PROGRAMMATIC IN YOUR POCKET
Life In a Cookie-Less World: Part 2 – Interview with Willem Paling
Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Visit LiveRamp to find out how they can help your business.
This episode features the full interview with Dr Willem Paling, Director of Customer and
Growth Analytics at IAG. Willem has a strong passion for developing and improving customer experience and marketing and is optimistic about the future of digital advertising.
Your host Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and co-founder of Ashton Media brings Short, Sharp, Stories and Solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media and CX. In digital advertising, the downfall of third-party cookies is imminent. For advertisers, agencies, and publishers, the future is opaque at best. But it’s in this uncertain future that I’m reminded of a key moment in history where the right team overcame obstacles both challenging and unknown.
The marketing and advertising industry has a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookies and
their favourite digital treat is going to vanish.
With third-party cookies in decline and a move for the industry to look for long-term solutions,
opinions have become clear on the landscape of digital marketing and how it has changed over
the past few years.
We spoke with several prominent figures in the digital marketing industry, to discuss what
that the cookie-centred approach has meant for the industry since the inception of
programmatic by tapping into their experience and insights on the long-awaited
Into its 7th year, the Summit is firmly established as ANZ’s Programmatic Industry Showcase.
It’s the largest gathering of ANZ’s programmatic industry, and we’re delighted to announce
that in partnership with IAB Australia, the Programmatic Summit takes place in March 2020,
Sydney and Melbourne.
Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by LiveRamp. More
on the Programmatic Summit 2020 here.
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION
Willem: [00:00:00] We were in Shenzhen recently visiting the insurer Ping An. Right and, and overthere, NLP or, or voice AI more broadly is, is huge. Um, you know, we literally crossed the border and,
you know, we see the taxi drivers interacting with his phone just by talking to it, you know, which is
kind of the exception here.
Kids do it and you know, we don’t do it that much. So, so at Ping An, they’ve replaced this team of
3000 interviewers and trainers with a voice bot that hires people and trains them and you know, with
better results than they had using people. So people are going to be using this stuff everywhere and
you know, it’s just going to be normal, right.
Gavin: [00:00:42] Hello. I’m Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and Co-founder of Ashton Media and
the host of Programmatic In Your Pocket, brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Short, sharp,
stories and solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media, and CX. Up next we’ll
be playing the full interview with Dr. Willem Paling. Stay tuned.
Please make sure to subscribe, rate, comment and tell anyone you know that’s interested in this
industry about this podcast and your favorite episode. You can find Ashton Cast on all the major
podcast players. Go to Ashtonmedia.com.au/Ashtoncast for more info.
We are here on site at the 2020 Sydney Programmatic Summit with the one and only Dr Willem
Paling. He’s the Director of Customer Growth and Analytics at IAG. Um, welcome to the show,
Willem. And can you tell us a little bit about yourself and IAG as well, please.
Willem: [00:01:44] So IAG is, um, we’re a general insurer, so I’ve got brands like NRMA Insurance
and CGU Insurance. Being a general insurer, that means we do mostly car insurance, home
insurance, um, things like that. Um, so my role at IAG as Director of Customer and Growth Analytics,
um, I look after analytics for, for marketing, customer experience, um, distribution, um, all those
kinds of things to, um, really seek to better understand our customers and do better measurement
and, you know, ultimately to deliver growth.
So. I’ve been involved in programmatic since about 2013. I’m all on the client side in-house desk. Um,
so back in 2013, I worked with Chris Smith, um, at Foxtel to set up the in-house trading desk and then
moved across in 2016 to IAG. And we did the same there. Um, and I’ve done a lot of work on
incremental attribution through experiment design, and that’s been in, in programmatic, in search
and in all channels, in TV and radio, and so on.
Gavin: [00:02:42] Fantastic. And you’re just hot off the stage from Programmatic Summit here. Uh,
can you tell us a little bit about what you, what you spoke about please?
Willem: [00:02:50] So I talked about, um, Bob Hoffman’s, um, controversial, aggressive incendiary
article, um, which was basically calling out what he called a conspiracy of silence in digital advertising.
