AI: Good for consumers; What about jobs?

New artificial/voice intelligence devices from Amazon and Google are just at the beginning of disrupting consumer purchasing. But will it also affect jobs among retailers?

“There’ll be shifting of resources; new jobs created that are going to be about the experience,” says Greg Hedges, director of strategy for RAIN, in speaking at MediaPost’s Marketing AI event.

“Maybe in a retail store you'll need to ask a digital assistant where the TVs are,” he says. “Maybe the Geek Squad can tell you how to use it, or which one is better for you.” Hedges says, for example, if you order coffee at Starbuck’s through Amazon Alexa, your barrister, who makes the coffee, becomes much more important.

Others on a panel, called “Voice Computing, Bots and…Ads?”, disagree.

“This whole day is about cannibalization,” said Doug Robinson, founder and chief executive officer of FreshDigitalGroup. “This entire conference is about taking away 10 million jobs and [finding out] where the opportunities for those people that are moving too slow.”

Robinson believes the nascent AI/Voice intelligence business could ramp up into a $5 billion industry in two years.


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