Marketing roles will be recast in the next two decades as inevitable technological forces, such as artificial intelligence, replace existing tasks and functions, said PHD China, at a conference held in Shanghai on Wednesday 15th March.

However, despite huge shifts in the way we do business and the use of algorithms leading to some roles becoming extinct, technology will create new roles, according to Mark Bowling, head of strategy at PHD China.

“The potential of AI is infinite. A future where machines reach human levels of intelligence and adopt an active role in our marketing jobs is a possibility that shouldn’t be discarded. AI will reveal new opportunities for brands and marketers, enabling new levels of data precision and analysis based on personal preferences, needs and endeavours instead of past experiences and tendencies. Machines will be able to predict what consumers want, while we will build on developing personalised, creative and impactful solutions with a new found understanding of the consumer journey” said Mark.

“Although some marketing roles will cease to exist in the next few decades, new ones will be created from continual developments in technology. You only need to look at the roles that have already come into existence in the past few years that didn’t exist a decade ago, such as SEO, social media management, E-commerce, marketing optimisation.  As repetitive tasks and jobs get replaced by AI, new roles for humans will emerge in the management of further tech development. Recent AI breakthroughs have all required human involvement in some way and the hardest jobs to automate will be strategic planning and consumer insight development.” he continued.

AI was just one of the subjects explored at PHD’s ‘Predestination’ event, coinciding with the launch of the agency’s bi-lingual booklet titled ‘Predestination: Where we are all heading’, which explores the marketing implications of technological forces that will shape our future.

These trends, fueled by digital innovation, offer huge opportunities for creative breakthroughs – from virtual reality in a multi-connected home and an on-demand economy, to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture, revolutionising the way we buy, work, learn and communicate with each other.

The booklet builds on PHD’s collaboration with visionary and Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelly, author of “The Inevitable”, who partnered with PHD at last year’s Cannes Lions to explore the tech trends.

According to Kelly “by understanding and embracing these forces, we will be able to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that will bring maximum benefits”.

At the event, PHD clients and partners were invited to a showcase of technical innovations, both in the keynote speeches from PHD’s Mark Bowling, KIIP’s Brian Wong and Xiaomi’s Chen Gao Ming, and from an interactive session to see and experience emerging technologies. A final discussion with a panel of experts centered around the types of changes the marketing industry will be forced to make, and the emerging (and disappearing) jobs that the changes will bring. This led to an eye opening session of Q&A’s on how to prepare for this upcoming shift with the audience.

Lars Bjorge, chief digital officer, PHD Greater China shared, “AI will amplify our work and allow our ideas to evolve in a new environment. With the rise of virtual personal assistants (VPA), we will no longer be persuading humans, but algorithms that select and buy on our behalf”. “The future of marketing will be algorithms making the necessary arrangements to skillfully appeal and sell to our consumer’s VPA” he added.