🤖AI and retail. 🌎Tech looking outwards. 🤝Positive Social Media

This week we look at tech moving beyond its bubble and also talking to at their first G7 summit. Tech looking outwards can only be a good thing. Then a look at AI and its potential impacts in retail before ending on some positivity in social media for once.

It isn’t a tech thing.

The mammoth tech companies are joining forces to form The Coalition for the American Dream. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, Uber, IBM, Marriott International and other top U.S. companies are listed as members with an aim to pass legislation allowing young people who were brought to the United States as children illegally to become citizens.

A noble cause indeed. A side note to this is the breadth of membership – it is good to see tech companies banding together with companies outside their normal bubble. Less tech vs the government. For more on the coalition go here.

The first step..

The major tech companies have been under fire for a while now when it comes to spreading hate material and fake news. They have not been able to keep up with even current targets for removing this content.

Their first appearance at the G7 summit has resulted in agreement to even more stringent targets to remove extremist content. Everyone was positive with the meeting but it will be interesting to see if tech firms can actually deliver quickly enough here. More on the meeting here.

Twitter meanwhile has already released new rules around hate symbols, sexual advances and violent groups. Twitter has a long way to go here though as it is still reliant on people reporting hate crime.

The targets outlined by the G7 group effectively mean only automated systems can deliver in time. This of course means we are reliant on AI censoring our content. We already know that AI can be biased so I wonder who will be monitoring the AI.

In fact Google AI lead, John Giannandrea is just as worried about it. There is a good look at his views here.

AI thoughts

Harvard Business Review did a thought experiment on AI suggesting that AI could eventually predict exactly what we need and so deliver whatever we need just in time. It states the benefit to Amazon is that people would end up shopping at Amazon more. I couldn’t disagree more with this. For most people price and brand does play a factor in decision making.

For me the end result of this thought experiment is that should AI prediction get to a level of knowledge about us where it can predict what we want before we do, the pessimist would say we have bigger problems. The optimist in me says that in that scenario the AI should be under an individual’s control not a corporate. Of course after that we then get into debating the rights of the AI. This is the problem with thought experiments..

Whilst we are on the topic though, this is similar to the movement that says voice ordering through Alexa will allow Amazon own brands to win out.

I think voice ordering integrated with a screen will transform grocery shopping online. Browsing through countless items on a store website is numbing. But the ability to say show me all the juices with orange in them etc is going to make things much faster. There are some items where price and brand do not come into this but supermarkets have known that for generations and price their product ranges accordingly. Amazon may well execute better than the competition on this, but it will not mean the end of the brand.


Meanwhile ending on a positive thought, Facebook bought tbh last week – an app that spreads positivity across its network. It was only available on iOS and in the US and let people anonymously answer nice multiple-choice questions about friends who then received the poll results as compliments.