Um, the, their, their whole raft of problems in digital advertising. And the, um, the, the most likely
situation is that we know that these problems are there. Um, but, you know, we haven’t been
comfortable to talk about them. We’ve chosen to remain silent rather than addressing it head on.
Gavin: [00:03:22] What is the trend in programmatic that you’re most excited about at the moment?
Willem: [00:03:26] Well, I think, I think it is this. I mean, right now we’re at a point where it’s got to
change. So, um, with all the incrementality testing that we did it, it showed that, you know, for our
brands at least, um, that the programmatic didn’t drive a short term sales outcome to the degree
that we, we thought it did. And so, so it means that, that, you know, I’ve long felt that we need to
change focus towards, towards creativity. To brand advertising. To getting people’s attention.
And, now, now it’s going to have to happen and it’s going to have to happen for two reasons. It’s not
just Bob Hoffman calling it out. It’s a, there are regulatory changes coming in and, and also the, the
browsers are making changes that mean that, you know, third party cookies are going away and
we’re not going to be able to do the same kind of targeting and the same kind of touch-based
attribution measurement that we, we have done in the past.
Gavin: [00:04:23] I guess you kind of touched on it before, so you know, what is the, is the trend that
you wish would change or stop?
Willem: [00:04:29] Um, I mean, it’s short termism in business generally, so. So I’ve always felt
uncomfortable with it, with it in marketing, and felt a bit like, you know, in, in moving beyond
marketing. So I was looking after, um, media, including programmatic, but all media or in, in
marketing at IAG for NRMA and other brands. Then moving out into, into analytics. I found that, you
know, the, the same kind of short termism and the same kind of, you know, measuring without
regard to incrementality is happening everywhere. And I think that’s a change, that’s sort of risen
over the past ten, twenty years, um.
And yeah, it’s, it’s been pretty, it’s been pretty bad. And I think that comes at the expense of
genuinely delivering growth and, um, you know, more rigorous business strategy in the long term.
Gavin: [00:05:20] Great. And so obviously, in the media lately, there’s been a lot spoken about the
demise of the cookie. Um, so I think we’re, you know, gonna go a little bit deeper into that now and
just get some, some of your insights around that. So, how do you feel about third party cookies in
general and have the upcoming restrictions to third party cookies been a surprise, or would you say
they’re long waited?
Willem: [00:05:42] Um, well, I used to be a web developer back in the day, so there are plenty of
valuable use cases for third party cookies in building web applications. And so it’s a real shame that
they’re going away. Um. Um, I, you know, have been genuinely surprised that the browsers are
seeing this as such a problem as the, you know, as to get to the point they’re going to seriously limit
the utility of third party cookies. But at the same time, you know, I think it is actually necessary.
Um, you know, it seems, it seems benign. Like, too, too many targeted ads is just a bit annoying for
consumers. Um, basically harmless. But you know, right now we’re living in a time when there are
countries who are genuinely trialing a social credit score. And in that context, if, you know, if we’re
talking about all this tracking going towards contributing to your social credit score, um, we start to
get a lot more, more in profile and becomes a lot more concerning.
Gavin: [00:06:36] Great answer, mate. And so with, with data becoming more valuable and third party cookies disappearing, what does this mean, do you think, for the future of digital advertising?
Willem: [00:06:44] Well, I’m genuinely optimistic. I think there’s something really valuable in not
being able to measure. Um, it forces people to think more. Um, you know, you’ve got to think about
the interaction between people and ads and how they might remember the ad, how the ad Willem
make people feel. Um, with third party cookies going away, we’re going to have to think about digital
advertising as more of a human problem. And I really think that’s a good thing.
Gavin: [00:07:05] So, in a way, I guess we’re almost going back to kind of old school advertising
Willem: [00:07:10] Yeah, that’s right.
Gavin: [00:07:11] How do ads actually make you feel and what do they make you do rather than,
how do they make you interact on a, on a particular digital platform.
