Capturing people’s attention is the foundation of all advertising. But what is able to grab a person’s attention? Today, we are turning to technology to find the answer. Algorithms are being used to track every click a person makes. They study what appeals to the person in order to better predict what they might click on in the future. There is no question about it – artificial intelligence and big data are changing our understanding of attention.
The Search for Something New
The average adult’s attention span is only about 8 seconds long. Even when we feel as though we are completely focused on the task at hand, our minds tend to wander. The brain is always searching for something new and interesting.
Shifts in attention are usually an unconscious action. You don’t even notice your attention has drifted until after the fact. This makes capturing someone’s attention that much more challenging. Two of the most well-known and effective ways to capture a person’s attention are bright colors and flashing lights. But now, artificial intelligence is collecting big data to help us better understand more about what captures a person’s interest.
Advancements in the algorithms for language, audio and video are progressing at a fast pace. Just consider how much automatic speech recognition has improved in the last few years. It wasn’t all that long ago that speech recognition was an interesting idea with mixed results when put into use.
Today, more than 8 million people own the Amazon Echo – a smart speaker that relies entirely on speech recognition. APIs are already being used to track facial expressions, age, gender and interest levels of someone looking at an ad. This can provide valuable information about what the target markets are for a particular business, as well as what types of ads they respond to.
Artificially Produced Content
Not only is AI helping to collect big data about what captures people’s attentions – it won’t be long before it is also helping to create the content we consume as well. Neural networks can already create images of everyday objects that look convincingly real enough to fool people.
Machines are also being used to write content that is cohesive and useful. While the technology still needs more refinement, it won’t be long before it can create fresh content that is virtually indistinguishable from written by an actual person.
Adobe has announced they are working on a new program named VoCo, short for voice conversion. Think of it like Photoshop, but for audio files. It will make it possible to generate audio of any person’s voice saying anything.
As these technologies continue to improve, companies will be forced to change their tactics in order to appeal to the zero-sum market of human attention.