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  • John Ennis

Eye on AI - May 3, 2019




Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!


We start this week with more news about robotic farming, which is poised to have an important effect on the ingredient supply chain (listed as number four on our recent list of AI-breakthroughs benefiting sensory and consumer science). We begin with a beautiful pictorial spread on robotic farming in Bloomberg Businessweek, and then note that even sheepdogs are at risk of having their jobs replaced by robotics. It seems every week brings some news on robotic farming, as you can read by perusing our previous "Eye on AI" articles, so this space merits awareness.


Next, we continue to see progress for AI in the retail space. Breakthrough number 5 in our list of AI-breakthroughs is targeted customer-personalization. One company leading the way in this regard is McDonald's, which is using their screen-based ordering system to offer customers personalized menus. McDonald's also plays a key role in this excellent review article on the impact of AI and AI-related technologies on the fast food industry by Phil Siarri. Another company using many AI technologies to make their supply chain leaner is Walmart, we noted in last week's "Eye on AI." This week, discussion of Walmart leads off an excellent review article of AI advances in retail from PYMNTS.


Building on the discussion of voice ordering in the Siarri article linked above, we come to our final AI theme of the week, which is the use of AI and related technologies to enhance the consumer experience. This experience could take the simple form of making reservations or ordering food, as reported in Forbes by Lana Bandoim, or it could take the more nuanced form of consumer education, as Apothic Wines offered with their Google Assistant app or as Jack Daniel's provided with their augmented-reality based app.


Finally, when it comes to voice-based consumer interactions, two recent articles in the Harvard Business Review look at the pros and cons of leveraging AI-powered assistants. The first article, by Bradley Metrock, argues that companies need to get started using such assistants while the second article, by Peter Cahill, argues that some amount of caution is justified. Regardless of whether or not we want to get started right now, though, it's clear that consumer scientists need to stay educated on the opportunities provided by this new technology.


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