We look at research from Google on the mobile shopping experience, the implications of the growth of AI computing and the way sharing apps like “Bird” are creating unprecedented sources of income.


Hi Mum! Said Dad

Amazon claim that their facial recognition software can monitor people in a video even though their faces aren’t visible. (Image: Amazon)

AI computing power is growing at an astonishing rate — Good Cop or Bad Cop?

Last year the world witnessed an amazing demonstration of the abilities of Artificial Intelligence, when Google DeepMind revealed their AlphaGo project. Using this project as a starting point, researchers at Open AI have looked back in time to chart the growth of AI computing power.

They found that in the past 6 years, AI has been getting twice as powerful every 3.5 months — compared to Moore’s law, which had a much slower doubling period of 18 month. One conclusion is that the rapid transformation that transistors and integrated circuits brought to society will be nothing compared to the revolutionary changes that AI will introduce to our lives in the coming years.

Recent news that Amazon is selling its facial recognition software to US Police Departments is a great example of the two-edged sword that AI represents. In the hands of the right people, AI can do great things (cure cancer or Alzheimer’s), but critics argue that Amazon should not be actively pushing their massive computing power to law enforcement agents.

No matter what side you stand on, Ocado’s CTO Paul Clarke recently offered a very reasonable take on the topic. At the moment, Ocado are using AI to create a smoother shopping experience for their customers and a hyper-efficient fulfilment operation, but their ambitions are much greater. Clarke speaks about the importance of bringing “Digital Literacy” to the wider population, such as ensuring that university students are properly educated in AI.

We are yet to see who will play Good Cop or Bad Cop when it comes to AI — but soon enough, businesses and governments will have to pick a side.

By Oliver Iyer, Strategist

(Image: ASOS)

Google offer valuable insight in the difference between mobile web and in-app shopping

In past issues, we have debated the subtle differences between applications and mobile websites. As an example, check out our Medium post on the differences between native apps and Progressive Web Apps here.

One thing that is clear is that smartphone users are expecting a seamless transition between the mobile web experience and native apps. Take the ASOS digital ecosystem as an example: if I search for “green trousers” on the ASOS website, I expect that term to come up under recent searches the next time I open up my ASOS app.

Google recently released data confirming that user expectation. They found that 46% of mobile shopping sessions include at least one transition between mobile site and app. According to the survey, users end up switching from a mobile website to an app for the following three reasons: i) Apps are easier to navigate, ii) It is easier to make a purchase in an app, iii) Shopping in an app saves time in the checkout process.

In essence — apps can offer a more tailored experience to the user than the mobile web, making shopping considerably easier and smoother.

By Jeevan Jayaprakash, Strategist

“Bird” is the next sharing app that has managed to capture the US market (Image: The Atlantic News)

A closer look into the realities of the sharing economy

Uber, Airbnb, Netflix and Ofo are all great examples of apps that have taken advantage of the sharing economy. Why own something when you can just borrow it whenever you need it? My personal favourite: The freelance service marketplace Fiverr — the perfect tool when you’re looking to temporarily employ a celebrity impersonator.

The latest big-hit sharing platform in the US is Bird — an app for renting electric scooters that has flooded San Francisco with so many two-wheelers that Vanity Fair has dubbed it “Wheelmaggedon”. But like most sharing apps, Bird is not only beneficial to the end user cruising through the streets of SF — it is also creating unprecedented channels of employment. This article follows Brandon, a young student who earns hundreds of dollars a night collecting Bird scooters and charging them overnight in his home.

In the near future Brandon’s source of income might not be a minority case — house owners of the future might rent out their garages and driveways as overnight charging stations for driverless electric cars, garbage-picker robots and other autonomous machines…

By Jeevan Jayaprakash, Strategist

Suhail Doshi was part of Forbes’ 30 under 30 (Image: Forbes)

We leave you with some wise words from a young CEO…

At the age of 20, Suhail Doshi founded the highly successful app analytics company Mixpanel. Nine years later, he has decided to share his most valuable learnings with the world here.

Our favourite:
“Finally, keep working hard to improve. You can’t fix mistakes of the past but you can be better in the future. Don’t give up: when you make hard decisions, you get to know which values/principles you truly stand for. That alone makes the journey worth it. ✊”

By Oliver Iyer, Strategist

Originally written as part of Hi Mum! Said Dad’s weekly newsletter, H! Lites.

H! Lites hits you with a short, sharp, weekly dose of the latest and greatest across tech, business, design and other contemporary issues that we think would be of value to our readers.

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