AI and Big Data are the cornerstones of a reinvigorated information era. Time to witness the creation of an unprecedented level of wealth across the globe. Two questions have frequently shown up in our discussion forums - how that wealth will be generated and what to do with the economic surplus. Two timely items we will need to collectively address rather sooner than later, as they will redefine the quality of life for all of us, and in no more than two decades. In this article, I will address the former question and will discuss the latter in my next one when I will also launch a more profound discussion as those answers will depend upon the moral implications and ethics around them.
AI and Big Data combined will transform and empower every person, organization and every process in the world across all economic fields making them cost wiser, more efficient and more productive, and all simultaneously. Exactly! That is an unprecedented level of wealth generation and at an unimaginable scale. If we consider that the Global annual GDP grows steadily around 3% in average as The World Bank report, within currently economic parameters, imagine what will help with every productive person and organization of the planet will have less operational costs, improve productivity and efficiency.
To explain that, we need to zoom in a small business, understand the technologies possibilities and impact. So, imagine a small neighborhood restaurant for example. It is not a simple task to create a profitable operation with positive cash flow in a low scale business, with high operating costs like food and utilities, and so labor intensive. To be lucrative, the manager will have to acquire a loyal customer base and keep them happy. Control costs like utilities and kitchenware yet buying proper ingredients at the right quantity and quality, managing the payroll and flexible schedules, keep the chef innovative and motivated, and the premises clean in a nice ambiance.
THE TECH PUSH
Now the same restaurant three decades from now is running with a spectrum of new technologies. Three decades from now it is safe to project that big data companies cooperate more and will accumulate and integrate new fields of data about our habits and consumption patterns and making them publicly available. It will not be difficult for this restaurant to acquire an app that will help to project demand and target the right audience. The app will cross their customer base habits and aggregated data with the same averages of the ones in their geography. And they will know precisely how many loyal customers come to their store, how frequent, what they consume, the average price paid by the wine bottle, how many eat dessert, how each menu item is publicly ranked and how to correct displayed prices to be attractive. Not only that but how that behavior changed last year, month, day and hour, and how their customers rate the restaurants in the region and the aspects about they are especially picky. And more, what they will be more likely to consume the next day or week, the average age group and ethnicity coming to the restaurant by the hour and so play the best playlist every hour, which will help to maximize consumption, and if the manager wants it, all automated. With that information, chefs can plan the menu according to trends, and clientele preferences and the app will help to understand how successful each new dish will be. The app will also stimulate more effective ingredients adoption and hybrid cuisine dishes introductions. The app will help to break down the menu in a shopping list and project consumption according to future demand, procure them at the right quantity per day, at the best price and get it delivered timely while scheduling employees to be on point for those deliveries. The app will help to hire the appropriate staff for each hour of the day and plan waiters profile to match the customer profile in each period. It can also balance the hourly rate cost of the staff members with their professional online reviews and automatically hire the best of the crop the restaurant can afford. The restaurant now has guidelines for innovation, efficient inventory management, reduced waste and utility consumption. The manager can also get information where is the ideal location to open a second store. A third. And so on.
Another app will help the manager run promotions and marketing campaigns tailored to attract the right audience at the right volume to keep the restaurant full most of the time, with the most lucrative crowd. Learning algorithms will maximize menu and wine options, daily specials and ambiance features to appeal to the variable customer influx. Once again, all automated, all the manager will have to do is to tell Alexa, Siri or Cortana s/he is ok to run customer acquisition campaigns and what profit level s/he expects. Customers are happier now about those menu options and the wine list. More people buy desserts, spend and tip more.
All operations around the restaurant are more efficient than before. Deliveries for the restaurant are cheaper now as they come in driverless trucks or drones. Packages were designed to cater small businesses with practical quantities and ingredients are modified to make preparation more efficient. Employees are trained and evaluated before they get engaged. Smart equipment (IOT) maintenance is automatically scheduled and performed at the best hour and the right moment to avoid shutdowns.
In summary, total expenses are significantly down. The operation is more efficient than before. The restaurant sells more by being always full and leveraging a higher average ticket. Profits have climbed to new highs. Good news.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO AFFORD ?
All that technology will be applied to every business, person and organization in the planet. There will be wealth generation at unprecedented levels. A lot of new cash and growth, an excellent problem to address. We can project Global GDP going back to the late 60's and 70" level of 5 or 6% annually, and maybe even reach new highs. All positive news but there is one catch though, and we will need to address. For all that to happen, customers of the restaurant need to be able to afford the meal. We are going through the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, a profound digital revolution. Drawing from the previous three other similar instances in history we can see a clear pattern. All of them have boosted economic output to new levels, financing a better quality of life, more convenience and more technology development in all fields. The inconvenient truth is to reach that new level, in all three previous cases, we saw the displacement of regular workers in significant numbers, and the occurrence of expected social disarrays before the establishment of a new norm surged. It is plausible to assume a similar pattern this time and act fast to minimize the impact on millions of workers and families, mainly the middle-class that will be the primary target of the new technologies deployment. Businesses will bloom but how will you afford the dinner if you have no job. I will cover that in my next article at collectivebrains.org.