Over the weekend I watched the original Blade Runner for the first time (if you haven’t watched it, you should – Harrison Ford in all his glory!) It got me thinking about how AI used to be such a futuristic idea, where now, in 2021 it’s a driving force in our world and especially in marketing.
AI was a revolutionary addition to the industry and made it possible to serve customers more efficiently via “chat bots” and simultaneously target audiences in the digital sphere with precision a-la programmatic advertising. E-Marketer predicted that by 2020, 86.2% of digital display ads in the U.S. would be programmatic (singlegrain.com).
In 2021 we are deep in this reality. Many of us are lost without our electronics and the reality is that they are collecting and understanding our behavior in order to predict our purchasing practices. We’ve covered the changes and challenges when it comes to increasing privacy on our blog before, specifically in relation to the Apple IOS update. But now I ponder, can AI survive in a world where it is starting to feel like the enemy?
Is the Apple IOS update the “blade runner” of this technological phenomenon?
People are taking back their autonomy when it comes to privacy, but technology is always adapting and AI is seemingly endlessly useful and can continue to serve consumers. This past year especially consumers have been buying online more than ever before. There’s a risk though, when connecting all your data to your exact shipping location.
Co-founder of Ship2MyID, Kush Santosh, believes consumers should “own their data” and imagined a new, safer way to receive goods without sacrificing security and privacy:
“Consumers are validated locally, and only a minimal set of data like country and zip code, without any PII, is shared to the international merchant to compute the VAT, customs, insurance and shipping costs. For each transaction we create a unique QR code and that acts as a shipping label.” (Forbes.com)
This type of AI is allowing consumers to share or withhold personal information as they see fit, putting the consumer back in control and AI becoming the conduit to this privacy.
We can’t forget that AI continues to serve consumers in their need for immediacy. Buyers these days expect results or answers to inquiries now and not later and AI has fulfilled that need tremendously.
Chat bots are available 24/7, offer instant responses and answers to questions without losing patience, all while doling out quality customer service. The convenience that AI offers to consumers is just something I can’t see “going out of style” as our world becomes more used to this convenience.
So while there is a call to take back control of our data and privacy, our society has just become so used to the many benefits of AI technology. More than anything brands need to establish trust with their consumers and create guidelines for their own data collection practices and display them transparently to their buyers. This will ensure a line of open communication between company and consumer and when consumers trust their brands, they are more likely to share tidbits of data to support corporate learnings.