learn?

Advertising on Facebook is proven to increase your Google results

If you’re an active user on Facebook, you may have noticed some ad’s which are of interest to you. This is because you’ve been targeted by a company using the Facebook audiences feature. This allows companies to reach out to new people who may or may not have realised they needed your product or service based on information Facebook holds about you; whether that be your age, location or interests. Naturally, if you saw a Facebook advertisement you were interested in, you may out of curiosity switch to Google for further research. From Hootsuite’s findings, it is suggested that by advertising on Facebook, your search results on Google will increase on average by 34%.

Keeping consistent across search and social channels

There’s a lot of noise out there in relation to marketing across both search and social. Therefore, to ensure your brand can stand out and for maximum chance of conversion, your messaging must be consistent. As you may know, it takes multiple touchpoints for a prospect to consider purchasing from your brand so you must stick to one consistent message or offer.

It’s not just brand names people are searching for- they’re also looking for offerings and results. Additionally, catchy headlines, phrases, or propositions are those that are more memorable than a just a brand name, so think about what resonates with your audience and what will stick in their minds. Ensure you are consistently optimised for those keywords across search and social so you can easily be found.

Using Facebook to retarget uses from search ads
Retargeting is an ever-growing subject in the world of marketing at the moment. What people are unaware of, is that there is more to retargeting than just purely displaying ads to website visitors. In order to maximise your efforts in retargeting, you can cross over with search and social. Often when clicking on a Google ad, visitors will come away from the page, perhaps do some additional research and explore other alternative options or solutions. However, by retargeting with Facebook, ads appear when the user visits the social media platform at a later date, reminding them about your offer and keeping your company at the top of their minds.

In summary, you shouldn’t be thinking about whether search or social is better for your brand- you should instead think how it is best to use search AND social together. Stay tuned for the final blog on the third webinar of the Hootsuite summer series.


A day in the life of a Marketing Specialist

My name is Taylor, and I’m one of the Marketing Specialists at Armitage Communications, based in one of our locations in Saffron Walden, Essex.

The purpose of this blog is to share some of the details about how I got into the marketing industry, my typical working day, and help you decide if a similar role could be for you.  

I originally joined the company four years ago as an Apprentice when Napier acquired Peter Bush Communications, following my interest in Marketing at A-Level. In 2017 after completing my NVQ, I was offered to take on the role as a Marketing Specialist, and my roles and responsibilities have developed since that very moment and into the merge with Armitage Communications. You can read more about vocational benefits and why you should consider an apprenticeship in one of our latest blogs.

 

From day to day, I have regular calls with colleagues from both Armitage and Napier to discuss ongoing projects and our top priorities for the week. I also join calls with clients and Account Managers to go through our WIP (work in progress) document to highlight outstanding tasks, or new upcoming campaigns. Projects I work on for clients can vary; I could be working on tasks ranging from social media planning and creation, content and blog writing, through to event management.  

One of the key aspects of the role that surprised me when I joined the company was the amount of trust I had from my colleagues, especially coming from an apprenticeship. I have been given opportunities to work freely on development tasks such as SEO, and email marketing via HubSpot, which helped build my confidence. I was also offered, and I accepted various training and career development opportunities such as the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing at the Cambridge Marketing College.

I would consider my position at Armitage rather fast-paced and flexible. As well as supporting administration and marketing duties, I am never stuck to one project or duty, which why the role is rather enjoyable and comes as great experience for me in the early stages of my marketing career.

If you’re considering a similar marketing role, or are interested in working for us, get in touch today!  


AI bias and a new agriculture: ‘AI: More than human at the Barbican’ review part two

Over the last few days we’ve scanned many headlines which herald the future of artificial intelligence such as CMR Surgical’s £1bn Series C funding, a company based in Cambridge that is set to launch a surgical robot and Softbank’s plans to open a cafe run by humanoid robots in Tokyo. These headlines are unsurprising - fast developments in AI technology mean that what was sci-fi literature fifty years ago is now becoming a reality.

Nowhere is this easier to comprehend than an exhibition dedicated to the technology. In August we made the most of the longer evenings and made our way to the Barbican for ‘AI: More than human.’ Situated within the Barbican Estate of the City of London, the Barbican Centre has a large space fit for hosting thought-provoking events showcasing cinema, theatre, dance and art.