So, um, yeah. How crucial do you think it will be for advertisers to identify post-cookie marketing
strategies, and will the two year timeframe be a heightened factor? Are people kind of, you know,
are they frightened?
Willem: [00:07:32] Yeah. I think people are, people are worried. Um, but you know, Google will
surely phase things in, you know. In the chromium blog, they talk about replacements, um, you
know, replacements where we can’t talk to the individuals, but more general profiles or groups of
people, I think.
I think that’s been a lot of noise for advertisers. Technology has been really fast moving and, and
there’s lots of risks of looking stupid if you’re not constantly trialing new things. Um, I think that’ll
slow right down. And, you know, I hope that it gives space to marketers to put a bit more effort into
planning and thinking about what they’re doing and where they are buying media and, you know,
understanding the quality of the placements they’re buying rather than treating every impression as
equal. You know, I hope that’s the direction that it goes.
Gavin: [00:08:16] Do you think, you know, speaking off the cuff here, do you think we might see the
rebirth of the big ad?
Willem: [00:08:22] I hope so. Uh, I mean, we’re already seeing a bit in that direction. Like, um, you
know, formats like the formats that Playground do and, um, and, and Celtra, um, where, you know,
we’re taking over the screen and, um, you know, providing an experience that, you know, that is
bigger. Um, so yeah, I do. I hope it goes, it goes more in that direction.
Gavin: [00:08:47] Yeah, cool. So, obviously there’s no denying programmatic is groundbreaking
technology. Uh, it’s brought new capabilities to the industry and allowed marketers to purchase data
driven granular audiences at scale. To what extent will this change with the blocking of cookies?
Willem: [00:09:03] Yeah, so it’ll change. But again, I don’t see it as, as that much of a problem
because I’ve always found contextual targeting to trump third party data in this. I’ve found small
business audiences, for example, that when we compare the small business audiences to our own
business customers. You know, we do cookie matching and compare the cookie pool. Um, the pool from that audience is worse than random, and we would, it would be better applied as an exclusion,
um, than as the target, um. And then we find that the closest thing that we can find for small
businesses, NRL and AFL fans, you know, it’s, well, you know, we’re going after tradies in small
businesses, so it makes a lot of sense to get inventory from the NRL and AFL if we’re going after those
audiences and, and you know, much less sense to go for the targeting.
But of course, it really depends on the publisher and the advertiser. Um. The in-house programmatic
teams that I’ve worked with, both had really broad targets. You know, we’re selling car insurance. It’s
all the people with cars or who might buy cars, most of the people. Um, so third parties are, is not
Um, and it’s, uh, you know, it’s a compliment to the mass reach that’s happening through TV and
radio and outdoor. Um, you know. All the people who watch telly, it’s the same kind of scenario. Um,
but when you’re talking about something much more specific and we’re just having this conversation
earlier about cycling, um, that’s much more of more of a niche. So I get targeted by a lot of cycling
stores and you know, that scale of brand with a much narrower appeal will find it really hard if that
capability goes away.
Gavin: [00:10:35] While, Google’s move isn’t catastrophic, the level of fear triggered by this small
move shows just how reliant and vulnerable publishers, vendors and agencies are to one company
and one browser. How can we improve the online experience for consumers and clean out the ad
ecosystem as a whole community with industry wide change so that everyone benefits from it?
Willem: [00:10:55] I think, and I’ve been saying this a bit, I think we need to focus on the interaction
between people and ads more than the tech. So we need to be considerate of people’s online
experience and be vigilant in safeguarding against advertising products that gain the metrics by
creating basically terrible user experiences.
Um, you know, I think we need to be aiming to get to the point where people remember online ads.
Now, where we appreciate how difficult it is to get people’s attention online. And that’s our focus.
Um, it’s easy to create an impression if, you know, if our definition of an impression, is just loading an
ad tag and it’s much harder to create an impression when it’s, when it’s a human memory and that
human memory is what matters to brands. Um, so, you know, in terms of the ecosystem, it, if we, if
we change that focus, it doesn’t matter as much.
