Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Bixby, and Google Assistant. While they all sound like members of a snazzy female pop group (keep up Google!), these are names we will all be speaking to every day. And more often than to our spouse according to Gartner!
Sadly, they really aren’t all one happy group singing kumbaya around the campfire together. The competition is fierce. Jeff Bezos said last week that Amazon plans to ‘double down’ on Alexa development after Google blocked YouTube on Amazon’s Echo devices and their heated rivalry at CES 2018.
But why are all these dominant companies that are in seemingly unrelated parts of the tech world all bustling down to create these AI assistants only to compete with one another? Data. As much as we like to talk about Bitcoin today, data is the most important currency that is being “mined” for the future. Prediction, AI, analytics, machine learning and more all require data.
Chatbots and virtual digital assistants provide a way to subtly collect useful data while performing tasks for users. Every time a message is sent to a chatbot, not only does it get better, the business’ intelligence increases as well. Seemingly innocuous and unrelated pieces of data spoken and entered by millions of the wealthiest households globally, aggregated together is drawing a picture that can only be made sense of by those that have the most data.
But there is an evil lurking behind all of this — most of us unknowingly hand over our personal and company’s data without realising its consequences.
Who owns your data?
Data ownership in conversational platforms is one of the biggest issues facing enterprises that are developing their digital strategies. Positioned in the middle of your app and customer, the platform provider knows everything your users say.
If you’re not worried about where this kind of data goes (and you don’t know where it’s stored!), I would caution you. Data can separate winners from losers and fun fact: make you a billionaire. Instagram was originally a check-in service and an unsuccessful one at that. Founder Kevin Systrom intensively studied his company’s proprietary data and realised they should pivot to photo sharing.
Once they did, it only took less than two years before they were acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Now, imagine if Facebook had access to that data already and with all their genius mini-Zuckerbergs created their own Instagram faster than Kevin Systrom did. Facebook would be billions of dollars better off, young Kev not so much.
And here’s a grim scenario for the future. Imagine that in 10 years time Google and Facebook have so much conversational data from financial services companies whilst utilising the invaluable trust they have gained from customers for decades, that they decide to build a superior global bank that drives all competitors into a wasteland.
We are in the knowledge economy. Please, be wary of this tech consortium taking your company’s information freely for their own potentially nefarious gains. Take a page from Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy’s (LVMH) book regarding their presence on Amazon — specifically, how you can’t find them!
Where’s it all going?
There is nothing inherently wrong with giving away data, you just have to ask yourself: “Where is my valuable gold going?” Maybe for once we’ll have to read through long software terms and conditions before clicking yes… As Meglena Kuneva, European Consumer Commissioner, said: “Data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world.”
The price of using something for free in exchange for your data is expensive. When you build with Ambit, your data is your data! Protect your data at all costs. Your future depends on it.
By Nicholas Walsh, Analyst at Ambit