Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Knowledge Graph is here. Beware.

Yesterday, Google published a video to describe its Knowledge Graph.

This is very important for public relations practice and we have only a few months to deal with it.

The revelation showed how the use and application of semantics and decision making algorithms like Bayesian logic, and Neural Nets will replace much of the work of the PR practitioner, journalist and that whole infrastructure organisations have created to give issues and brands space in the conciousness of publics/stakeholders/consumers/constituents.


Perhaps to get a feeling for what I am talking about, you may like to  watch the video:


Now, if we begin to see what such a capability can  do, we can understand how significant these developments have become.

Imagine, in a few weeks time  being a press officer wanting to write about the big event of today in which Monmouth became the first Wikipedia Town. Up to today, you would explore what has been written and published by Wikipedia and in Wikipedia, you may have accessed its blog. In addition you will have looked at what Monmouth and Glamorgan local authorities have been saying and you will have followed up some stories in the press from vox pop interviews. You will need 'new' news too and then you can begin to write the press release.

Of course, Google's new Knowledge Graph will have all but the last element already and, in addition a lot of other special elements to the story to keep the journalist interested. Furthermore, your 'new' news will have elements that are already part of the social graph.

In fact, just by extracting the Knowledge Graph, your publics/stakeholders/consumers/constituents will not need you, as a press agent, or the journalist or the newspaper, TV news reporter. Such news can be discovered and presented using a John Humphries voice synthesiser for the BBC Today Programme. Imagine the savings the Corporation will make!

Now, lets dig a little deeper. Google says:


  • Language can be ambiguous—do you mean Taj Mahal the monument, or Taj Mahal the musician? Now Google understands the difference, and can narrow your search results just to the one you mean
  • We can summarize relevant content around that topic, including key facts you’re likely to need for that particular thing.
  • The Knowledge Graph can help you make some unexpected discoveries. You might learn a new fact or new connection that prompts a whole new line of inquiry. 

This means that the ever more porous organisation, will have a Google bot crawling around making sense out of all those company acronyms at the same time.

The bot will get information, summarise it and make assumptions all on its own for all the world to see.

Finally this clever capability is creating new facts.

Does that sound like a journalist to you?

It is very easy to make assumptions that this will not really be what happens. Who will go the bother of finding this stuff out?

Only the very interested, nerd, competitor or mischief maker and thy are already in play.

How wrong can we be.

When this year's PR students started doing 'A level's, six years ago, it was impossible to use a search engine to find copies of lectures to be delivered in the degree they would eventually read. Today, Slideshare.net gets 60 million visitors every month! We all have lectures on Slideshare.

Search engines will change beyond their wildest dreams before they draw the first pay cheque.

Imagine how such capability will inform us as we start the day, journey to work, interact with colleagues and organisation stakeholders. What will it be like playing with children, whose toys have intelligence to understand what they are saying long before they can speak in a language that can be understood by their parents.

These capabilities, embedded in furniture, cars, trains, desks, vending machines and toys will be far away from what we think about now - and will creep up on us.

We already know about some of these advances. The Kinect which provides a 3D body–motion interface for the Xbox 360 uses algorithms that emerged from lengthy Artificial Intelligence research. It is a toy, with serious applications in medicine and marketing. It too can use the Google Knowledge Graph. The Kinnect, will soon 'know' exactly who you are - and your clients!

the iPad was launched in April 2010. Now Tablets are ubiquitous and can also play the Google game. The technology creeps up on us and this why it is important for the PR industry to prepare to be overtaken.

If newspapers, shops and CD's can be threatened with trivialisation if not extinction in ten years, who would bet on the PR industry making it unscathed in this decade.

I trust the CIPR has in mind to do something, like ensure there is industry research in hand, when so many of its members face this exciting and perilous future.

The Knowledge Graph is here. Beware.