Gavin: [00:11:42] And so, yeah, cookies are crumbling. Who do you think are going to be the winners
from this? Like who were, who were the, who were the major winners from cookies disappearing?
Willem: [00:11:52] Well, I mean, there’s, yeah, there’s the side of it where people are going to still
want to do hyper-targeted advertising and you know, of course. You know, these platforms where
people log in every day, um, you know, Facebook and Google, and that’s kind of it. Um, you know,
they’re going to continue to be able to do this kind of targeting and to be able to attribute sales in
ways that other platforms can’t. And you know, that is, that is a real worry. I hope that the response
is, you know, to do less of that kind of targeting, um, and to, you know, focus more on creativity. But,
you know, certainly in a subset of the market, those will be the winners.
Gavin: [00:12:31] So, obviously, creativity is more difficult, wouldn’t you say? I mean, is that, is that,
you know, a big part of the reason why people have kind of gone down that more technical route or, I mean, you’re a measurement guy, right? So what, what are your thoughts on those two kind of
beasts living side by side.
Willem: [00:12:48] Yeah, absolutely. It’s more difficult. It’s, you know, it’s much harder to, it’s much
harder to get people’s attention when they can literally block your ad, dismiss your ad. Um, you
know, where it’s easy to ignore it. It’s not the whole screen. It doesn’t take up, you know, it takes up
some small fraction of the screen. So, yeah, it is much harder and it’s, you know, it’s quite easy to sit
here and just say, we need to be creative like TV. Um. But to actually deliver it requires a level of
creativity, you know, beyond that, um, you know, we’ve required, you know, new formats and
striking content and, um, you know, to actually, um, you know, be brave and nudge people in ways
that, that, you know, we’ve not seen in digital advertising before.
Gavin: [00:13:28] So where do you reckon that bravery is gonna come from?
Willem: [00:13:32] I think it’s, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that that much. I mean, I think it
needs to come from a combination of… I think it needs to come from a combination of the creative
agencies and, um, and the media agencies and, and the publishers. I mean, I don’t think we’re going
to be able to get the kind of attention we’re talking about here through, you know, running the
standard formats that we’ve had for a long, long time. You know, it’s not that we’re going to be able
to fit that level of, of engagement into an MREC. Um, you know, I think, we’re going to have to see,
um, we’re going to have to see, you know, real innovation in ad formats and, um, real focus on, you
know, how people engage with that. So, you know, as part of that is going to be technology. Part of
that is going to be what happens to the publishers. And, um, part of it’s going to need to happen, you
know, creative agency, because they’re gonna have to engage with it, and, um, and, and do more.
Gavin: [00:14:34] Exciting times ahead, I think. Um, so with cookie-based targeting and retargeting
being significantly challenged, contextual advertising will have to seek new avenues. What’s your
understanding of the use of AI driven NLP, real time sentiment analysis and their potential to open
up highly valuable inventory?
Willem: [00:14:50] So I’ve got an interesting story about this. We were in Shenzhen recently visiting
the insurer Ping An, right. And, and over there, NLP or, or voice AI more broadly is, is huge. Um, you
know, we’re literally crossed the border and, you know, we see the taxi drivers interacting with his
phone just by talking to it, you know, which is kind of the exception here. Kids do it and, you know,
we don’t do it that much. Um. So, so at Ping An, they’ve replaced this team of 3000 interviewers and
trainers with a voice bot that hires people and trains them and you know, with better results than
they had using people. So people are going to be using this stuff everywhere and you know, it’s just
going to be normal. Right.
So for my daughter’s generation so, so she’s, she’s five. Um, you know, speaking to computers is
going to be the primary interaction. You know, she’s got no idea how to use a PC yet, but she’s well
adept with Alexa and OK Google and finds features we never knew existed.
Um, the obvious advertising opportunity is with smart speakers and personal, personal assistance. So
there’s not a whole lot in this just yet. But it has the potential to be really big and I don’t think it’s
taken off as quickly as I’d imagined. Um, the obvious use cases, you know, you’re building your
shopping cart on a smart speaker and ad units are recommending brands at the points you’re putting
on your list with the opportunity to put a discount in place. And you know, if people take to that, if
that’s the way they build their shopping list and order their groceries, that’s going to be huge.
