The uses of artificial intelligence (AI) that get the most press are usually the big, splashy ones. Whether it’s IBM’s Watson beating Ken Jennings at Jeopardy, DeepMind besting Lee Sedol at Go, the massive influx of news about self-driving cars, the growing personal marketplace, or Elon Musk’s increasingly public trepidation, these kinds of AI stories have a way of capturing public attention. But quietly, AI powers search and recommendation engines at places like Google and Netflix, filters out obscene images on your favorite social networks, and proves complex mathematical theorems. It is, increasingly, everywhere.
You probably hear far less about AI applications in retail. On their face, they aren’t as sexy as beating a champion at the world’s oldest (and most complex) board game or writing rudimentary piano songs. However, AI in retail is something that will affect everyone who shops online in the coming years. Which is to say, well, pretty much everyone.