Artificial intelligence (AI), while one of the most useful and interesting technologies out there, is nonetheless the subject of all sorts of opinions and rumours. Of course, that’s normal for any emerging part of science, given that much of its development is reported to a critical audience. Unfortunately, the rumor mill can make it difficult to gauge exactly what’s going on in AI circles and how far along it really is in its development.
At the moment, humanity seems to be torn between two diametric opposites. These are a) that AI will kill us all mercilessly, and b) that AI will be of great benefit to the human race for decades to come. However, both possibilities seem to ignore the fact that AI has been with us in some capacity since the 1940s (and earlier in science fiction) and now serves all sorts of everyday purposes.
– Commercial –
As the UK prepares to become a global AI superpower, following the signing of a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, let’s take a look at one of the areas that could benefit most from AI: e-commerce or online purchases. Some good examples of AI in this area are product recommendations and chatbots. Both Amazon and Google make extensive use of AI in their respective e-commerce businesses, for example.
The idea of chatbots is especially interesting, as Internet-based AI is notorious for losing its mind when exposed to social media. However, on shopping websites, chatbots only provide a semblance of intelligence. The AI we have in the workplace and at home, like Alexa, is little more than a program that responds to certain words and stimuli, rather than something similar to Skynet, from the Terminator franchise.
This begs the question of whether AI is worth investing in when there are so many ways websites can improve their shopping experiences without it. One of the use cases for AI in e-commerce is finding deals, something that 40% of chatbox users expect from the service, according to Ubisend. However, this task seems to have been accomplished by the comparison websites.
In the UK, the comparison site market is dominated by a handful of companies, known for their memorable advertisements. These include Compare the Market and MoneySuperMarket. What’s interesting about these sites is that they’ve all grown in similar ways, largely to meet essential household needs like power and broadband rather than entertainment or luxuries. This means that more specific sites have been able to thrive without getting caught up in its gravity.
Skyscanner has enjoyed a long career in providing access to flights, while the PriceSpy website allows visitors to compare the cost of products such as video games. Entertainment can be a difficult thing to compare as it is so subjective. Still, the casino industry benefits from comparison services. the best slot sites can be found on the online slots page, which rates operators like LeoVegas and Fun Casino according to the number of games available to play and the quality of bonuses that can be collected.
Finally, Google Shopping and Uswitch are useful for checking and looking up prices in general. an energy supplier, respectively. This type of platform can benefit from the introduction of AI, but it is by no means a necessity.
Inevitably, the quest for automation is at the heart of most plans to incorporate AI, as it helps take pressure off human employees and free up resources. However, this result is not fully accepted. DataProt, citing Blumberg Capital, states that only 19% of people respondents believe that AI will increase productivity. However, this statistic may be influenced by fears about redundancy caused by acceptance.
To reinforce the point above, fears about AI in the workplace seem to contrast with research from SnapLogic, which states that 68% of employees actually want more automation in the office to increase performance. AI should not reduce the ability of humans to find work. 85 million jobs may be eliminated, according to DataProt, but 97 million new ones could be created by 2025.
The perhaps unfortunate scenario you face modern e-commerce business is that AI is an essential consideration for any company trying to compete with Amazon and Google. As this will lead to an increase in overhead, the idea of a midsize company can feel like an exclusive club by the end of the decade.
In any case, these are interesting times for AI and online shopping.