A technology and data driven shift is taking place in the digital marketing scene in India and Artificial Intelligence is acting as a catalyst, Jodie Sangster, CMO Liaison Lead at IBM Watson, tells Shubham Raheja in an interview during the Brand Studio Live. Edited excerpts:

How does India compare to the rest of the world when it comes to adoption of AI?

India has a level field when it comes to adoption of AI. We are starting to see that there are a lot of players that have adopted AI to see if it can cater to demands, how it will affect business. But the growth path for India is immense when compared to other countries. India has such a huge labour market, and it is armed with skill and technology. It is highly likely that it will adopt AI in the future to enhance efficiency and efficacy.

Big investments are being made by the government and businesses. The power of AI is understood, so you will see the technology being used by more businesses in the next two years.

Will AI replace jobs?

You will see that in several places, people are working at 100% or even 120% capacity. It is said that AI will save 30% of their time, which is a good thing. We call it “Augmented Intelligence," which means humans and machines work together, which basically means machines will step in and do parts of human jobs. This will evolve jobs into something new while technology sits behind them.

What role does AI play in digital marketing?

AI will step in every single role of digital marketing and will help companies save money. Marketing batches are shrinking and so we need to be smarter with how we spend our money. Using AI to take a look at trends of where marketing works and where our audiences are has given us a really clear understanding of where we should be spending our money to drive a business result. AI is absolutely tailor-made for that. During early trials, we found out that companies can save about 50% of their spend while getting the same result.

What role can the government, businesses and consumers play in making AI more responsible?

I think it is the case with any technology that there are certain boundaries around which it operates. At the end of the day, it comes down to probably two or three things that are going to make the difference. Recently, since AI has come under scrutiny many times, the government has become mindful that it stays in the right hands and is used for the right purpose. That it is not used in a biased way or in a way to put someone at a disadvantage.

Brands, too, play a role, and they have to—as we know for a brand to keep its reputation, it must do the right thing. It is even more sensitive because of social media as people are now quick to call out a company that is doing the wrong thing.

Citizens need to be more aware of the choices they make. Previously we just ticked the privacy policy and moved on without realising how it would affect us. We have got to be more mindful of which companies we can trust and make sure we don’t let our privacy come in the hands of those we do not.

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