Why is it okay for our friends and loved ones to recommend products, movies and travel destinations, but we find it intrusive when artificial intelligence is used to recommend them?
We are already utilizing artificial intelligence on our iPhones when we ask Siri for directions or weather forecasts as well as locating information via voice command on our Android-based phones when we ask questions of Google. It seems normal now to interact with this type of technology. We seek information for which restaurant to frequent, which movie to see, or which store has the best price on the latest item we want to buy.
Through our day-to-day interactions with friends and family they come to know our likes, preferences, habits and tastes. Using this knowledge they buy us gifts, recommend items to improve our lives and offer suggestions to events or destinations they think we would enjoy. Yet, when marketers try to understand our habits as we walk through a store (Clifford, 2013), identify the products that we really like (“FetchBack,” 2011), or follow our activity on various web sites (Sloane, 2014) we feel a sense of invasion of privacy even though we are interacting in public places, like clothing stores, coffee shops, and the internet. The computers we use are private, but we enter a public space when we use the internet.
Artificial intelligence continues to grow at the speed of the gazillion 1’s and 0’s traversing the internet. The next step of digital technology is “anticipatory computing” (Hu, 2014). Google Now can learn our habits, see what we do on our cell phones and offer corresponding information. The next steps are for computers to listen to us, then anticipate what we need and get the information we need without us even asking (Hu, 2014).
These anticipatory computers will be marvelous and game changing devices for marketing. Our cell phones running apps or even built in capabilities will be able to anticipate our needs and give us information. Then perhaps the next step in the marketing realm is for it to start making the connections with the movies we like and start making unsolicited recommendations or if it knows we like to shop at Pottery Barn it can let us know that they are having a sale today. Perhaps in the not too distant future these devices will even be the ones to decide to purchase the items for us.
As these technology devices become more sophisticated and interact with us in a more human way, do you think we will welcome this type of interaction or will it still seem like an invasion of privacy?
Clifford, S. (2013, July 14). Attention, shoppers: Store is tracking your cell. Business Day, The New York Times website. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
FetchBack adds new features to its retargeting technology. (2011, July 1). InternetRetailer website. Retrieved from http://www.internetretailer.com
Hu, E. (2014, March 17). Computers that know what you need, before you ask. All Tech Considered, National Public Radio website. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org
Sloane, G. (2014, March 14). Google winds down wildfire to focus on DoubleClick integration. AdWeek website. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com