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NOTEBOOK – One Good Read: The not-ready-for-prime-time AI insurance agent


What do you get when you cross a Star Wars storm trooper with a bespectacled, detached insurance agent? He may look and act a lot like the befuddled star of a new ad campaign by West Des Moines-based Farm Bureau Financial Services. Two 30-second TV, radio and web ads begin airing today in an eight-state region including Iowa. As AdWeek wrote in a review of the ads, the bot character (Al, short for Algorithm) comes across “as something like the persnickety desk-jockey automaton cousin of a Star Wars stormtrooper. Putting an actor in a robot suit helps evoke those real-life paper-pushers who actually do seem inhuman.” The Richards Group, a Dallas-based agency, developed the campaign for Farm Bureau. It’s a fun poke at artificial intelligence, which as we learned last week at our Power Breakfast is long on answers but terrible at asking questions or evoking human empathy (check out this video).

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