The Ex-Machina Hollywood prophecies are not something we remember with fond feelings. At the rate at which Artificial Intelligence is growing, many have a foreboding of a time in the not-too-distant future when we will be dominated by a cold, emotionless fleet of AI-powered robots.
For many people, this has come to mean that AI is the opposite of “human.”
This article is an attempt to study this phenomenon and to answer the question; “Can artificial Intelligence enhance humanity rather than replace it?” In a bid to do this, let’s consider one of the most sacrosanct human traditions; gift-giving.
There are few things as beautiful as receiving or giving a thoughtful gift and there are few things quite as disrespectful as giving or receiving a thoughtless, “easy” gift.
To examine how Artificial Intelligence comes to play in this age-old tradition, I spoke with Luan Do, the co-founder of Gossby, a leading company in the made-to-order space.
Gossby utilizes AI to create the perfect personalized gifts for their clients. Luan explains their model as a model that makes it possible to give the most thoughtful gifts, gifts that speak and say the right thing at the right time.
Artificial Intelligence has been active in the shopping scene for a long time. Every one of us is a beneficiary of AI’s ability to “read our minds.”
We’ve all had at least one experience where we thought about something we needed, we probably searched it on google once, and then we began to see Ads and offerings about it everywhere online. This is the first sign of how “thoughtful” the Google AI can be.
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It is clear that with the massive amounts of behavioral data available to Google and other social media platforms, the impact on our shopping behavior begins with how we are marketed to.
Every single time we go on Amazon and try to purchase a product or a gift for a loved one, we are interacting with a very powerful AI and this has been been the case with Amazon for over 20 years. Luan explains it this way;
“Amazon virtually invented the art of personalized recommendations and have been doing it for over 20 years with their ‘item-based collaborative filtering’ algorithm,” he adds, “This algorithm is largely responsible for your purchasing decisions on Amazon.”
If Amazon suggestions have ever helped you make the right decision on a gift, then it means that Artificial intelligence has already helped you pick out a thoughtful gift.
Luan and the Gossby team have succeeded in building a tech-driven personalized gift business in just 3 years. Gossby has served over 1 million customers in their short time of existence. His views on what makes their products perfect gifts are insightful.
“A gift is an unspoken communication of love and care. It is special because of the emotions that go along with it. Everyone has had to struggle with the mental toil of picking out the right gift. We discovered that if your gift communicates the right thing, it rarely matters what it is,” says Luan.
Besides Amazon, many companies like Token, Alyce, and UncommonGoods already utilizing AI to develop gift suggestions. The general process involves, requiring basic data of the gift recipient and utilizing a machine-learning algorithm to generate a small list of potential gifts.
The Gossby team is hopeful that AI solutions would become more involved with the gift-selection and gift-giving process because of the positive results they can see in the industry. Luan is optimistic that soon Gossby and other industry experts would be able to attain even more accuracy and seamless execution with the help of AI.
“With the wide ability to track customer’s social data and internet footprints, we expect that soon we would be able to learn more about how best to serve our customer’s. It is likely that soon it would become easier to pick the perfect gift,” says Luan.
Deciding on a great gift is important, but that is only half the process and half the function of the supply chain. Getting the gift across safely to the recipient is the other side of the equation that requires solving efficiently.
Getting a perfect birthday gift across to a friend two weeks after their birthday is not as thoughtful as getting it to them on or before the day. One of the reasons we can order gifts and have them delivered on time today is because of Artificial Intelligence.
Massive companies like Amazon and smaller companies like Gossby utilize AI to track and optimize their supply chain. Luan explains this process that enables them to never miss a delivery:
“We rely on AI to initiate customers into our process with our on-site chatbot, to make sense of the massive data that comes in, to predict customer demand and demand volume, to estimate product availability, to optimize delivery routes, and to personalize communication with customers while tracking their product. What is thoughtful about a gift that doesn’t arrive on time?”
The question that we have sought to answer in this piece is if AI can help us select and give more thoughtful gifts, but what we have succeeded in discovering is that it has already been contributing to the thoughtfulness of our gifts for the last 20 years. As technology advances, social media is set to play a larger role in tracking desirable gifts and in making recommendations.
There are certainly different schools of thought on the propriety of the methods of data gathering, but so far, the effectiveness of the process is outweighing these concerns. A study already revealed that 45% of millennials prefer AI-powered systems to conventional systems of picking gifts. Needless to say, the percentage will be higher with Gen Z.
Luan concludes, “At Gossby we love technological advancements, we believe that it was meant to optimize our life and not take away from it. This is why we use tech unapologetically to ensure our services are top-notch from start to finish”