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January 22 2018

The ‘Merge’ of Man and Machine


We are at the brink of the next evolution and technological development is the liberator of advancement. However, it is not the driver. The driver is us,”  (Eileen Ooi, Head of PHD Malaysia)


Who would’ve imagined that we could “fit the world’s knowledge in our pockets”? Or that 50 million mobile phone users (within two weeks) would be “caught up playing Pokemon, a game of catching monsters”, developed simply by overlaying a virtual lens onto the real world.

With technological advancement, humans have embraced digital technology, enhancing and extending our senses and capabilities. A perfect example would be the Cyborg Foundation.

Its founders Moon Ribas and Neil Harbisson are both cyborgs. While Ribas has a seismic chip implanted into her “arm” to feel earthquakes around the world in real time; Harbisson, who is colour blind, has an antennae embedded into his “skull” so that he can perceive visible and invisible colours via sound waves.

As well as this, AI-powered robot – Sophia – has been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia. Yes, you heard all these right. Machines are becoming increasingly part of our everyday lives.

According to reports, technology will become even more pronounced, with machines becoming as intelligent as humans, narrowing the gap that separates human and machines. Apparently, the future will see both technology and humanity symbiotically and literally fuse – envisaged or conceived as “Merge” according to global media agency PHD.

“We are at the brink of the next evolution and technological development is the liberator of advancement. However, it is not the driver. The driver is us,” says head of PHD Malaysia Eileen Ooi.

Twenty years ago, no one would have thought that we’d be walking side-by-side with robots and cyborgs. Clearly, the exponential rate of technological progress is moving at lightning speed, generating new opportunities and experiences.

As much as these advancements have been adopted to serve us humans and improve our quality of life, change and transformation is required.

With the “merge of man and machine” and the “magic of this merge which is gradually happening” comes the question, “will your head be plugged into the cloud or buried in the sand?”

PHD Malaysia shares five steps we (marketers and consumers included) can take to prepare ourselves for the inevitable future.

▶ Deny-Accept-Embrace. Look beyond the evolution, the new buzz words in technology or marketing, as well as the fear of the unknown. Evaluate the possibility and scalability of the technological development in question. Move past denial and assess the potential impact and value when integrated into one’s marketing plans.

▶ Don’t wait for successes, make your own. The speed of change is happening swiftly – adapt and change with it, now. Test and learn on-the-go; correct plans dynamically to generate immediate impact; experiment with elements of your entire marketing methods; identify areas of opportunities; and start exploring these today so as to have your own “learnings” when the “Merge” arrives.

▶ Start plugging into a connected system. To take advantage of the technological advancement so it works for you/your business/brand, start integrating and connecting critical elements of the marketing ecosystem/marketing stacks, i.e. data partners, agency suppliers, offline channels, CRM and research. All information should be “tagged, aggregated and automated” to grasp the full potential of AI.

▶ The power of two. Neither machines nor humans alone equates to stronger and better together. Marry both as marketers and leverage the exponential power of science that technology offers, along with the power of human instincts, creativity and empathy targeted to yield a more superior marketing plan and product.

▶ Trustworthiness and empathy become differentiators. When the “Merge” happens, innovation isn’t the only factor that will dictate the future relationship between humans and technology; cultural, political and societal issues will also play a role. Marketers must find a balance. Brands must be transparent and honest, with the consumer’s interest at heart as data will be fuel of the future. For brands to have access to data, consumer trust is required.

This article first appeared on News 365 Malaysia


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