Human-like robots edge closer to reality

If you’ve lived in fear of a futuristic robot rebellion, the newest creation from Google-owned Boston Dynamics won’t do much to ease your fears. The Atlas humanoid robot is probably the most lifelike, agile and resilient robot built to date.  As the video shows, it can walk on snow and keep its balance, open doors, stack 10-pound boxes on shelves and even pick itself up from the floor after being knocked down. And that’s where things get a little frightening.

Even though this is only a demonstration, Atlas’ handler abuses it by knocking boxes out of its hands and then shoving it in the back with a stick so it falls on the floor. But much like a ninja fighter, it springs back up and keeps on going. If you hearken back to Robo-cop, all this robot needs is a weapon to turn the tables on its human tormentor.

Why It’s Hot

Robots such as Atlas will some day be doing much of the back-breaking labor humans now do — picking crops, construction, fire fighting. But as the author of the cnet.com article where this appeared says, “Elon Musk once warned that Skynet (the evil artificial intelligence from the Terminator movies) could only be a few years off, and Google is increasingly looking like Skynet.” So while Atlas may act pretty cool and have good applications, it does have its ominous side.

Study Proves That Display Ads Precede Many Search Clicks

It’s tempting to credit a sale to the last thing a customer saw or heard before it happened, even though the reason is often far more complex. Even direct marketers with full access to their sales data aren’t immune to this tendency, called the “last-click attribution” fallacy in digital marketing analytics.

But now Facebook’s Atlas ad serving and analytics unit has some proof it can share from one of the biggest direct marketers – Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv – that just because someone completed a sale after clicking a search ad, the search ad doesn’t necessarily deserve all the credit.

By tracking the digital “path to purchase” through anonymized monitoring of Facebook users’ online activity, Atlas found that 16% of the online buyers clicked on search ads after first being served an online display ad.

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Why It’s Hot

This research illustrates how an ad doesn’t have to produce an immediate click or conversion to prove that it’s working. These results can help us and our clients to effectively measure display advertising beyond last click attribution.

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