Consumer Products & Services

How Sephora is leveraging AR and AI to transform retail and help customers buy cosmetics


The Sephora Virtual Artist kiosk invites retail customers to use augmented reality to try out different products. This article was originally published as a TechRepublic cover story. In San Francisco's Dogpatch district, a research laboratory explores new products that tap augmented reality (AR), ...

What could a self-learning AI system do for your financial life?


Eva*: Hi Sarah, how's it going? You came home early today. Yeah, I wasn't feeling too well so thought I would have an early night. I have a booming headache and a runny nose. Sound's terrible. Would you like me to order some cold and flu tablets? They should be with you tomorrow morning before yo...

Customer complains after Amazon Echo orders cat food

Daily Mail

It is the voice-activated device that it supposed to make it simple to play music, check the weather or order a takeaway. But things weren't quite so straightforward for one Amazon Echo owner – after an advert for the smart speaker triggered their own device and left them with an unwanted order for...

Grocer Lidl rolls out natural language chatbot to improve customer experience


Lidl has introduced an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot to help improve the wine-buying experience for shoppers, as the food retailer continues its efforts to wrest market share away from the big four supermarket chains. Every conference this year contains a dead human genius reincarnated as so...

Shopping cart trial set to change the way we shop by using artificial intelligence


Ellerslie grocery shoppers will be the first in the world to trial artificial intelligence technology that will eliminate the need for checkouts. Auckland-based company IMAGR, aims to change the way people shop by using computer vision technology that recognises products as they are placed in the shopping trolley. Foodstuffs' Four Square Ellerslie will be the first fast-moving consumer goods store in the world to trial the Smartcart technology. IMAGR founder William Chomley said he used to spend his whole lunch break waiting in the queue at the supermarket when he worked in Sydney. Working with a team of 12, including artificial intelligence specialists from around the world, Chomley set out to improve the experience of customers. Shoppers would have to download an app on their smartphone and link a payment method to their account. The bill would then be automatically paid when the customer has finished shopping. Once in store, they pair their device with the shopping trolley, and as they add items to the cart they appear in the virtual basket in the app. The cart also recognises if an item has been taken out of the cart and will remove it from the virtual basket. "This is the first significant step in enhancing the way we do our shopping here in New Zealand and abroad," Chomley said. Chomley would not say when Smartcart would be available in the Auckland store, but said it would be some time this year. "We are on track for this year, but I can't probably be more specific than that," Chomley told the Herald. The technology can also identify patterns in behaviour and suggest recipes as well as guide users around the shop. The trolley can assist in inventory management, cost reduction and analytics. IMAGR is also working on ways to send tailored promotions to customers as they shop. Foodstuffs North Island chief information officer Peter Muggleston said the technology will give consumers more options and reduce wait times. Chomley said that IMAGR was also talking to retailers throughout Australia, Korea, Europe, the United Kingdom and America.

Machine learning drives Grab's Open Traffic initiative


OVER the past few years, the media has focused a lot on how companies the likes of Uber, Grab and Airbnb have exploited the so-called 'sharing economy,' highlighting the fact that they don't own assets but are still able to dominate the transportation and accommodation industries respectively. But ...

His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming


Among the many, many Democrats who will seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020, most probably agree on a handful of core issues: protecting DACA, rejoining the Paris climate agreement, unraveling President Trump's tax breaks for the wealthy. Only one of them will be focused on the robot apocalypse. That candidate is Andrew Yang, a well-connected New York businessman who is mounting a longer-than-long-shot bid for the White House. Mr. Yang, a former tech executive who started the nonprofit organization Venture for America, believes that automation and advanced artificial intelligence will soon make millions of jobs obsolete -- yours, mine, those of our accountants and radiologists and grocery store cashiers. He says America needs to take radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown, including handing out trillions of dollars in cash. "All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society," Mr. Yang, 43, said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just a few years, he said, "we're going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college." "That one innovation," he continued, "will be enough to create riots in the street. And we're about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms."

Chatbots: A look inside the technology that powers the AI tool


We often talk about artificial intelligence (AI) in pretty broad terms, but as you know well, AI is kind of a misnomer that is really a compilation of a number of different technologies. TechRepublic spoke with Gupshup co-founder and CEO Beerud Sheth to discuss what types of machine learning, data analysis, and other predictive tools power an AI chatbot. Sheth: AI is a collection of a lot of different techniques and such. One of the commonest things that's used in chatbots vs. natural language processing, which is used for understanding regular, unstructured queries. Let's say if a user wants to buy a ticket, they may say the same thing a dozen different ways. I wanna make a booking. I want to reserve. I want to fly to New York. Whatever it is. A natural language processing technique or algorithm would help you figure out what the user is saying. Another thing that people use often is for personalization. Based on their past track record, we can make predictions about what they are likely to want or need next. We've done that, for example, predicting the kind of news stories they prefer. You can use it for things like pattern recognition and image detection and so on. The user sends a photo and now the bot has to figure out what is it. Is there a cat in the photo or not in it. Or let's say if it's a receipt of a restaurant, you want to be able to read what's in there, and classify it correctly and so on. And then getting into more advanced things. There's a lot of things, deep learning and so on. Those could come in. The benefit of AI in general is that the bot can engage with humans in a convenient way. Like I said, in terms of the user having to identify the receipt and the restaurant name and the amount, the bot can look it up automatically. He just sends a photo, and the bot can figure out what's in the photo, etc. So, it makes it easy and convenient, and these technologies--as they evolve--they keep getting better. Of course, for voices, voice recognition is a big deal, another big AI technique, and you know these things are getting better every day.

Artificial Intelligence: Making Travel Human Again


Artificial Intelligence: Making Travel Human Again. Testing. In this white paper, you'll learn about: The digital transformation in the travel industry; AI and voice recognition for faster booking; Predictive analytics for flight delay notifications; How this technology should be leveraged in 2018 and beyond.