Think back 20 years. Web 1.0 was a static place. Mundane in comparison to today’s ‘blinged’ Internet. The future was exciting, and what we’re experiencing today in Web 2.0, where refined user journeys driven by personalisation en mass strive to satisfy the ever-evolving on-demand consumer connoisseur.
It’s not just us, the consumers, that are evolving. So too is the technology we use on a personal and business level. The internet is awash with buzzwords. Some are fads; others gather momentum to the point of critical mass. 'Personalisation' is one. Evolving from click bait to become part of our everyday digital interactions. But there are a couple of newbies already making waves; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation, begging the question; what will web content management systems be like in the future? Considering how complex and sophisticated they’ve become, surely AI is the next significant CMS innovation.
AICMS? (it might catch on)
Imagine a future where Artificially Intelligent Content Management Systems or ‘AICMS’ transcend traditional Web CMS. The are smart, complex and powerful. They learn and recycle knowledge to adapt, evolve and react in real-time.
Through machine learning ‘AICMS’ anticipates when new content should be created, when to roll-out campaigns, when to automate emails and more. It does this by monitoring customer, competitor and market activity and by dissecting analytics and metadata from competing websites and social channels, From this historical and real-time data, ‘AICMS’ is primed to deliver relevant content and to execute targeted and effective high impact/high traffic campaigns.
Where does content come from?
Hey it’s the future, remember? By then ‘AICMS’, underpinned by Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) would be so ridiculously refined it knows everything about its serving brand’s tone-of-voice, imagery, keywords, customer behaviour, market dynamics etc. It uses this knowledge to access its vast cloud-based data repository containing customer information, advanced algorithms for language learning, and extensive image libraries to automate compelling, relevant and timely content.
What about humans?
In every discussion about automation, the same question arises. Would humans slowly become defunct in the workplace? Tesla’s Elon Musk took this to task by automating the Tesla 3 production line earlier this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well. After missing targets, Mr. Musk reverted to humans and started hitting those targets again.
When it comes to ‘AICMS’, the human touch may well be minimal - fleeting in fact.
After the design, development and deployment of the ‘AICMS’ driven website, and the configuration of the system’s algorithms (by humans), the content teams may take over to build the site tree, upload images, create initial content and even configure base conditions and rules as a starting point for the ‘AICMS’. From there on however, ‘AICMS’ would autonomously take over and begin its learning journey, overseen by us humble humans who will ensure it’s behaving within its parameters. Take workflows for instance, we (the humans) would ensure, through sophisticated workflows, that nothing damaging is published - until that is, the ‘AICMS’ learns what is and what isn’t acceptable publishing content.
If something goes wrong, who, or what, fixes the problem?
Information technology has come a long way. From the Sinclair ZX81 (1981) to the race to dominate quantum computing (2018). Yet behind these epic advancements are the developers, the lifeblood of tech. For without these coding wizards we’d still be whacking typewriter keys producing ream upon ream of paperwork destined for metal cabinets.
This idea of ‘AICMS’ may sound far fetched but at some point in the past so did augmented reality, smart phones and chatbots. To maintain progress we need to continue ascending the learning curve - exploring current tech and where it can take us. To continue taking explorative steps into automation and artificial intelligence and see where these technologies carry content management systems. Yet on the cusp of Web 3.0, and the way technology is advancing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see major AI advancements to CMSs creating a swell on techie websites sooner rather than later.
Until then, here’s some food for thought: As technology improves, do the computers or do we (the users) become smarter? Maybe the smarter the tech the dumber the user - only time will tell.
Welcome to the future.
Peter Lambrou, sitecore experience consultant, Codehouse