Um, I don’t know that these technologies will enable better targeting, but you know, more context
for advertising that look more like paid search where people are asking for a product and you’re
saying,” here have this product.” And it’ll be even narrower than, than search. You know, in, in
search, because you’re looking at it visually. You put three products in front of someone and they still
make a choice. You know, when you’re interacting through voice, it’s um, you know, it’s, it’s slow to
list out three products so you know, you’re more likely to go, “how about this one. We’ll give you $2
Gavin: [00:16:38] Less choice is really what we’re talking
Willem: [00:16:40] Yeah.
Gavin: [00:16:41] Less choice, kind of more put upon us from the advertiser per se. Right?
Willem: [00:16:45] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Gavin: [00:16:46] Interesting.
Willem: [00:16:48] I think it’s probably a step too far to expect to be able to gauge the mood of a
room through a camera or microphone and on a smart TV and deliver ads accordingly, but I think
there is going to be, yeah there’s going to be massive opportunities as more of our interaction is
taking place through voice.
Gavin: [00:17:03] Great answer, mate. And so, um, we’ll just dive into the, the ACCC inquiry here,
which people have been, you know, a little worried about as well. Um, so with the impending ACCC
inquiries into the ad tech supply chain, focusing on digital display ad compounded by government
announcing plans to introduce a binding online privacy code in the Privacy Act. How do you think this
is going to affect the type of inventory that vendors offer.
Willem: [00:17:26] Well, I think there’s some big unanswered questions at this point. So how will,
how will personal information being defined? Um, cause if it’s defined as everything that can be tied
to a known individual, then you know, we’ll have to have significant GDPR like overhead to collecting
data to enable behavioral targeting.
Whereas, if it’s something that can possibly be tied to an individual, um, you could, you could
interpret the data sent with a bid request as being, um, as being personally identifiable information.
And that’d be an extreme interpretation, but it’s not unplausible.
Uh, I think there’s going to be more and more of a push towards subscription. So big publishers are
already shifting their primary focus from selling ads to subs. Um, and with that you’re going to have
better data. First party data tied the first party cookies. Known people who pay for stuff, you know,
they paid for a subscription, they might pay for other things too. Um, so there’ll be potentially a
smaller quality of much more valuable inventory. Um, you know, that is, of course, if the subscription
isn’t sold on the basis of cutting out the ads.
Gavin: [00:18:26] Hmm. Interesting. And, um, what do you subscribe to at the moment? Any, anything outside of the usual?
Willem: [00:18:33] Um, well, we’re in, in our household, we’ve got it, we’ve got a subscription to The
Guardian, um, and a to SMH.
Gavin: [00:18:41] And are they, how their, how their targeting going for you? Is it working? A lot of cycling ads?
Willem: [00:18:46] Um, yeah, the cycling ads everywhere big, um, you know, big lists of products
from Wiggle and so on. They’re, they’re regular.
Gavin: [00:18:57] With a looming reduction of data from consumers, will brand marketing methods
shift to known quantifiable methods of operation?
Willem: [00:19:05] Um. I think we’ll see digital measurement a bit more aligned to traditional media.
So more focus on reach and survey measurement, slow measurement and more thought about,
about, you know, what it is that makes a campaign successful.
Um, I think that’ll mean less hectic expectation of daily or weekly optimization and, and more of a
growing role for digital in brand advertising.
Gavin: [00:19:27] So do you think that’s going to slow things down a little bit?
Willem: [00:19:30] Yeah, I think so. I mean, it’ll be a bit of a, do less, accomplish more scenario
where, um, you know, I think because you can optimize programmatic everyday and because it’s
called a trading desk, it sounds like, it sounds like
Gavin: [00:19:43] It sounds like you have to, right?
Willem: [00:19:45] It sounds like the stock market. We used to make the joke at Foxtel like “oh,
quick!”. You know. “Ad units on SMH are down now buy, buy, buy!” It’s not like that. It shouldn’t be
like that, but the expectation sometimes is that it’s like that.