So when we arrived at the venue, our brains were already switched on to learn more about AI and how it’s transforming the world around us. 

Here’s the second part of Account Manager Rose’s review of the exhibition.

Through replicating the human brain, scientists were able to develop the first ‘neural network’ in the form of computer programmes in the early 21st century. Here we were, three quarters of the way through the exhibition, and arriving at the stage where AI began to proliferate into hundreds of applications. What enabled AI to be realised? Partly it was the power of modern computing but it was also work conducted by Alex Krizhevsky, who developed AlexNet (software which successfully labelled 15+ million high-resolution images) that got the ball moving.

The link between this development and other outcomes of AI’s influence were demonstrated by an art piece called ‘Myriad (Tulips).’ By Anna Ridler, the art piece on display was just a fraction of the 10,000 pictures of tulips which she photographed and categorised to highlight the human aspect that sits behind machine learning.

If humans influence AI so much, then can we trust those humans to form a fair representation of the world we live in? Can we rely on humans to use the technology for the betterment of the world? Echoing back to part one, many of us are frightened because at its core AI can be seen to represent a side of humanity that we haven’t quite grasped yet.

The data universe

The human influence on AI was explored in great detail in the third part of the exhibition ‘Data Worlds.’ Bringing to the surface AI’s underbelly, this section opened with a cartoon depicting AI in China, where AI not only monitors cities but also keeps track of its population. Later a human intelligent smart home experiment conducted by Lauren McCarthy was explored, where the relationship between smart devices and the private lives of those who use them was shown. Gender Shades by Joy Buolamwini, examined the misrepresentation of race and gender in datasets. All of this conspired to leave me thinking ‘Is AI a bad move for us?’.

It’s reassuring to know that there are some really inspiring people out there conducting research projects that raise these questions. If no questions are asked, and we go full steam ahead, we may end up with a world that we don’t really want. In the concluding paragraph of an article published in The Economist last week, a clause which rung true for me was ‘If problems can be foreseen they can be more easily prevented.’

But as well as being understandably cautious, we should look at the positives that are coming from AI. The final section of the exhibition ‘Endless evolution’ examined AI’s potential to improve our bodies, eliminate disease and even address famine.

The doctor will see you now

Mental health charity Mind has thrown some perspective on the UK’s worry that more and more of us are struggling with our mental health. Apparently the number of people struggling hasn’t changed but it’s the way that we’re coping with it that has gone in a more serious direction.

In order to properly treat mental health we either need a lot more counsellors, psychiatrists and medication or an alternative provided by technology. One section of ‘AI: More than human’ touched on the human need for connection in a progressively digital world with chat bots programmed to be as human as possible communicating with attendees. Experts are already suggesting that AI could help counsel patients and online counseling services such as the Big White Wall and Ieso are already in place in some UK regions.

Furthermore, AI can help doctors to determine diseases early on to prevent life-threatening outcomes. Just this week, Director of Google Health, Michael Macdonnel talked about an early stage AI-powered system which interprets Optical Coherence Tomography retinal images and identifies the signs of sight-threatening disease.

Other companies are experimenting with 3D printing body parts such as Axial3D’s work towards building 3D models of the anatomy using 2D images. The company has already started work on an algorithm which could potentially mean 3D organs become the norm in a hospital near you.

3D printing organs on-demand could potentially save thousands of people.

What’s eating AI?

‘AI: More than human’ also showed a small plant farm nurtured by AI. Small and innocent enough, it echoed plans that are already underway in UK universities for larger farms to begin using smart sensors. These can collect data to provide a greater understanding of crops from a distance so that providing the right fertiliser or amounts of water can be achieved remotely. More judicious use of pesticides can also prevent harm to the soil.

The world’s population is expected to grow from 7.7 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050. Pitch this against a finite amount of arable land and we need to start thinking about ways to use technology to sustainably produce food, and fast.

Terramera’s Founder Karn Manhas summed it up in an article in Greenbiz earlier this year. He said, ‘Technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and big data might not be commonly associated with ‘natural’ or ‘health’ movements but actually, these advanced technologies are allowing us to eat cleaner, more locally and more sustainably than ever before.’

Robots picking fruit are helping to close the skills gap as well as reduce food waste. Drone pollinators and self-driving tractors are being developed to help drive efficiency and AI is used to make sense of farm data so that farmers can increase the health of crops, boost yields and ultimately provide better quality, affordable food.

