SciFi meets Reality: Tech Trends for Marketers Amy Webb Keynote
October 2016 – Minneapolis
Sci-Fi Meets Reality:
Tech Trends For Marketers
This is the full presentation deck for Amy
Webb’s Sci-Fi Meets Reality Tech Trends
presentation at the 2016 MIMA Summit.
This year, Amy’s presentation included the
participation of some live bots. You’ll see one
of them in this presentation, but they may no
longer be live by the time you try using them.
Me: 3 Things
Futurist – Technology, Media and Society
Founder of the Future Today Institute. We answer “What’s the Future of
X” for Fortune 500 + Global 1000 companies, universities, government
agencies, large foundations, media companies. Adjunct Prof. @ NYU
Stern School - Marketing Department.
3 It’s My Birthday!
I brought presents for you...
#MIMASummit –– @amywebb on Twitter –– @FuturistAmyWebb on FB
YOU: 3 Things
I’ve created a Dropbox folder with the presentation
and a bunch of resources you can download and
share with your colleagues.
I have a special surprise guest joining me today.
You can interact with them during the presentation.
Things are going to get weird. Make sure your
devices are out >> Twitter, Facebook
A media executive pitched me a new
strategy for the future of news.
This was our exchange:
Exec: “We’re going to be the Uber for news.”
Exec: “Three years from now, we’ll have an on-demand news platform
for Millennials. They tap a button on their phones and they get the news
delivered right to them, wherever they are. This is the future of news!”
Me: “Is it an app?”
Exec: “Maybe. The point is that you get the news right away, when you
want it, wherever you are.”
Me: “So you mean an app.”
Exec: “Yes!” But more like Uber.”
The executive mistook a
thriving platform for an
“Uber for X” tech trend.
1. A trend is driven by a basic human need, one that is
catalyzed by new technology.
2. A trend is timely, but it persists.
3. A trend evolves as it emerges.
4. A trend can materialize as a series of un-connectable dots
which begin out on the fringe and move to the mainstream.
What is a real trend?
Uber + driverless cars will free
our attention from captivity.
Will you still choose to sit idle,
listening to the radio? To
podcasts? Or radio apps?
Analogy for the challenge that you
Simultaneously thinking about
today, tomorrow and many years
from now, without getting distracted
by shiny objects.
The future of marketing depends on
your ability to see what’s happening
at the fringe and follow it to the
5Emerging Tech Trends
Scenarios for 2016 and 2026
Amy only had time to go through three trends.
There are two additional trends listed here.
In December, the Future Today Institute
publishes its annual Tech Trends Report. This
year, it includes more than 150 trends to
follow. It’s free. Sign up to get a copy along
with FTI’s monthly trend updates at:
Machines have vision.
What do they see?
Within the next few years,
every one of those 7 billion
people will own or have
access to a camera.
Impending Global Data Challenge
Everyday people How do I sort/ store/ ﬁnd my pictures?
Marketers and PR
How can we use pictures to make sense of the brands,
organizations and events that shape our society?
How can we use pictures to better understand our
How can we harness pictures to inform us of criminal
How can we train machines to automatically
recognize objects in all these pictures?
To address that challenge,
machines must recognize
explicit objects... but also
context and infer meaning.
Image credit: Google
Addressing the Challenge: Object Recognition
Image credit: Google
Addressing the Challenge: Object Recognition
Photo credit: Siri Stafford/Getty
• Recognize you even if you’re
• Recognize you even if your hair
is covering your face
• ID you by smile, grimace
• ID you by posture
Machines are learning to recognize
our actions and behaviors, too.
Recognizes objects in video and photos
Offers image overlays from brands related to those
(Like buying Google ads, but visual)
Implication: Auction system –– companies compete to
buy the rights to certain objects, like a coffee cup.
Filed January 2015
photo credit: Associated Press
2026: What happens on the 25th anniversary of 911
if marketers buy the object words “Twin Towers”
Is there an algo that will
protect us against our own
2016: Mixed Reality
Immersive environments changed our
expectations for how stories are told.
Mixed Reality (n)
Combines the physical and digital
realms. Augmented Reality (digital
overlays), Virtual Reality (an
immersive digital environment) and
multidirectional camera angles (360
Do a great job in VR, and you––marketers––have
the power to biologically re-wire your audience.
Please connect the dots in advance!
• What are the boundaries that you’ll set? How
much mind control is ok?
• How will you represent gender/ religion/
culture/ ethnicity in a virtual world, without
• Do marketing agencies need to hire ethicists?
Amy is designed to learn as
you interact with them.
meets people where they
Not a replacement for
*great for speciﬁc subjects
Target / CVS: FluShotBot
This can be built with Chatfuel (or other)
What is the ﬂu shot?
Who should get the ﬂu shot?
When should I get the ﬂu shot?
Is the ﬂu shot safe?
Will the ﬂu shot make me sick?
Where is the nearest Target?
How much is a ﬂu shot?
General Mills: Breakfast Bot
This can be built with Chatfuel (or other)
Why do we eat cereal?
What is cereal, exactly?
What do various countries eat for breakfast?
How are our brains affected by cereal?
Who else eats cereal for breakfast – just kids?
How do you make cereal?
What’s the deal with whole grain?
Amy is now live and is
ready to meet you!
Facebook: Amy Webb Bot
DO NOW: Build a conversational project.
Try an explainer or single-issue bot.
LEARN from your experiment to
understand how to meet your audience
where they are to have a conversation.
2026: Conversational Computing
Mistakes were made.
Basic conversational computing
systems require a big database of
possible questions and answers.
AI systems require data sets,
algorithms and training.
Training happens in real-time,
and require real interactions
Here’s what happens when
humans get involved.