Gavin: [00:20:00] Yeah. Great. And so are there any interesting new strategies your programmatic
team is experimenting with at the moment?
Willem: [00:20:07] Right now, we’re actually revisiting the test. So it was a while back that we did
the retargeting experiments. Um, so it’s time that we challenged the results and, and that’s our
biggest focus right now. So I’d love it for retargeting to deliver a sales lift for us, and I’m sure it does
for other categories.
So, you know, we’re trying again, and hopefully we’re gonna return new news. Um, don’t know yet.
But, um, it’d be, it’d be great if we did the same test and achieve a different result.
Gavin: [00:20:33] Only time will tell, I guess. So, um, can you tell us a little bit about that retargeting
Willem: [00:20:38] So, the first time we ran it was probably about 2016. We ran for for about four
months. And so what we did was on desktop devices, half of the cookies, half of the devices that that
came to our website were eligible for retargeting and half, half were not. And the reason we did this
was actually that we ran a creative test where we had some, you know, highly personalized, creative
at each step in the quote funnel. And we ran that against standard creative and there was no
different, no difference between the two.
So, then that triggered the thought of, you know, what, if retargeting is not actually working at all, if
we can’t see any difference between this highly personalized, creative and this pretty generic
creative, you know, is it having any impact at all?
And so we ran that for about four months and the, the number of attributed sales from standard
attribution was about 1700. When we looked at data driven attribution, which tries to infer, it tries to
infer the difference between running the ads and not running the ads by comparing, comparing,
converting and non converting paths.
Um, that went down to about 1600 sales. But the difference between the group who were eligible for
retargeting and the group who were not eligible for retargeting was minus 26 so the measurable
impact was a small negative impact. And of course. Um, you know, with a stats lens on that there is
no impact. It’s just noise. Um, but certainly it showed that digital attribution was off by, by such a
scale that it wasn’t even in the right direction.
Gavin: [00:22:11] So your retargeting just doesn’t work for you guys, basically.
Willem: [00:22:14] Yeah. No, we, we haven’t done it in a good few years.
Gavin: [00:22:16] Fascinating. And um, so ad tech is expected to record exponential growth between
now and 2023. Given the new privacy regulations and the blocking of cookies, do you think
advertisers have become too reliant on third party cookies and as a result, have lost their ability to
effectively use first party data, or do you see this as a minor setback that will solve by future
Willem: [00:22:40] I think the shift has to be from innovation in targeting to innovation in formats
and creative delivery to get people’s attention. I don’t really see it as a setback at all. Um, third party
cookies have enabled junk attribution. So, you know, there’s so much wasted time and money going
after a measure that gives no read on additional sales resulting from a campaign.
But it’s been hard to break out of. It makes everyone look really good if we’re reporting on loads of
sales. So it’s really hard to move off it. Um, you know, however much people want to, nobody wants
to deliver the report that says, Hey, for the last five years I’ve been telling you, you’re getting, you
know, hundreds of sales from my ads every day. Actually it was, it was ten and the CPA is, you know,
ten times what I told you, and he’s totally unviable. Nobody wants to have that conversation. So it’s
really hard. It’s really hard. But, you know, however much people want to, now, now we’re at the
point of having our handful. So, you know, in my view, it’s a gift, not a setback.
Um, I think, I think the greater loss has been the ability has, it hasn’t been the ability to use third
party data, um, but the belief that delivering a highly targeted message is universally more valuable
than delivering a shared experience through mass reach. But the study of how advertising works
alongside the right of television, alongside the growth of television by like people like John Phillip
Jones and Andrew Ehrenberg is still, it’s still really relevant today. The same issues and the same
principles, um, you know, and also by great agency planners like Stephen King. Um, but you know, I
think over the last decade or so, you named Mark Pritchard’s words, you know, we’ve been blinded
by shiny objects and we lose sight of how to do marketing properly.
