To Nicolle Pangis, the perfect trifecta has nothing to do with horses. The global COO of WPP Group’s Xaxis sees it as the possibly contentious nexus of data specialists, creatives and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

“When we find the equilibrium between these three pieces I think that will drive, let’s say, digital advertising 3.0,” Pangis says in an interview with Beet.TV in advance of her panel at DMEXCO 2016 in Cologne. It’s titled “When the creative genius is a machine – A Day in the Life of 2020.”

Pangis believes the future is about the activation of smart data as opposed to big data. And while machines are an important factor, they won’t be self-aware and independent of humans.

“There’s this discussion about will machines take over for people in the end, with what appears to be a collision between data and creativity,” Pangis notes. “And what we believe is you actually need both to be successful in time.”

She sees irony amid industry talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence. “It’s really data scientists capturing data and informing machines that leads to the artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Pangis says.

Xaxis boasts the world’s largest programmatic media and technology platform, whose stack includes data management platform Turbine and Co-Pilot, a machine learning component. “We really are becoming as much a tech company as a business-facing company,” Pangis says.

Proprietary technology can drive insights that aren’t available from license platforms, according to Pangis. “There is an intelligence layer that you get by holding some of that proprietary tech.”

A big conversation at DMEXCO is going to be “this discussion around not just walled gardens but what is perceived to be a collision between the data folks, the creative folks and now this discussion around artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Pangis says. “This is sort of the perfect trifecta. How are these pieces going to start fitting together to create sort of a new digital age.”

This video is part of “The Road to DMEXCO ’16,” a lead-up series with key influencers on the topics and trends to be addressed at DMEXCO. This series is presented by YuMe. Please visit this page for additional segments.