AI & Digital Empathy

Plus: 3 Ways to Drive Loyalty With The Post-Purchase Experience


This past weekend, I finally watched M3GAN (some spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched already).

It’s about a life-like robot with an advanced AI (of course) that assumes the role of protector of a little girl who just lost here parents. Apparently her aunt (the one who designed and built the robot) has no time for her niece.

Don’t know why it started dancing, but I’m hooked

Eventually — and you probably saw this coming — M3GAN goes a bit too far in protecting the girl.

Maybe that’s an understatement.

Actually, M3GAN goes on a murderous rampage on all people and animals that threaten the girl (even if they’re not a mortal threat).

Of course it knows that this kind of behavior is frowned upon and that there are laws against it — which is why it tries to cover up her misdeeds. Eventually, everyone figures out that M3GAN was behind some very mysterious deaths.

Can you guess what happens next?

They try to shut M3GAN down. And, let’s just say, it doesn’t go well. Where would the fun be in that?

If this story of “AI gone wild” sounds familiar, well it’s been told before with some nuance. Here’s a few films where AI seems to catch some feelings:

AI will emulate emotions & feelings at some point—right??

  • M3GAN

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Her

  • Ex-Machina

In each of these movies, the AI seems to develop its own consciousness, its own sense of self, and does what it thinks is necessary for its own survival — which usually involves eliminating the humans from their “lives”.

AI Emulates Emotion

The question is, how close are we to developing AI that can emulate emotions and feelings? Where it can develop its own sense of self?

Geoffrey Hinton believes AI will have emotions — sooner than later. It seemed pretty far out a few years ago, but maybe we’re closer than we realize.

Of course, Mr. Hinton can come off as a bit of an alarmist when it comes to AI, but really, he’s not the only one. Ex-Machina’s trailer shows that other technologists had these same concerns back in 2015:

Digital Empathy & AI

Our CEO at Rep AI once talked to me about “digital empathy” and AI and what it could it mean for service-facing chatbots:

  • Hyper-personalized experiences for everyone, regardless of time zone, culture, language, etc.

  • Adapting tone & voice contextually, for everyone

  • Emulating understanding & empathy

  • Showing personality (non-robotic answers)

Do these advances concern you? Excite you? A little of both? Because they’re coming, and in some cases, already here — probably percolating in an advanced AI lab somewhere in the world.

The Latest

X Marks the NOT

I don’t know what Elon is thinking. He spent over $44B for a well-known media brand, only for him to kill said brand (and the bird). The name also easily translated to a verb. However:

  • “I tweeted,” now becomes, “I X’d you?”

  • “I’ll tweet it,” now becomes “I will X it?”

  • “Retweet that,” becomes “re-X that?”

Doesn’t really work, does it?

Whatever. Everything dies. And maybe Twitter doesn’t make sense for the everything-app powered by AI that it aspires to be (sounds like he wants a WeChat).

Poll: Do you like the Twitter to X change?

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Brand Experience

Who’s your Target Audience for Brand Marketing Efforts?

I once asked David Aaker, author of 17 books on brand & brand strategy, what he thought of brand marketing. His response?

“What’s that?”

It took me a second to understand what he meant. Every type of marketing will impact the brand in some way. So, in his eyes, marketing anything is a form of brand marketing.

And at the tippy-top of the awareness journey, where no one knows your name, you’ve got to put out a message with broader appeal — otherwise known as “brand marketing”.

Both serve important purposes for the business

With an unaware of your brand kind of audience, your job with this kind of activation is to get them to pay attention, even if you’re not talking specifically about the product.

This article explains that there are three target audiences for your brand marketing efforts. They are:

  1. New potential customers (acquisition).

  2. Existing customers (retention).

  3. Internal team members and stakeholders (inspiration).

Marketing Experience

TikTok Smells Some “X” Blood In the Water?

Some might think Musk’s rebrand of Twitter to X was to grab headlines away from Zuck’s Threads launch.

Well, looks like TikTok sees (or seizes) an opportunity to get into the text posting mosh pit. They just launched text posts.

TikTok eating into that X pie

No rate limits. 1000 characters per post.

The next few years will be interesting to watch.

User Experience

3 Ways to Drive Loyalty Through Post-Purchase Experiences

A new report by Loop basically tells us what we already know: that we, as consumers, want flexible & extensive return options before buying anything online.

In their 2022 report, they noted that over 57% of shoppers stopped purchasing from a retailer because they had a negative return experience. Ouch.

In the 2023 report, they surveyed over 2000 shoppers from both the US & UK and here’s what customers generally want, post-purchase:

  1. Frictionless, customizable experiences (flexible dropoff locations, like UPS or FedEx, etc., hassle-free repackaging, etc.)

  2. Personalized post-purchase touch points (suggest products based on past purchases, offer discounts or loyalty, etc.)

  3. Product Quality Guarantees (93% of those surveyed say they’re more likely to purchase when there’s a strong guarantee backing the product)

Your return policy matters. In fact, 92% of respondents always check the return policy before making a purchase.

Here’s a breakdown of what people want, by generation:

Bottom line: when buying online, nobody wants to buy — and get stuck with — a poor quality product.

Customer Experience

How to improve your CX in record time

I remember listening to a CEO about how he grew his company so ridiculously fast using a ridiculously simple method: just get everyone to talk to customers.

Everyone had to spend some time on the front lines of the business, answering support tickets, responding to customer feedback, etc.

He noticed that product features and fixes that would normally take months to develop were just getting done in days or weeks.

Engineers would listen to problems and just fix them on the spot. No waiting. No meetings. No putting it on the board and prioritizing it.

Funny how empathy works.

Bottom line: when leaders go on customer journeys, things change — and fast.

Employee Experience

Invest in EX, get better CX

What drives customers to take their money elsewhere?

Bad employee attitudes (globally).

And on its heels? Unfriendly service (it’s actually first in the US). Take a look:

This is just another way of saying, please take care of your employees. It has a bottom-line effect like no other.

Data Experience

The World’s Top 15 Economies

At the current rate, China and India will lead world economies by 2070. It was inevitable.

Barbenheimer Emoji Data

Movies are in again? Well, it’s the summer. We’re one year removed from the end of the pandemic. There’s record heat. Why not?

Here are the most popular emojis scraped from Twitter based on the buzz from Barbie & Oppenheimer.

Stay cool out there.


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