And that’s how to connect with people. It’s so much more important than, than stringing together a
sequence of ads. You know, creating a journey of messages as you’re caressed down the purchase funnel by highly targeted video and display. Cause I mean, when have you ever experienced one of
these programmatic journeys yourself?
Um, there’s no reason that digital can’t be delivering that mass experience, but we need to focus on
better formats and on people and ads and how the two interact.
Gavin: [00:24:45] Terrific, mate. And, two more questions and then you’re off the hook. So if you
could tell someone ten years ago, one thing about how advertising would turn out now, what would
Willem: [00:24:59] Um, I think I’d tell them to resist the polarization. You know, there was, I think it’s,
it’s, um, it’s dampening now, but you know, we had this, this TV is dying, digital’s rising. It’s the
replacement. But you know, TV’s declining. It’s not dying. It’s declining. It’s going to continue
declining and we’re going to need to do better things.
But digital is not the panacea. Um, you know, learn the breadth of, of what you’re doing and, you
know, resist the, you know, resist the extremes that, you know, that get the clicks and that get
people, um, that get people excited and, you know, learn to engage with the whole of advertising.
Gavin: [00:25:37] One more. So what books, podcasts, media are you into right now that are helping
you with your day to day work or maybe just helping you to be a better person?
Willem: [00:25:47] Yeah. Um, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately on, on the nature of creativity,
so a lot from a guy called Scott Barry Kaufman. Um, it really interesting. They talk about, um, systems
one and system two thinking and how much of creativity goes on in this, in this subconscious
thought, which isn’t being, you know, consciously processed in your mind.
Um, it’s interesting cause there, you know, the Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast Thinking Slow, um,
has got people believing that the, the, the, the system of thought that it’s not conscious, rational
thought, um, isn’t very valuable and we need to, we need to be conscious of that and bring more into
Whereas, you know, the study of creativity kind of says the opposite. It’s like there is so much of your
valuable thought that is going on subconsciously, and this is where creativity comes from. Uh, that,
that’s all. That’s all really fascinating. Um. I’ve been reading a bit of, of old school advertising
So the timeless works of Stephen King, um, the JWT planner, not, not the horror guy. Um, and then,
Gavin: [00:26:51] Not Misery then?
Willem: [00:26:52] No. And I’ve been reading Nick Bostrom on artificial intelligence, you know, I
mean, the, um. He’s book goes through the general AI. So, you know, wre talking about voice AI
earlier, which has quite a specific use case.
But general AI is this idea of when, um, when a machine has the complete cognitive function of a
human being. And there’s this real problem with that, which was, you know, it’s identified about, um,
you know, 70 years ago. Um. But once a machine has the full cognitive capability of a human being, a
subset of that cognitive capabilities, developing cognitive machines. So there’s going to be this intelligence explosion where machines become smarter and smarter and smarter. Um, and you
know, humans are no longer the dominant, most intelligent
Gavin: [00:27:42] We become the worker bees is what you’re saying, right?
Willem: [00:27:44] That’s right.
Gavin: [00:27:45] Exciting times ahead, yeah?
Willem: [00:27:46] Yeah, exactly. Um, so yeah, if that happens, um, game over.
Gavin: [00:27:52] Yeah. Wow. So, um, what are you saying? Don’t let the genie out of the bottle or,
or is the genie already out of the bottle?
Willem: [00:27:58] The way that they talk, the way that Bostrom talks about is like, if it becomes
possible someone will unleash it, like someone will just unleash it cause they want to see what
Gavin: [00:28:08] Nice one. Well look, thank you so much for your time. Really, really appreciate it
and appreciate your fantastic presentation earlier today at the Programmatic Summit. Thank you
Willem: [00:28:15] Thanks a lot.
Gavin: [00:28:16] Dr Willem Paling.
Willem: [00:28:17] Thanks, been great.
Gavin: [00:28:20] On the next episode of Ashton Cast, we’ll be playing the full interview with Jennifer
Snell, followed by Peter Berry, and then Travis Clinger, the VP of Global Strategy and Partnerships at
LiveRamp. Stay tuned.
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