In the near future, artificial intelligence will be populating our wardrobes, choosing our pets, and offering us friendship, according to David Mattin, TrendWatching’s head of trends and insights, who presented at last week’s Adobe Summit EMEA, in London.
In his address, titled “AI Opportunity Download: Four AI-Fuelled Consumer Trends For 2018 And Beyond,” Mattin singled out what he predicted will be four soon-to-be bot-brained crazes.
1. Motivating Improvement
Now more than ever, we are all in search of self-improvement, Mattin said. Cars and watches are the status symbols of yesteryear, replaced by yoga classes, healthy eating, and a passing knowledge of philosophy.
“Status is now about healthier, smarter, better,” he said.
Enter AI and a host of new applications designed to help us in our quest to become superhumans. Mattin pointed to the example of the goals function in Google Calendar. It helps you stick to and set exercise goals by switching gym classes you can’t make to the nearest possible time that it has learned you will be able to attend.
Another example he cited was Joonko, an app working towards a different kind of improvement: diversity in the workplace. Joonko examines recruitment data to identify unconscious (or conscious) bias events, providing on-the-spot feedback to prevent it from damaging a business.
2. AI Designed
Not sated by AI’s coaching abilities, people also increasingly want to take advantage of its creative prowess. As Mattin stated: “In 2018, rising numbers of consumers will covet and seek out the creative output of AIs and smart algorithms.”
One interesting use of AI is its role in brewing craft ale, he said. Case in point: IntelligentX Brewing Co., which uses AI to find the most popular elements of craft ales and combine them to create unique recipes, which are sent out for customer feedback. The technology uses that feedback to tweak the recipes and constantly improve them.
E-commerce has changed many of our lives for the better, cutting out long shopping trips, for example, to allow us to concentrate on more important tasks. The natural progression from that, Mattin said, is a-commerce, which will allow our favourite apps to create wardrobe suggestions based on a combination of current trends and what it has learned looks most flattering on us.
Finery is one such app, which promises to organise outfits by day or occasion, manage purchases, and put items you have viewed online into a virtual wardrobe. The really clever part, Mattin said, is the suggestions the app provides, based on the clothes in your virtual wardrobe. It scours the web for similar alternatives with key differences, such as lower prices or size options, if your desired product isn’t available in the size you need.
If you’d simply like AI to reduce the tedium of ordering items that need replacing regularly, plenty of apps can assist there, too. Mattin pointed to Freda, which uses the technology to predict when its customers will need their feminine hygiene products and then order them.
4. Virtual Companions
If you were sceptical about the need for–or efficacy of–the applications associated with the first three trends, then hold on to your hats. Mattin maintained that the use of virtual companions is on the rise and could become a significant part of everyday life. “In 2018, virtual personalities will prove they have the power to entertain, educate, and heal,” he said.
Replika, he said, is an example of a virtual companion app that starts off with a flurry of questions that turn, in time, into eerily lifelike responses to your interactions. The app logs all of your responses and starts to form a mirror image of your personality, developing into a virtual companion with whom you just happen to have a remarkable number of things in common.
If you’re more of a virtual social climber, the Blue Leaf Café, in Sendai, Japan, offers patrons the chance to rub shoulders with pop royalty. Virtual pop star–yes, you read that correctly–Hatsune Miku regularly plays to packed stadiums, but during a special promotion she could also be found to chat to in the café, thanks to smartphones preloaded with an AR app created for the vocaloid megastar. While we may not be seeing virtual stars in this part of the world anytime soon, the technology at work offers some exciting possibilities, Mattin said.
With the power to make our workplaces more inclusive, our beer tastier, and our interactions with technology even more personal, it seems that AI can enhance almost every area of our lives. If you’re still sceptical, have a look at some of the ways that AI could make a difference to you in the workplace.