Brand Experience Trends: Landscape Shift 3: Living in the age of the algorithm

Jack Blog

April 14th, 2021 By Damian Ferrar

Note, this is the third in a series of three excerpts from our latest Jack X brand experience trends paper. Each of these excerpts will give you a brief overview of the the landscape shifts we are witnessing. To download the full paper, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Yuval Noah Harari – author of Sapiens and Homo Deus – says that algorithms will be the most influential force of the 21st century. There are many challenges to be solved, including the well-documented biases inherited from their human creators – however here we discuss how algorithms can be a force for good, transforming how we learn, explore, and make important decisions. Yes, this is an optimistic outlook – but in the words of Elon Musk: ‘I’d rather be optimistic and wrong, than pessimistic and right’.

Democratizing individualized learning.

Maintaining that optimism, let’s talk about education. Adaptive algorithms have the potential to transform how we learn – especially in developing nations, where smartphone penetration is high, but education rates are low. Using existing, available technology, education plans could easily be curated for each person considering their age, comprehension levels and interest, giving each individual a greater chance of success.

Up Learn is an online tutoring platform already selling this concept in the UK. Combining AI and neuroscience they are able to assess a student’s performance and create a unique learning plan to focus on areas of difficulty. All supported with interactive content and on-demand tutors Up Learn has seen great success, with 97% of their students receiving A marks on exams.

The playground of possibility.

One early failing of how we have deployed algorithms lies in the creation of echo chambers: by only recommending more of same topic or style content, we’re exclusively directed to materials that reinforce existing beliefs. However, smart brands are using algorithms to expand horizons, by designing serendipity into our interactions. This is enabling new tools of intuitive discovery, waking up society to the endless possibilities and potential of the world around us.

These don’t have to be free-giveaways or surprising celebrity visits with customers (both of which still work). They can be small and simply enjoyable. Spotify demonstrated this back in 2015 when they launched their ‘Discovery Weekly’ feature, a custom playlist made for every user, based on their listening

preferences, released every Monday. They tapped into their audience’s desire to find new music, to become connoisseurs. This change allowed listeners to explore more music and in turn average listening hours per user grew by 25% and 37% more unique artists are being heard. Spotify has continued to expand their personalized and curated selections, allowing them to maintain the upper hand in the competitive music industry.

Want to read the rest? Download our latest X paper titled Curated, below.