Artificial Intelligence is not the future of retail—it's the present

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Software-driven artificial intelligence is already underpinning daily activity in every walk of life, including retail, finance, education, health care and government. It’s the technology transforming how we work, communicate and play, plus how brands will continue to compete and evolve over the next few years and beyond.

For example, AI is appearing in every part of the shopping experience — from in-store and online customer engagement, to more tailored recommendations, to the delivery and payment/security end of the value chain.

One such example is Concersia, the online shopping sales assistant that identifies opportunities for sales and ensures customers are kept engaged through timely and personalized customer service. IBM’s Watson is providing order management and customer engagement capabilities to e-commerce retailers, such as gift recommendations based on gift choices by similar recipients.
Machine learning is also used to detect user and payment fraud; PayPal and other startups have leveraged fraud detection algorithms to more accurately track and protect customer’s digital transactions.

Fraud detection systems can now decipher between friends buying goods simultaneously and a thief making the same kind of purchases with a list of stolen accounts. A study by LexisNexis found PayPal’s deep learning approach to transaction security reduced the fraud rate to 0.32% of revenue.

The financial sector is drowning in data and riddled with complex laws and regulations. Machine learning is designed to find anomalies in the data, a solution critical for financial institutions to make optimal decisions in real time.

Perpetrators of fraud are smart, and many produce paper trails that look legitimate to human eyes. Artificial intelligence can look for signs humans wouldn’t, aiding financial entities in detecting suspicious activity early on and potentially preventing expensive fraudulent transactions.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to stabilize rather than disrupt the financial industry, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and stability.

There are of course AI challenges yet to overcome, and it’s not the answer for everything — but it’s clear that AI is here, and here to stay. It’s so much more than an automated voice on the end of a service line. It appears in every form and is sweeping across every aspect of our lives, impacting how we interact with data and people around us, and allowing us to focus on areas where we as humans can add the most value.

It’s not something to shy away from and it doesn’t signify the beginning of the end for jobs. It’s creating new opportunities and industries in its place. AI is about maximizing technology to drive greater business insights, making brands more efficient and more connected to their customers, our jobs more fulfilling and meaningful and giving us a more personalized experience in our daily lives.

Those companies that don’t adapt and jump on the AI bandwagon will be the ones lagging behind.

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