If AI can help us feed the planet, then it’s definitely worth the research.

AI overwhelm

All of this AI in one go was a lot to absorb. It took an AI installation of screens showing butterflies and paintbox colours called ‘What a Loving and Beautiful World’ to round the exhibition off nicely. We could choose to interact directly with the panels, clicking the Chinese calligraphy to influence the space or sit and contemplate the surroundings, in awe of all of the elements combining to create the artwork.

We left asking ourselves the question, “Should we play a passive role in the developments of technology around us or make it our responsibility?”

If AI is to be shaped by human consciousness, then this question should not be asked by attendees of AI: More than human alone, it should be asked across the world.


Five good reasons to consider apprenticeships

With the tendency of many schools to focus on academic qualifications as a route to a good career, the value of vocational education is often overlooked. This is a shame, because vocational qualifications and training in the form of apprenticeships can often provide a valuable foothold into the real world of work, equipping young people with skills and experience learned literally ‘on the job’.

In this article, we look at five great reasons to consider apprenticeships and explain why vocational qualifications can offer an equally valid alternative to their academic counterparts even up to degree level.

Reason 1 – You learn by doing

While classroom-based teaching suits some people, it can often be a turn-off for those with a more hands-on approach to learning. Vocational qualifications and work-based learning provide the opportunity to discover not just why things work in theory, but also how they how they work in practice. Especially when training is conducted in the workplace, there is the opportunity to learn from the very best teachers – the people who do the task as part of their actual daily job – and to gain honest and informed feedback on your performance.

In many cases, this will entail working alongside people from different backgrounds, age groups and education, introducing an added dimension of interpersonal skills training that can prove invaluable in later life. The ability to communicate with mixed groups of people, for example, is a key skill needed in management, which is why you will often find many senior managers in many different walks of life who started their careers as apprentices.

Reason 2 - Find out what you want to do – and what you don’t

Getting hands-on into a role is a great way of realising that the lifelong ambition you’d been aiming may not be your true calling in life. Steve Wilding, now Field Sales Manager for ABB Measurement & Analytics in the UK and Ireland, sees his apprenticeship as the starting point for his career in engineering sales, after originally having wanted to be a draftsman.

Says Steve: “I was lucky enough to get an apprentice technician role with Vickers, which at the time manufactured electric motors for aerospace and defence applications. At the start, I saw this as a great way of fulfilling my ambition of becoming a draftsman.”

“However, after having worked in several positions around the company, including positions on the factory floor, I realised by the time I got to the design department that I was much more interested in other areas of the company’s activities. Luckily, my apprenticeship gave me scope to choose something else - had I come in straight from school or university, I may well have ended up being stuck in a role I didn’t like.”

It was also Steve’s experience as an apprentice that gave him his next role, which led to the start of a life on the road from which he has never looked back.

“After working in internal sales with Vickers, I took a position with Bourdon, a French manufacturer of instrumentation equipment, becoming sales office manager within a year and then going on the road as a sales engineer. It is this role that really laid the foundations for my career with ABB and a job that I really love doing.”

Reason 3 – Get ahead

After undertaking an apprenticeship with ABB’s robotics business, Louis Novakovic now specialises in programming ABB’s dual-arm YuMi collaborative robots. You can read about his experiences here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-were-putting-young-people-path-robotic-future-abb-robotics-uk/
After undertaking an apprenticeship with ABB’s robotics business, Louis Novakovic now specialises in programming ABB’s dual-arm YuMi collaborative robots. You can read about his experiences here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-were-putting-young-people-path-robotic-future-abb-robotics-uk/

While university degrees are often touted as the passport for high salaries and quick advancement, there is no real substitute for experience. 

Some of the UK’s most prolific business leaders started as apprentices. Consider, for example, JCB Chairman, Lord Bamford who as Anthony Bamford, started his career as an apprentice for agricultural machinery manufacturer Massey Ferguson. Or Andrew Reynolds Smith, previously CEO of GKN Automotive and now CEO of engineering company Smiths Group, who began his working life as an apprentice for Texas Instruments.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, apprenticeships aren’t just limited to the engineering and manufacturing sector. A wide range of professions, from entertainment through to fashion and cooking, offer their own versions of apprenticeships giving candidates the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience.

