Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Assistant.
It’s impossible to not know at least one of these names and you may well know all 4. If you don’t then rest assured they all know who you are – these 4 names represent the public AI interfaces of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google.
Now I’m tempted to insert a four horseman of the apocalypse type reference in here but I’m actually a big believer in the positive benefits that AI will bring so instead I want to riff on something else.
For a while now our music, friends, tv consumption, food choices, fashion choices, news feeds, have been being algorithmically sorted and prioritised for us. Now it turns out that human beings are incredibly bad at making choices, we are not in fact rational actors as economists like to pretend. But rather we are irrational beasts prone to flights of fancy, and indulgences of our baser natures. So it’s a good thing that there has been a benevolent dictator out there making sure that all of our choices are good ones.
But here’s the thing, so far up until now all of these AI algorithms have been disparate, separate little demigods all looking after their own patch. But just this week google has come out and launched the next step. The just released Pixel, Home, and VR now connect arguably the most integrated AI into the physical sphere. And don’t forget Google’s self-driving car that is still to come.
Google Assistant is currently available to trial within their new messaging app Allo, but the range of options soon to be released will make even these early adventures quaint by comparison.
So the question is then what does this mean for us as autonomous decision making individuals when every single decision we make becomes mathematically quantified and stored up in the cloud. How long before the decisions we make are actually just responses to suggestions based on an algorithms determination of what we might like? What does this future look like? And what does it look like for advertisers? As personalisation increases and conscious choice blends with autonomous response – where will the disruption points be? If Google Assistant or Siri are ensuring complete seamless preferential presentation of information how will you ever decide to change your mind?
So is this the future?
Or is it this?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you the future, but what I can tell you is this. The AI wave is coming and it will both create and destroy as it finds its place in the world. Home automation and instantaneous access to the world’s information make for nice youtube videos and comfortable entry points for consumers. But the real changes will happen below the surface. Early adopters will create new and more diverse ways of utilising AI and launch apps and products to capitalise on it. I can’t tell you the future but I can tell you this is the future, it is real and it is here now.