The Customer Futures Five: Finding the winner in Personal AI
Plus: The data economy is not a zero-sum game and the real reason Apple is taking over banking
👋 Hi everyone, thanks for coming back to Customer Futures. Each week I unpack the ever-increasing and disruptive shifts around Personal AI, digital customer relationships and customer engagement.
This is the Customer Futures Five edition.
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The Customer Futures Five
It’s a blizzard of customer engagement, digital and AI updates out there, so here’s some Customer Futures signal in the noise. Let me know what you think - just hit reply!
In this week’s Customer Futures Five:
📌 Article: Bill Gates on finding the winner in Personal AI
💡 Idea: The data economy is not a zero-sum game
👀 Update: Onfido Acquires Airside
✍️ Resource: Understanding Consumer Attitudes Towards Modern Identity
🤔 Question: Why is Apple taking a bite out of banking?
📌 ARTICLE: Bill Gates says the winner of the A.I. race will be whoever creates a personal assistant
Gates now believes what many of us have been saying for a while now: the developer destined to win the artificial intelligence race will be the one which manages to create a personal AI.
Because the knock-on effects will be profound.
Why go to Amazon when your AI can make a recommendation for something hyper-personalised? Better than trawling through a string of (targeted) products, (adjusted) prices and (untrusted) reviews?
Why go to Google when your personal AI can find the answer faster, and the one that is actually relevant for what you need? Better than scrolling through pages of links that have been ordered by SEO and sponsored ads?
“Billionaire philanthropist Gates added the developer destined to win the artificial intelligence race will be the one which manages to create a personal agent that can perform certain tasks to save users time.
“Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s the big thing, because you will never go to a search site again, you will never go to a productivity site, you’ll never go to Amazon again,” he explained.
“In March, Gates theorized that services like large language models will be increasingly deployed as copilots to their human counterparts, or as he puts it: “like having a white-collar worker available to you.”
“Exactly what that personal agent will do remains unclear—however, speaking on Monday during a Goldman Sachs and SV Angel event in San Francisco, Gates suggested A.I. copilots will “read the stuff you don’t have time to read” among other tasks.”
💡 IDEA: The data economy is not a zero-sum game
Too often the personal data economy is considered ‘zero-sum’. If one business shares its customer data with another, they lose some sort of competitive advantage. So the data is held captive. Locked up. A precious resource to be guarded at all costs. It’s why so many of our business systems are designed not to share data.
Yet trusted personal data-sharing networks can offer huge benefits. Creating value for all participants at the same time. A rising tide lifting all boats.
As Markus Kalliola puts it, it is time to create a truly fair data economy:
“The data economy is a victim of its own success. If the value of data is considered to be high, the data is guarded as if it were a key business secret and, paradoxically enough, that is exactly what prevents the company from taking advantage of the data and realising its value. All business managers should understand the three basic principles of the data economy:
1) Data only has value when it is used.
2) Unused data is a major cost.
3) The value of data increases every time it is used.
“Having understood these three principles, a company initiates its first experiment with artificial intelligence, which ends in failure. The following three facilitators of the data economy should then be recognised:
4) Innovation occurs between organisations and in cooperation.
5) The value of shared data is greater than the sum of its parts.
6) A sustainable data economy is based on trust.
“If you want to be a part of the future, and the data economy in particular, your organisation must look into how it can make its data available to others, how it can become a trustworthy partner and how it will take advantage of data generated by other parties.”
👀 UPDATE: Onfido Acquires Airside, Enabling a World of ‘Verify Once, Share Anywhere’ Digital Identity
The digital identity market is in flux. From the larger consumer identity networks run by social networks, banks and telcos, to new global data standards like portable verifiable credentials and Passkeys. From biometric technologies using on-device senors to web3 digital reputations.
And that’s before you mention digital wallets or AI.
So it’s little wonder that many of the large identity players are looking to innovate around these new data technologies at scale. To explore adjacent identity markets.
This week the identity and verification provider Onfido announced it was acquiring Airside, a large-scale travel identity and wallet provider:
“Airside’s privacy-first identity management technology, combined with Onfido’s industry-leading verification, enables a ‘verify once, use anywhere’ world, where customers can manage their own digital identity stored on their smartphone — using it to access new services without having to verify again.
“This will transform user experiences across travel, financial services, e-commerce, internet platforms and much more, redefining the process of identity verification. The integration will enable businesses to create a seamless user experience that supports more effective onboarding and expanded customer relationships, while radically reducing fraud and minimizing the liability associated with handling sensitive data.”
✍️ RESOURCE: Understanding Consumer Attitudes Towards Modern Identity
Worth checking out Auth0’s latest research into consumer attitudes on adopting identity technology. Especially around usability. Some eye-opening findings:
“TikTok had the second-highest sign-in failure rate (33.33%) and the highest sign-up failure rate (38.89%). It also had the longest login completion time (69.09s) and the second-longest sign-up completion times.
“By contrast, the Washington Post had the lowest failure rates across login and account creation flow (7.14% and 5.56%, respectively) and the quickest completion times. It also offered the most popular identity experience of the sites studied.
“Modern identity can improve UX, but if the UX foundations are infirm, it might confound users. A great example is TikTok, which offers a myriad of authentication choices, leaving consumers unclear about what to do.
“The Washington Post offers an incredibly fluid authentication and account creation experience, leaving other identity tools looking superfluous in the eyes of consumers. The way consumers authenticate is driven partially by the trust. UX is an important factor, certainly, but it’s not the only one.”
🤔 QUESTION: Why is Apple taking a bite out of banking?
Dave Wallace from Fintech Futures on Apple’s move into finance. When you zoom out, you see it’s all about customer trust.
“The Apple approach has been to build outstanding products, build trust, build excellent services, become fully trusted and then make financial products/services. But is that where it stops? What do I mean by that? Look at the old banks. Despite everything that has happened through crises and mis-selling scandals, our ancient hunter-gatherer brain, which craves security above almost everything, still trusts them, which means we stay with them, encourage our children to become their customers and then buy products and services from them.
“I hypothesise that Apple has been working hard to connect to that ancient brain and create an intrinsic, old bank-like trust relationship. Trust to them is the most potent asset. Apple may see that financial services products are a way of reinforcing and deepening that trust relationship rather than being the endgame.”
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