As someone majoring in strategic communication and minoring in business analytics, the intersection between words, data and creativity excites me. As communication professionals, it is worthwhile to be aware of the technological landscape — both its assets and liabilities — that can impact companies, consumers and society.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Likely without even realizing it, the advances of artificial intelligence have greatly impacted how you use technology. For example, if you were to Google a product and later, you see an ad for the same product, that is the work of AI. It is what also drives tools like speech recognition, chatbots and search engines.

Here are some other well-known examples that relate to AI:

  • Grammarly can correct misspellings, catch grammar mistakes and clarify tone through its AI software.
  • Netflix can predict what show you might also like based on running previous viewing data through AI programs.
  • Google Photos uses AI to classify images by faces and objects so that you can easily search for pictures.

So how exactly does AI work? According to SAS, “AI works by combining last amounts of data with fast, iterative processing and intelligent algorithms, allowing the software to learn automatically from patterns or features in the data.”

  • Data Privacy

In an age of digital marketing, there has been a shift to personalized experiences — and consumers love it. From a report by Accenture, “91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.” But personalization feeds off data, and consumers, policymakers and others are limiting the amount of data shared.

One piece of legislation you should know about is the California Consumer Privacy Act, which passed in 2018. The act secures rights for California consumers in the following ways:

  • “The right to know about personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared;
  • The right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions);
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; and
  • The right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights” (Source: Office of the California Attorney General)

Why are there concerns regarding data privacy? The general consensus seems to be primarily one of two reasons:

  1. If companies are storing data, it is reasonable that one may worry about a data breach, which means that personal information of users can be exposed to hackers and/or the public. It can be more worrisome if the data is sensitive or if the data is being stored without the user’s permission.
  2. Some companies have been found to sell user’s data for profit. A lack of control of where your personal information is going and who is seeing it can be a reason of concern for any user.
  • Metaverse

On October 28, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced a vision for the company previously known as Facebook. The metaverse is a virtual space that mirrors reality, where users are represented by avatars.

As portrayed in the demonstration video, some potential applications of the metaverse include:

  • Socialization — You can be with anyone around the world at any time doing anything you want. Want to play cards in space? Yes. Want to roam the desert with your besties? Easy. The best part is it will feel like you are actually there.
  • Entertainment — Imagine your favorite music artists’ concert is sold out. Do not fear, you can feel as if you are there through the technology of the metaverse.
  • Fitness classes — You can be virtually transported into a boxing ring to fight it out and practice some new moves.
  • Education — Through the lens of virtual reality, you can view the solar system and each planets’ features, right in front of your eyes.

While it may seem like the metaverse takes its inspiration from a sci-fi movie, there are plenty of unique brand opportunities that you should pay attention to as the virtual world continues to develop.

Rebekah Green is a senior studying journalism-strategic communication with a minor in business analytics. She is the Vice President of Member Relations for Scripps PRSSA and a District Ambassador for PRSSA National. Follow her on Twitter here and on LinkedIn here.

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