Famously, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Karen Millen, Stella McCartney and even Sir Ian McKellen all started as apprentices in their respective fields, rising through the ranks to become leading names. Some, such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, have even started their own apprenticeship programmes to encourage future generations.

It is also often the case that many people who undertake vocational qualifications and apprenticeships are ahead in their careers by the time their academic counterparts emerge from university. This can provide not just a financial advantage, but also the advantage of accessing opportunities to work in roles in other companies that would not be available to a newly-qualified graduate.

“Not long after finishing his apprenticeship, one of my friends was headhunted by Boeing in the US to work as an interior designer for its aircraft,” says Steve Wilding. It was his four years of experience as an apprentice that gave him this opportunity – a big step for someone still in their early twenties.”   

Pawal Bajwa and Samuel Barrett who are currently working as apprentices with ABB Measurement & Analytics in St Neots. Their training will see them gaining experience across the business, covering all areas from product assembly through to sales and service.
Pawal Bajwa and Samuel Barrett who are currently working as apprentices with ABB Measurement & Analytics in St Neots. Their training will see them gaining experience across the business, covering all areas from product assembly through to sales and service.

Reason 4 – Earn and learn

The prospect of leaving university laden with tens of thousands of pounds of debt to repay tuition fees is leading many school and college students to rethink their life choices. As a way of both learning and earning, apprenticeships can offer an attractive and worthwhile alternative career path.

One of the biggest benefits of an apprenticeship is the opportunity to earn while you learn. Wage rates vary according to age, with the average wage for an apprentice starting at £3.70 an hour for those aged 16 to 18, £5.90 for those aged 18 to 20 and £7.83 for over 25s. In many cases, there is the prospect of pay increases as time goes on, with rates tending to increase once the first year of training is complete.

In terms of qualifications, apprenticeships offer a great way to combine work with study, with the chance to earn valuable qualifications. Depending on the length of the apprenticeship, candidates can progress from Intermediate level (Level 2), equivalent to GCSE, through to Higher or Degree level (Level 4,5,6 and 7), equivalent to a Foundation, Bachelor or Master’s degree. In addition to providing direct work experience, apprenticeship programmes also incorporate a study element, typically involving day release at an associated college.

Most importantly, unlike university education, there is no repayment expected at the end of the experience. All fees are covered by the employer and the Government. Once the apprenticeship is complete, subject to positions being available, a qualified apprentice can either remain with the organisation they trained with or move on to find other opportunities.

Reason 5 - Make lifelong friendships

In the same way that many people who go to university create lifelong friendships, the same is also true for apprenticeships.

Says Steve Wilding of ABB: “The best thing about doing an apprenticeship is that you’re all in it together. For example, I had friends doing apprenticeships with other companies – to get an idea of what each other did, we would spend time visiting each other’s companies, which gave us a great insight into different ways of working and doing things. 

Even though it’s now 28 years since I did my apprenticeship, I’m still in touch with many of my fellow apprentices, many of whom I still meet up with on a regular basis.”

Interested?

If reading this article has helped spark your interest in becoming an apprentice, there are plenty of advice sites available with more information about how to take the next step. The following are examples of some sources of information that may help:

UCAS Apprenticeships page – Everything you need to know about apprenticeships in the UK, with a breakdown of opportunities and schemes by region

GOV.UK page on becoming an apprentice – The UK Government’s page on becoming an apprentice is a good starting point for finding out more about what’s involved and how to prepare yourself for an apprenticeship

The Apprenticeship Guide – A complete step-by-step guide to apprenticeships, containing the full what, how and why of becoming an apprentice and a full list of opportunities by region and industry sector

Get my first job – enter your location and specify which industries you’re interested in to find a choice of suitable apprenticeship opportunities


From Golem to governing society: 'AI: More than human’ review part one

September welcomes the start of another academic year and the media has been busy as usual covering the latest in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) news. As the skills gap continues to widen, Politics Home reports that primary school teachers are struggling to engage students with STEM subjects. Increasingly, young people have to become responsible for their own development in these areas, dedicating their own time to learn about the latest technologies.

Over the summer we shared with you the list of IET open days taking place across the UK. We hope you and your families got the chance to attend (if you did, please do share with us your experience on Twitter, we’d love to hear from you). To follow our own advice, we also decided to delve a bit deeper into tech over the six weeks holiday and attended the critically acclaimed ‘AI: More than human’ exhibition at The Barbican.

