Upstart AI dreams of 'disrupting' digital marketing – with sex

Natural selection algorithms to weed out web's crap design

Silicon Valley machine-learning biz Sentient Technologies promises to bring the power of natural selection to marketing via AI, rather than digital marketers.

The constant chopping and changing of web design can be a fiddly process. What’s the best font? What’s the perfect ratio of image to text? Where should the logo be?

Sentient’s new software, dubbed Sentient Ascend, claims to use the power of evolutionary algorithms to answer all those types of questions at once, providing users with the best website layout in order to reach a specific goal.

Evolutionary algorithms are based on the idea of biological evolution; the strongest and fittest are more likely to pass on their genes through natural selection which results in genetic recombination and mutation of the gene pool.

Sentient Ascend uses the same concepts to “breed” together the individual changes in a design layout in a “million potential combinations across multiple pages” to determine which is best. Poor combinations don’t make it through the selection process.

Sentient Ascend is aimed at e-commerce businesses hoping to increase revenue, the number of website clicks or lead submissions.

Website optimisation goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimisation, Jonathan Epstein, Chief Marketing Officer of Sentient Technologies, told The Register.

“Currently, there are $92 spent on customer acquisition for every $1 spent on the site customer experience,” Epstein said. “Ascend can discover designs that convert better than those designed by humans, often because they utilize unexpected interactions between the elements,” Epstein added.

Sentient Ascend is not the only Sentient Technologies product that aims to ‘disrupt’ industries.

Sentient Investment Management is an AI software for automated financial trading. It uses deep learning and evolutionary algorithms to find new trading strategies by analysing new trends in the financial markets. ®

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