The AI Balance of Automation And Isolation

We’ve heard a lot about artificial intelligence, or the ‘Experience of Things,’ which allows technologies to have increasingly human-like interactions that understand, predict and adapt. For many, AI feels most tangible in the products we touch, personalized platforms and the voice controlled interfaces we query, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

As AI becomes more centralized and seamless in our everyday lives, it provides personalized experiences that transform how we search and discover, make decisions and ultimately determines what we see and even more importantly, what we don’t.

Consider, for example, a day in the AI life that starts at home but doesn’t end there:

This morning my Gear Fit woke me up to my natural biorhythms. I swing my feet out of bed to a warmed house. My Nest noticed I’ve been getting up earlier. I ask Alexa for my daily Flash Briefing, comprising only the news sources I trust, which also triggers my coffee to be made through synced WeMo smart outlets. I also notice I’m running low on Keurig K Cups, so I ask Alexa to place an order for more.

Time for work, but I don’t leave home until my bus tracker tells me it’s only a block away. It’s unseasonably cold today, that must be why I’m seeing so many ads for a new winter coat, and I click one from The North Face. When I exit the bus near my office, my phone vibrates with an offer from Starbucks to pre-order my drink, so I do. As I’m sipping my coffee at my desk, I remember those winter coat ads so I visit and try their Personal Intelligent Shopper. After a fun Q&A I’ve just ordered the perfect coat selected for me. 

For lunch, I head to KFC and stand in front of their Facial Recognition Kiosk, which assesses my hunger-level, then suggests I try their ‘Doublelicious Sandwich’. After lunch, I’m prompted by Google Now to leave work early to make my doctor appointment. Traffic is worse than usual and Google suggests I take an Uber to save time. En route I decide to self-diagnose, using a Dr. Chatbot to analyze my symptoms. 

When I get home, I command Alexa to turn on my lights and settle in front of the TV, skip the network programming and go right to Amazon Prime Video, where I’m served personalized show suggestions. I finally shuffle off to bed as my Nest gently cools my house awaiting another day.

The day that just unfolded is a future that is already here and fueled by a growing number of smart products, content and services that can predict and mold their behavior around our desires. By carving desire lines through a world enabled by AI and connected technology, people are showing us what they want: a better and seamless experience with their world tailored to their personal desires.

How amazing to explore a world customized for me where I love everything I encounter. However, that same experience strengthens our bubbles, amplifies our echo chambers, limits new discovery and removes the important chafe of conflicting views.

Today, most AI experiences are a bit of hands-off magic mixed with a whole lot of user engagement, data input, linking platforms and setting up personal preferences. Those that benefit from a highly-connected, personalized ‘experience of things’ likely are enjoying the fruits of much labor.

AI is permeating every angle of our lives and increasingly learning more about our desires to curate personalized content, but does this truly solve a challenge in our lives or prevent discovery?

Have we lost the human experience of what spontaneity can bring?

As this technology continues to progress, brands and marketers will need to focus on adapting AI in a smart way that addresses what consumers really need, which isn’t necessarily what they think they want. 

Human value will come in the balance of perfected automated prediction with messy unexpected humanity and the tailoring of a world we love mixed with the right grit of what we didn’t know we needed.






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