Here’s our Junior Account Manager Rose’s account of the show. Broken into two parts, this is part one:

Sometimes you can see it, other times you can’t, Artificial Intelligence has a habit of sneaking up on us when we least expect it. Whether it’s the use of facial recognition in London’s Kings Cross or the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there are many who are wary of the fast-developing technology, and understandably so.

However, are our fears more to do with how the technology is used, rather than the technology itself? If it’s the former, we need to ask some difficult questions about ethics. Do we trust homo sapiens to implement technology for the greater good of mankind, the planet and other species that live here? ‘AI: More than human at the Barbican’ prompted many such questions. It explored how civilisations across the centuries have worked, albeit sometimes unknowingly, towards today’s rapidly-developing world of advanced technologies. But just as any good exhibition should, it also provided some very interesting answers to how and why the AI revolution has happened and what the future may look like if we continue in the same vein.

For how long have we wanted to create robots?

The exhibition opened with ‘The dream of AI’ and showed how humans have always been curious about the artificial creation of living entities, whether through magic, science, religion or illusion. From the belief in sacred spirits living within inanimate objects in Shintoism through to the Gothic literature of the nineteenth century, the early roots of AI manifest themselves in different ways across various cultures as far back as 400 BCE.

 

Take, for example, the religious traditions of the Golem in Judaism. A mythical figure, the Talbud Jewish holy book says that the golem originated as dust or clay ‘kneaded into a shapeless husk’ and brought to life through complex, ritualistic chants described in Hebrew texts. The above image taken from the artist Lynne Avadenka’s book ‘Breathing Mud’ explores the relationship between sacred letters and the life which is given to the Golem, and by extension to the world. This reminds me of early mathematical diagrams and the coding which is so often used today to program otherwise inanimate objects such as robots.   

Apparently Jewish mystics in Southern Germany made attempts to create a Golem in the Middle Ages and believed this process would bring them closer to God. Is humankind’s fascination with creating artificial life a spiritual exercise after all?

The Uncanny Valley

Later in this section of the exhibition the Gothic tradition of the nineteenth century was cited as significant. Gothic literature such as Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ (1823) and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ (1897) blur the line between the living and the dead and evoke an emotional response of terror - yet people continue to enjoy these novels and the many films and television series that have stemmed from them.

Is it the element of the uncanny within these stories which appeals to us? Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny’ (1919) defines ‘uncanny’ as ‘belonging to all that is terrible - to all that arouses dread and creeping horror’ but it also explains that the ‘uncanny’ is formed when ‘something unfamiliar gets added to which is familiar’ according to English Professor Jen Boyle's interpretation of the text.

Perhaps this is why we get so perturbed by Count Dracula, essentially a human-being with a deathlike twist. Or Frankenstein the great inventor, who made a monster during a scientific experiment  using electricity and human body parts?

These creatures remind us of us - they’re part human, part monster. However, instead of supporting the positive self-image we like to preserve, they actually highlight the darker side of our psyches. They expose the capacity for human beings to become twisted and give in to their innermost desires.

‘AI: More than human’ goes even further in it’s exploration of the uncanny and its relationship to AI. The Uncanny Valley, a hypothesized relationship between the degree of an object’s resemblance to a human being and the emotional response, was demonstrated in a graph (see below). It shows that as the appearance of a robot is made more human, some people respond more empathetically until it reaches a point where it looks too human, for example social humanoid robots, and then people’s responses quickly become strong disgust.  

The Uncanny Valley Graph

Equally, if AI takes on too many human qualities such as empathy, creativity and leadership, many of us become perturbed, which is continually reflected in the news headlines today. 

Mind machines

The exhibition continued with a close look at the technological developments of the 19th and 20th centuries when the belief that rational thought could be systematised and turned into formulaic rules became more prevalent. Ada Lovelace, often considered the world’s first computer programmer, wrote a letter concerning a ‘calculus of the nervous system’ as early as 1844. As a young girl she was a particularly keen mathematician and was taken by her mother to see a demonstration model of the Difference Engine, the first computing machine designed by Charles Babbage. Ten years later she worked with Babbage on the Analytical Engine, a general purpose computer which had a store of 1,000 numbers of 40 decimal digits. The programming language was very similar to that used later by Alan Turing during the specification of the Bombe in 1941.

