Social networks (SNs) are capturing a significant quantity of information on their users but this data is not structured and this means it is very difficult to put to use.
Because of the above issue, companies use Artificial Intelligent (A.I.) techniques to analyse SNs. These have extraordinary learning capacities, indeed these techniques are capable to process all the activities occurring over their networks and they are capable to analyse conversations, process facial recognition, and analyse gaming activity.
In general, according to Schalkoff, R.J. (1990) the scope of A.I. study is to “explain and emulate intelligent behavior in terms of computational processes” through performing the tasks of decision making, problem solving and learning.
When applied to SNs, A.I. uses social computing and Data mining techniques for the analysis. The outcomes support marketer studies to identify influential profiles within networks and to use appropriate societal marketing approach to reach them.
Indeed, the better understanding of users’ preference and behaviors improves:
Marketing, specifically for consumer prediction, clustering and brand perception;
Sales forecast due to the the high accuracy of prediction for products and services demand, inventory control and distribution.
The application of A.I. to study the users’ behavior foster the discussion of ethics, in particular for the threat to privacy and threat to human dignity.
Indeed, any single users’ activity (even if the user is anonymous) increases the quantity of information available for a Data Mining analysis and improves the accuracy of predictions for single user. There is also the high risk that I.A. can replace humans in significant jobs (e.g. police officer, judge and soldier) because its capability to analyse fast and well people behaviors, and this would create frustration and alienation in people.
A.I. is impersonal and this means that it is limited to analyse and act according to the programming. Indeed, machines associate a specific action to a specific event.
For more information regarding developments and investments in this are, please find below some interesting readings:
Facebook and AI: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34118481