Chris Stephenson, APAC Head of Strategy and Planning, PHD, recently came to India to confer the company’s vision for the future. He launched a book, Merge where he explored the relationship between humanity and technology. Stephenson said, “Merge is all about the coming together of humans and technology, to the point where you can’t tell where one stops, and the other begins.” He further added, “We’re about halfway through that journey, and we’re in the third of the five stages. Where we are now is interesting for marketers. But where we are going next will have huge implications on how products and services are delivered.”
Stephenson spoke to the media regarding PHD’s latest innovation, Investment Planner. It would advise the clients on matters concerning budgets and productive spending. He had a conversation about how marketers can use machines and technology smartly and effectively to their advantage. Here are a few edited excerpts.
What are the five stages of the journey of man and technology working together?
The first stage started in the middle of the 20th century when we commenced using data. Computers and networks helped us in this process. Stage 2 began at the end of the last century. During this time we started using 4 main technologies- operating systems, browsers, search engines and apps to arrange data systematically. He felt, since the last decade we are in a period of extracting data. We use the extracting platforms to enable us to share photos or YouTube videos. Many big companies are in the process of retrieving data like Airbnb, Spotify and Uber. Now the big question is how we can extract value and usefulness from data and information? According to him, right now we are in this stage.
Where are we going next?
Nowadays most of the work is done by artificial intelligence, chatbots, machine learning and VPAs (Virtual Personal Assistants). Currently, these machines are responding to our queries. In the 4th stage of Journey these machines would be able to anticipate our needs, Right now, the marketers try to convince humans to buy their product and services. In 4th stage, the marketers will have to persuade machines to buy for humans. With the acceleration in speed and change now it has become inevitable for stage 4 to arrive.
He also took part in many other engaging talks with the media personalities present at the event.