Together with Isobar Switzerland, our key partner in digital and technology transformation, we are launching today a blogpost series on Tech Trends. Each of them covering a subject that matters in today's digitally-driven world. Enjoy the read of the first post on Humanized Data and stay tuned.

Data is driving the humanization of our digital world. Humanized data is the way we look, treat and use the data. In the past, data was information stored somewhere in a database or spreadsheet.

Today, data is an almost human like entity - it’s our digital mirror and the fuel that teaches machines to extend our capabilities beyond human capacity.

Historically, computers and machines have been relatively dull - capturing information and processing it into simple routines on a large scale, in the accounting industry for example. However, these systems are complicated to operate, as they require individuals to adopt the way of working of the system, following specific instructions and routines that are unnatural to us.

Thanks to all the data collected, we can now design software like Siri, a virtual assistant, or Sophia, a social humanoid robot, and others, who act and interact in a human like way. This is largely due to the advancement of data analytics and machine learning, where we train machines to behave in a way that feels natural to us.

In the past, data was used in relatively simple ways, treated with little respect, and was limited in its outcomes. Machine learning and artificial intelligence collects, analyzes, identifies patterns, exceptions, particularities and responds to changes in behaviors. Humanized data introduces a new aspect of personalized processes, by using an individual’s emotions and other measures, such as a change in music or film choice or reading progress on e-books.

Today, individuals are threatened by data breaches, privacy, their digital footprint, and for what the data is used. There is now a shift of power to control the data moving back to the individual human being – GDPR has forced companies to think differently about the data they are collecting. The potential ethical bias of humanized data in the context of artificial intelligence has raised questions about, for example, unproportionally promoting radical views through recommended videos and news. Machines have learned to be successful and will repetitively suggest and push content onto the user, instead of individuals manually researching on such topics.

The media industry uses an individual’s information and data to influence which stories are pushed onto your feed, tailored to their interest. We know that the reader will read similar stories and will keep coming back for more. However, shouldn’t we just leave our audience to inform themselves about these topics and not directly press our articles to them? Similar ethical concerns are not just present in our media industry – each industry has its own ethical concerns to worry about.

However, learning about individuals’ emotions and interests on their physical and mental state creates opportunities to automate communication between users, and provide support on what brings them joy. Generic one-size-fits-all offers will make place for automated tailored ones of studied individuals and generate an enormously successful response rate. At first, target groups will be humans with a natural tendency to self-observe and reflect on their being, such as how they’re feeling, what their body is doing and performing, and who are not overly concerned by their data.

Once the fear of privacy has been overcome, humanized data will become a mainstream phenomenon.

Moreover, businesses will maintain their long-term relevance through humanized data technology, as they will transform from primitive marketers to dialogue partner for their clients. This process will add an emotional and personal factor to all digital products and is the first step to generate a personal approach to any customer interaction, whether is it for support, purchasing or marketing. As we target our marketing campaigns to our customers, they will feel addressed. This will lead to preferable purchasing flows as unnecessary information, such as gender which can be accurately predicted, will be avoided.

Additionally, humanized data is used to generate superior product design, as their requirements are based on ready-available data, rather than assumptions which get validated by studies. Sophisticated algorithms that aim to build a personal profile on yourself based on traceable behavior already comes close to the humanized aspect of data. Humans are increasingly inclined to produce different types of shareable data, such as their heart rate, breathing habits, blood sugar levels, music preferences and other mood-related choices, means data-hungry algorithms are receiving more fuel for humanization of data.

The future of humanized data and artificial intelligence could vary on the risks, opportunities and time frame of when major breakthroughs happen. Advancements are enhancing our human capabilities, through helping us provide smart homes and appliances, smart and connect products, personal assistants, autonomous cars and many other fields where data helps to serve individuals.

In conclusion, humanizing data is a limitless opportunity for businesses and brands to get closer to their consumers.

It is fundamental that business leaders think through how to leverage humanized data in a respectful manner; to improve quality of life and experience; not to define it.

Data is not being processed to take over individuals’ brains, but rather to create simplicity in our everyday tasks and habits – it enables data to feel more human.

How do you feel about the humanization of data? In what way is data shaping your business model? Where and how do you draw the limit? Share your thoughts via social media or contact our experts Olaf and Philipp.

About TX Group:

The TX Group is a network of digital platforms in Switzerland offering information, orientation, entertainment and services to its users every day. The TX Group consists of four independent companies: TX Markets comprises the classifieds and marketplaces; Goldbach stands for advertising marketing in Switzerland, Germany and Austria; 20 Minuten combines the commuter media in Switzerland and abroad; Tamedia leads the paid daily and weekly newspapers and magazines into the future.

About Isobar:

We are a global digital agency transforming businesses and brands through the creative use of digital. Our 6’500 digital experts in 85 locations across 45 markets in Americas, EMEA and APAC deliver experience led transformation, powered by creativity through our end to end service offering. Isobar’s clients include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, KFC, Mead Johnson, Nestle and Philips, and is part of Dentsu Aegis Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsu Inc. www.isobar.com

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Olaf Melber

Olaf Melber

Head of Paid Media & Distribution