Once the stuff of science fiction, artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming part of our everyday. New uses for this futuristic technology are launched each week, often so subtle that you will only find them if you seek them out. These practical and specialised AI applications are helping brands personalise their offering, improve efficiency and simplify consumers’ lives.  

The master of the algorithm, Tinder’s latest update makes it even more likely you’ll meet your match. Its Smart Photos feature will swap your profile picture depending on the preferences of who is looking at it. For example, it will change if your potential partner prefers seeing full-length photos, or ones with your pet. The feature is said to improve over time, but it has already led to a 12% increase in matches.

Ebay also hopes to find you the perfect match – but with more of a focus on your home than your love life. Its new Ebay Collective site, dedicated to art and design, features image recognition technology that lets shoppers select an image of a room to find matching products. Using this tool, the auction site aims for a level of curation that is ordinarily only found in physical homeware stores. 

Despite its benefits, many consumers are understandably cautious of this rapidly advancing technology. The Hiro Baby app, which offers on-demand advice and support in response to parental queries, retains a human-assisted element to reassure apprehensive consumers. Users receive personalised feedback and product recommendations that are derived through artificial intelligence, yet approved by a real person before being sent.

Similarly, Baidu’s medical chatbot is not designed to replace doctors, but simply to speed up the diagnosis process. Patients answer a series of questions, which become more personalised with every response, to create a detailed account of their symptoms prior to doctor referral. These personal assistants use messaging services to provide a familiar interface that helps connect with patients individually.

How artificial intelligence will develop in the future is uncertain. This month President Obama pushed his support for AI, making it a key focus of his guest edited issue of Wired magazine and unveiling a plan for ensuring government regulations develop in tandem with the technology.

Yet one thing is certain: if artificial intelligence can deliver the practical benefits it promises, without the distractions, it will likely be here to stay. As Obama put it, AI “has been seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways, and we just don’t notice”.   

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Get into the minds of the people ushering the new era of brand. 

Each month, we sit down with creatives and brand leaders who share with us their passion, dreams, hobbies, business goals, advice, personal style, tools of trade, proudest moments, last stamp on their passports, and more!

Inside our FUSE MUSE Fall 2016 Edition eBook, you will find inspirational pearls of wisdom from design and brand leaders including:

·         Thomas Thurston, WR HAMBRECHT VENTURES
·         Mauro Porcini, PEPSICO
·         Judith VanVliet, COLOR MARKETING GROUP
·         Vicki Young, NALLA DESIGN
·         Melissa Steach, HERMAN MILLER
·         Vikram Bawa, MCCAIN FOODS

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The FUSE Team

October's color alert is Redlicious, a sumptuous, appetizing red that suggests a forbidden fruit, full of temptation and sultriness. Its depth lures you in and takes hold of your visual sense, and conjures the senses of smell and taste. It is a smoldering fire, candy apple, and sensuous lip, all rolled into one.  

By: Sophie Corfan, Stylus Life Editor

As the world turns its attention to the upcoming U.S. election, prominent brands and figures across the creative industries have been jumping on the political bandwagon over the past few weeks. Brands are increasingly using campaigns to get behind social causes – from LGBTQI pride to female empowerment – gaining traction and respect among politicised consumers.

Remaining neutral while pushing politics, both Snapchat and Doritos have been encouraging their audiences to “Rock the Vote” recently – coinciding with the USA’s National Voter Registration Day (27th September). Snapchat’s initiative reminds users of the importance of voting through its infamous bite-sized videos, before directing them straight to the voter registration website. Meanwhile, Doritos vending machines on college campuses playfully point out that if you’re not registered to vote, you don’t get a choice – giving only tasteless chips to unregistered voters.

Brexit – and the subsequent political turbulence – continues to fill the news in the UK, and this week, a number of designers united over the Brexit Design Manifesto. The document, spearheaded by Max Fraser and Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs, lays out opportunities and challenges for the British design industry in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Signed by an array of design influencers, the manifesto demonstrates how industry leaders are taking the initiative to ensure the stability of their own future.

Fashion brands are also aligning themselves with the causes their customers care about. The Kooples announced that fur would no longer feature in any of its future collections. The decision has been prompted by a PETA campaign and petition signed by 60,000 people, demonstrating a willingness to listen to its audience and adapt accordingly. Monki’s feminist Monkifesto uses humour to attune directly with the core concerns of its young female consumers. The campaign’s catchy slogans –tackling periods, sexuality, cyber-bullying and more – will appear across a capsule collection over the coming months.  

As political and social issues infiltrate so much of the current conversation, it’s no surprise that consumers are expecting brands and influencers to join in – with 74% of US consumers appreciating companies being clear on what they stand for (The Futures Company, 2015). And with value-driven Gen Z and millennial consumers considering their beliefs key to their identity ­– and keen to spend accordingly – this trend is only set to accelerate.

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