IBM And Google Take Interest In Health AI; Facebook Plays A Crucial Role In This Election

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First, Do No Harm

Artificial intelligence and health care information are coming together in exciting and, yes, potentially disturbing ways. “IBM has invested billions of dollars in its Watson business unit,” and it may finally pay off with services like genomic and cancer diagnostics, writes The New York Times. Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences, the former Google X health care research subsidiary, is racing IBM for new partnerships and data sources from hospitals, labs and pharma companies. As long as the motivation is tunnel-visioned on patient outcomes, it’s hard to complain about more effective cancer screening, but there are very foreseeable problems coming for AI platforms that play at the intersection of marketing and doctoring.

The Voter Network

Facebook has absorbed an outsized piece of the political ad pie this year. The Trump campaign eschewed internal tech and leaned hard on the platform for targeting and optimization. Democrats, meanwhile, hope Facebook is the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) tool they’ve been waiting for. Facebook’s voter registration drive (which prompted users to register based on their state deadlines) may have substantively changed the dynamics of the race, and the Clinton camp just built a tool that will let supporters push out GOTV notifications to all or some of their friends. What do they call that? Oh, right, a network effect.

In The Ring

Netflix and Amazon are now outspending all broadcasters except Disney and NBC for TV content. Between 2013 and 2015, Amazon’s investment jumped from $1.2 billion to $2.7 billion, while Netflix accelerated from $2.4 billion to $4.9 billion in the same period. Network TV, however, is fighting tooth and nail to keep its place. “It’s premature to declare that the era of linear TV is already over,” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst at IHS technology, to The Drum. “Netflix and Amazon have come hard on the heels of a boom in production of original drama and comedy by the likes of AMC and FX in the US.” More.

Hidden Agenda

Publishers are fed up with vendors taking big bites out of their revenue streams. Between the ad tech tax, viewability issues, fraud and opaque tech fees, publishers feel like they’re getting cut out of the buying equation as third parties reap the profit. “For publishers and tech, it’s developed into a perverse situation: akin to a leech growing bigger than the body from which it draws blood,” one of the many publisher execs anonymously badmouthing his or her partner ecosystem tells Digiday. “As a result, we’ve become hugely suspicious of ad tech’s agenda, which we’ve found to be driven by aggressive pursuit of short-term business value.” More at Digiday.

App Storefront

It’s easy for app marketers to get caught up in a whirlwind of optimization and then forget to keep their feet on the ground. App-install ads go through rigorous A/B testing to figure out how best to get users to the App or Play Store, but if “marketers invested even a small percentage of the budget they spend bringing users to the download page on refining the page content to get users to install the app, their ROI would be much higher,” writes Moburst CEO Gilad Bechar for Ad Age. More.

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