Back to School 

"If you go in my bathroom, there’s a book, Machine Learning for Idiots,” Mark Cuban said on the latest episode of Recode Media. “Whenever I get a break, I’m reading it."

Cuban, the co-founder, Shark Tank star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, believes AI and machine learning have become so important that they're dwarfing the impact of the Internet. And we all need to educate ourselves now.

Cuban’s bathroom reading aside, there's no question that understanding intelligent technology is critical for business leaders and communications pros.

As we've captured in this newsletter, large scale data analysis, algorithmic-driven processes and creative license can bring completely new techniques for the production and distribution of media. But as is often the case with new technical language, perceived complexity can stand in our way. 

To better understand these complex themes—and put them to work—we embarked on a research project that eventually led to a new learning platform you can access here: Media Genius.

It’s a living study guide about communications at the intersection of media and intelligence.

It includes a summary of key themes, recent examples and hundreds of hours of free courses from sources including CNN, Betaworks, Google and Stanford. We initially designed it for our colleagues, but realized it could also be helpful for clients, partners and students to use as they see fit. We're sharing it for the first time, hoping to open a broader discussion and exploration of where intelligent-driven media can take us.

Given the depth of content inside, a few suggestions for getting the most out of it: 
  1. Skim the Entire Doc: Become familiar with the content and vernacular and get a sense for how intelligence is changing communications and marketing.
  2. Look at Examples: Click through examples in sections that catch your interest. These reinforce the reality that this is not where media is heading, but rather a look at what's already happening.
  3. Take a Course: Try a class on a topic that you're most curious about or one relevant to your line of work. Some starter examples might be: 
    1. Want to understand the basics of social media intelligence? Check out “Social Media and Digital Analytics” from Purdue. 
    2. Hearing about machine learning but intimidated by the concept? Check out “Machine Learning Crash Course” from Google.
    3. Need to communicate implications of a major business shift? Check out “Digital Transformation Strategy” from Boston University.
    4. Want to dig deeper into changing dynamics of fake content? Check out “When Seeing in No Longer Believing” from CNN. 
    5. Curious about how AI will transform the way we work? Check out “Intelligence Tools for Digital Age” from IE Business School. 
  • As you look at the range of subjects, note that courses like “Social Media and Digital Analytics” and “Machine Learning Crash Course” look at how to apply intelligence in your work. Courses like “Digital Transformation Strategy” and “Intelligent Tools for Digital Age” look at business implications as a result of intelligence applied to business and operations strategy.  
  1. Keep up with the Newsletter. Here we'll feature new examples to look at every week, which is important given how quickly trends are shifting. Be sure to subscribe if you haven't already. 
  2. Share with Others. Use the guide as a conversation starter, and ideally apply what you learn.
Media Genius is organized around essential themes we think will transform our work—ranging from machine learning, to platform economics, to immersive and AI-assisted media production.

I'm not suggesting you put a copy of Media Genius in your bathroom, but to become more attuned to these topics, take Mark's advice next time you have a break and give it a read. 

Chris Perry 

The trends and examples aggregated in Media Genius are drawn from this newsletter. If you find this resource valuable, I would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up and check it out. You can do so by directing them here.

You can also let me know what you think of Media Genius via a DM on Twitter or email at Would be great to hear from you.

Copyright © 2019 Weber Shandwick

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