By Dr. Cubie Davis King
So, what can we learn from the retail industry?
The retail industry is investing in AI technology at a rate that far outpaces all other industries. As reported at this year’s National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York, in 2018 alone, retailers invested an estimated $3.4 billion in artificial intelligence (this according to International Data Corporation-IDC).
The list of retailers moving with a quickened pace reads like a who’s who list of movers and shakers in the industry. Retailers such Kroger (the largest supermarket chain in the US), Walgreens, Nestle’, MillerCoors, Conagra Brands, Ralph Lauren, Guess, even Alibaba. The AI technology being tested is absolutely fascinating.
Kroger is testing an app using AI algorithms which will allow shoppers to make a shopping list (from their phone) of items they want to pick up at the store and, as they walk down various aisles, that item is synced with AI technology and lights up to remind them to purchase that item, along with pairing recommendations. They are also investing heavily in driverless cars technology, which will eliminate the need for drivers.
Ralph Lauren is testing smart mirror at their Manhattan store, which syncs with Bluetooth low-energy chips, embedded in clothing, which recognizes the size of an item shoppers bring into the fitting room, and then displays to them, right on the mirror other sizes and available colors- right in the dressing rooms.
Walgreens is testing smart displays that embeds cameras, sensors and digital screens in cooler doors. They work like billboards, and will display ads to approaching shoppers. Using facial recognition, these ads will flash sales items- based on the shopper’s estimated age, gender, even the weather outside.
So, the speed at which retailers are moving should cause every workers to pause and consider how they are upskilling to work in the new AI driven workplace.
At the company you are currently working, are they talking about AI upskilling? Are there serious conversations about how workers survive the 4th Industrial Revolution driven by AI, robots and machines? How much money are you investing in updating your own skillsets?
For every billion dollars your industry invests in AI each year, you should be investing at a minimum $1,000 each year to update your own skills. Enroll in new courses, learn some new skills, even sharpen and update those skills you already have.
Don’t just sit and do nothing. Get moving, because companies and AI technology is not waiting for you.
By 2030, 41 million Americans will lose their jobs to AI. And for those remaining on jobs, you will face new challenges brought on by robot technology, the likes of which we have never seen before. A fact we all should take very seriously.
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