Artificial intelligence (also referred to as augmented intelligence) is expected to be one of the most talked about topics at Cannes next week. But it can be hard to fathom exactly what AI could mean, and for whom.

That’s why the Weather Company CMO  Jordan Bitterman and his team plan to bring the technology to life to the marketing and and media world at the Cannes Lions Festival next week.

Watson at the Carlton

Weather is hosting an event on Monday, together with Beet.TV and media agency MEC a the Carlton, featuring Mark Sagar, Oscar-winning entrepreneur building life-like AI avatars. Sager is founder of New Zealand-based Soul Machines.  IBM’s Watson will be demo’d at the Weather’s suite at the Carlton for the entire week.

Why AI Matters:

“When you call a call center, you have a conversation with a person at the other end of the phone,” Bitterman explains, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “That costs that company lots of money.

“With avatars, you program it, the cost of service is a lot lower. If it gets to a place where the humanity and it feels real to you as a consumer, you won’t mind whether you’re talking to a customer service representative that’s flesh-and-bone or zeros and ones.”

Below is a video on the making of  avatar “Nadia” with Sagar and actress Cate Blanchett who provides the voice.

Why is The Weather Company in this space? Because IBM acquired the company in 2015, putting in its Watson AI division.

Now Bitterman says the IBM-run Weather Company has three layers – an Internet of Things division taking data from millions of sensors, a content division creating knowledge out of the data, and the classical Weather Company, a media entity with what Bitterman, in engineering speak, calls the “end points” to deliver that information.

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful. For more from the series, please visit this page.