When you hear the words “Artificial Intelligence” it likely conjures up scenes from movies about sentient robots—there have been many made and they were our first reference point to understanding this thing called “AI”. Sadly, we’re not properly educated on the true definition of AI and the ways in which it’s already working for us. Sans metal robots.
In short, what is Artificial Intelligence? …Machine Learning. Simply, machine learning. Wherein, a machine (for now, programs and computers) monitors patterns and learns from them. Ever wonder how amazon’s Alexa can answer so many questions? Learning. The Echo device is learning and programming itself every time a user asks a question or speaks, so it’s constantly updating and adapting to us, as individuals and a species.
The reality of AI is here. You likely haven’t noticed its presence because it’s not in the form of the charming Bicentennial Man. Rather, it’s simply new software techniques. Like automatically changing a route for truck drivers so they save an hour by going around traffic, assisting with business continuity and helping retailers optimize the shopping experience.
Popular retailers like The North Face launched an interactive online shopping experience powered by IBM’s “Watson.” Shoppers answer questions regarding location, temperature, gender and needs so the program is able to provide a recommendation that meets the shopper’s specific usage and climate needs. Smart shopping.
1-800-FLOWERS implemented a similar AI program. For example, a customer might type “I’m looking for a gift for my Mother” and (once again) IBM’s “Watson” pulls data from the interaction, consumer buying trends and common behaviors to understand the situation. Qualifying questions about the occasion, sentient and purpose follow the initial interaction and the program is then able to recommend a tailored gift suggestion. Voila, Mom’s happy.
AI is now able to help retailers properly manage inventory, further identify the intricate behaviors of consumers (for marketing purposes) and optimize part of a retailer’s operation.
Quietly, unnoticeably, AI is already working to improve every part of the retail business and its effects will mean long-term savings, efficiency and sales.
Don’t be surprised, if soon, your amazon.com shopping cart is already full of items at log-in. The enormously popular platform will be closely monitoring your shopping habits so that it can automatically fill your cart with the stuff (think: toilet paper, toothpaste) you may need, or want.
This is only the beginning.