During WWII, the Bombe was used by Turning to decode messages sent by the Germans. It played a pivotal role in enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis. It also led to the development of many other computers such as the ENIAC (1946) and the UNIVAC (1951). 

One of the most significant developments in the history of AI happened in 1956 at the Dartmouth Conference, a two-month event organised by computer scientist John McCarthy. Everybody who was anybody in the world of computers attended to work on the problem of how machines make language, process concepts and improve over time. It may not have met everybody’s expectations but it was there that the term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined. The UK followed with ‘The Mechanism of Thought’ conference in 1958. 

It would only be a matter of 30 years or so before the Golden Era of computer technology began (think Windows 95!) and the first robots constructed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) would be built. Attila was also the first robot that I saw at ‘AI: More than Human’ which for me marked the great leap made by humans from stationery thinking machines to animate digital creatures.  

This was when the exhibition took a turn into the world of AI as we’ve come to know it today. In part two, I’ll explain how ‘AI: More than Human’ showed the many possible benefits of AI such as its potential to eradicate illnesses and produce whole new food groups. It also examined its darker side - the inherent prejudices it can hold and its capacity to ultimately govern society.

Until next time. 🤖 


Hootsuite Summer Social Series Webinar 1: What we learnt about social media personalisation

There’s a lot of discussion and articles lately about the importance of personalised content within marketing. We decided to take an alternative route by registering for Hootsuite’s ‘Summer Social’ series of webinars to see what more we could learn and share directly from the ultimate experts in social. The first webinar we attended was ‘Know your customer: Delivering a personalized experience on social’; and in this blog we’ll share what we discovered from the first webinar of the series.

For those who may not have much experience with the platform, Hootsuite enables businesses to make scheduling, managing and reporting on social media content easier. At Armitage, we use Hootsuite regularly for these very reasons.

Personalised marketing has become a massive talking point for marketers across the world, with goals to tailor content based on customer behaviours and specific needs. Hootsuite believe that in order to maintain and build relationships through an automated social platform, the process must remain as human as possible throughout, and this is where personalisation comes in.

Here's some key points on what we learnt about personalisation from Hootsuite’s webinar:

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands when they offer a personalised experience. That’s for sure one way of increasing conversion rates.
  • Brands are now becoming less focus on reach, but more on creating quality content personalised to customers.
  • The one size fits all approach to social media is outdated. After all, you wouldn’t ask someone to retweet your post on Facebook…
  • Whilst some content might work for one business, it doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Understand your target market through customer personas. If you need some help, we’ve created a B2B persona creator tool for you to try.
  • Create a varied content library including; high-quality videos for Facebook, shortened videos and imagery for Instagram, behind the scenes video clips for Instagram stories, and recruitment posts for LinkedIn- the possibilities are endless.

If you want a deeper understanding of using personalisation across your social channels, you can watch the full Hootsuite webinar here.


Analyse your Website with Our SEO Audit and Reporting Tool

With 93% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, and 75% of people never scrolling past the first page on Google, it’s hard to argue that SEO shouldn’t be an important part of your digital marketing strategy.

Each year, Google makes hundreds of changes to search, reporting an incredible 3,234 updates in 2018, an average of almost 9 per day!

As part of the Napier Group, we understand that SEO should be an important aspect of your digital marketing strategy; and our SEO Audit tool allows you to easily review your own website, quickly identifying any problematic areas that need attention, enabling you to make subtle changes to your site, and improve your own ranking on Google.

Our SEO Audit tool analyses key aspects of your website including:

  • Mobile Optimisation - Our SEO tool checks the site compatibility with mobile devices and delivers a simple usability score.
  • Page Speed – An important factor in search rankings, our tool measures speed for both mobile and desktop versions of your website.
  • Keyword Analysis – Our tool identifies the single, two, three and four-word keywords from the page, enabling you to optimize copy to meet your SEO goals.
  • HTML Headings – It’s important to have a structure to your page, as this will provide a good user experience. Search engines use headings to index the structure and content of your web pages.

 

Why not try our SEO Audit Tool today, and gain insight into how you can move up Google’s rankings. Alternatively, to find out more about how we can help you with SEO, and get the advantage on your competitors, give us a call on 020 8667 9660 or email us now.