AI is an important feature of all the worlds we modeled. But in the one we called “Better Self,” AI is an integral part of what it means to be human. This is a world in which AI is like a confidante, helping consumers to become “better versions” of themselves every day by taking care of the mundane aspects of life and guiding optimal decision-making.
People rely on their AI to keep nudging them in ways that help them to optimize themselves, by warning them of the consequences of all their actions – from eating junk food through to taking out a short-term loan. For a lot of people in this world, AI is so integrated into their daily lives that they cannot function without it.
This has a transforming effect on consumption. AI monitors the consumer’s physical, mental and financial health and well-being and gives advice and feedback that helps them to understand the impact of every decision.
Consumers trust AI to curate a choice of products, services and experiences that reduce complexity and make life more fulfilling. AI knows its “owner” so well that it suggests new and unexpected product ideas or experiences they love. It connects with the AI systems used by the people across a network of human connections, optimizing relationships with partners, parents, children, caretakers, friends, colleagues or citizens.
Some aspects of this world sound unappealing to me. But I imagine that people who’ve grown up using AI – the future consumers of tomorrow – will be happy to delegate many decisions to an unseen intelligence that works on their behalf. They wouldn’t worry so much about data security and privacy. Even so, there would still need to be a convergence of regulatory frameworks between countries on data sharing, and an integration of competing technology operating systems. Given the potential vested interests involved, this would be a challenge, to say the least.
The key shift in this world is that consumers would spend less time bogged down in complex choices, mundane purchases and basic tasks like paying bills or managing their schedules. Instead, they spend more time being their “true selves.” The impact on marketing would be fascinating. AI would learn about buying from the behavior of its human owner; emotional branding and appealing packaging would become irrelevant. The ability to model the AI decision-making process would force brands to develop and market-test new ideas much quicker than they ever could today.
Questions for leaders:
- In a world of competing ecosystems, how can the creation of a truly neutral and independent AI assistant be realized?
- Will consumers or their AI advisers be responsible for the impact of AI-led decision-making?
- How will social cohesion exist in a world of purposeful individualism?