These machines have
And textbooks. (our data)
We are their mothers and
We are creating them in our
By 2026, we will realize that
we taught machines to talk,
and they learned from our
structural racism/ sexism/
Program your systems now
to help retrain us, as we train
If you try to harass
Amy, they have been
designed to help you
learn how to be a better
(full scale is in Dropbox)
1.Is your bot’s purpose explicit? Will people interacting with your bot clearly
understand what its purpose is after the ﬁrst few interactions?
2.Is your bot easy to access, either on a designated platform or across
3.Does your bot help people learn something new, or does it effectively
reinforce something that people already know?
4.Does the corpus (the initial, base set of questions and answers) you’ve
created reﬂect only one gender, race or ethnicity? If so, was that intentional?
5.Did you assign your bot a traditional gender, ethnic or racial identity? If so,
does it reference any stereotypes?
Web Content Producer
Social Media Manager
Interactive Media Planner
Media Research Analyst
Search Engine Marketer
Chief Experience Ofﬁcer
Principal Researcher, Media Lab
Neural Virtual Experience Manager
Augmented Reality Producer
Lead Data Scientist
Automation Experience Designer
Marketing Jobs of the Near-Future
Learn what AI really is, what it can do,
what it can’t do. Learn the lexicon.
Read some papers.
AI: What You Should Do Now
These are the two additional trends that
weren’t in the live presentation.
What happens when hackers go
after the personal details of every staﬀ member
in your client’s organization? (Or your agency?)
In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, we’ve seen a number of data dumps.
WikiLeaks has published troves of data. Hackers broke into Hacking Team,
publishing a massive amount of internal data. Sony has been breached, and so
have various branches of the U.S. government.
This isn’t about stealing credit card information, but rather about making public the
personal details of individuals. “Doxing” is mining and publishing personal
information about a person––organizational doxing is when this happens to an
entire company. (Security expert Bruce Schneier has written extensively about
Why this matters for marketers: In the spring and summer of 2016, hate groups
on Twitter began speciﬁcally targeting women staff at a number of brands, Jewish
journalists, and African American city ofﬁcials. In our ever-polarizing political
climate, you and your clients ought to shore up security and to develop a risk
management plan should they ﬁnd themselves doxed.
Trend #4: Organizational Doxing
New tools will supercharge and augment
the work of marketers.
Simply put, AI is branch of computer science in which computers are programmed
to do things that normally require human intelligence. This includes learning,
reasoning, problem-solving, understanding language and perceiving a situation or
environment. AI is an extremely large, broad ﬁeld, which uses its own computer
languages and even special kinds of computer networks, which are modeled on
our human brains.
For the past six decades, researchers have been modeling AI using our own
human brain as inspiration. Neural networks are the basic computer architecture
that attempts to mimic some of what we know about how the human brain and
central nervous system transfers signals.
Why this matters for marketers: AI systems will help marketers do everything
from personalize content to individual consumers... to analyzing media buying... to
automagically generating ideas. This won’t replace the work for marketers, but
rather it will supercharge their abilities to garner even more attention for their
brands and causes.
Trend #5: Augmented Marketing
The future isn’t
It’s something we all create
together, in the present.
I gave everyone at the MIMA Summit a free
copy of my new book. (See next slide.)
My new book is all
about the future, and
how you can predict
tech trends yourself!
Your organization can
become a member of the
Future Today Institute!
The Future Today Institute’s Annual Retainer Client ProgramThe Institute’s Tech Trends Forecasting Subscription Service
WHAT YOU GET AS A
FORESIGHT PROGRAM CLIENT
This program ensures that an organization knows all of the near- and mid-future trends on
Quarterly On-Site Trends
These half-day customized trends
Sessions are deeply personalized
for your organization and they are
highly interactive. First, we detail
emerging trends your organization
needs to know. But from our point
of view, information alone isn’t
That’s why in the second half of
our quarterly workshops, we apply
two of the Future Today Institute’s
tools to help you determine how to
move the trend into action. (Even if
the result is to simply monitor the
trend for a little while longer.) By the
end of these quarterly workshops,
you’ll not only know what trends
are emerging, but what to do about
them in the present.
Big Ideas Summit
Foresight Program clients receive
invitations to our two Big Ideas
Summits a year. We bring together
the Future Today Institute’s clients
as well as experts working on
emerging technologies for an
exciting roundtable discussion.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet
and collaborate with brilliant people
and to share knowledge across
industries. (Clients receive 2 seats
per Summit.) Summits are typically
held in NYC, Boston and DC.
Tools To Measure Your
Our annual tech trends report
is covered by dozens of media
outlets (Harvard Business
Review, USA Today, Wall Street
Journal, Washington Post
and others) and is typically
downloaded more than
250,000 times each year. The
Future Today Institute clients
receive early access to the
report, giving them a strategic
edge as they plan for the year
What’s the value of tracking
trends? We’ll give you a set of
tools to help you quantify the
impact of the tracking trends
within your organization.
The ability to talk with us
throughout the month for
advising, insight and inspiration.
(Additional fee applies.)
Notes From The Near Future – Monthly Trends Report
all of the emerging trends you should be aware of, why they matter,
and who the key players are driving the trend.
Notes From The Near Future – Monthly Trends Brieﬁng Call
A few days after the report is sent, we host a short virtual hangout
to answer any questions you might have. Since all of our clients
are invited to join, it’s also a great opportunity to hear from people
working outside your industry.
For clients using Slack, we include a custom #trends channel to
continually update and inspire your team.
Early Access To Our
Annual Trends Report
Become a member of the Institute!
• quarterly custom tech trends
presentations in your ofﬁce for you, your
staff and (if you want) your clients
• monthly research and reading packs
• custom Slack channel just for you and
• invites to our Institute events
Interested? Call 267-342-4300 or email