Need for a bottom-up approach to leverage AI for Indian consumers

Smart Governance, April 14, 2020

Majority of consumers believe AI can make their lives better. But businesses have to show them real value – the ‘what’s in it for them.’ Companies need to reassess their AI strategy – and quickly – to ensure AI is not just a novelty but a real competitive advantage in a fickle consumer world.

The advance of AI technologies has brought with it many benefits for consumers, in the form of new or improved products and services, “more intelligent‟ and faster delivery, reduced search and transaction costs, and increased safety., a discussion paper brought out recently by NGO CUTS International says.

AI is closely linked with consumer welfare. Consumer welfare means maximisation of consumer utility within the constraints faced by the consumer in terms of income, availability of goods, access, etc. AI maximises consumer welfare by reducing the effect of these constraints through increasing efficiency and reducing time spent on certain activities., the paper adds.

The discussion paper titled “Artificial Intelligence: Implication for Consumers ” which assesses the benefits and cost of AI for consumers, however expresses concern that the discourse on AI has been captured by concepts, such as bots surpassing human intelligence, ethical use of AI, and algorithmic bias.

The discussion paper authored jointly by Udai Singh Mehta and Shubhangi Heda says for many consumers, the potential is there for AI to improve their customer experience, but they’re not fully convinced it adds enough value today.

The discussion paper however says ,at the same time, the potential of AI in empowering consumers must not be lost sight off.

Unfortunately, there remain significant knowledge gaps among the general public (the consumers) regarding these likely detriments, especially in developing countries where the prevailing level of education and awareness is not high. Also, consumers lack the necessary competencies/skills to make the best use of what AI-embedded products and services have to offer.

All the same, even the policymakers and regulators in most countries, including advanced countries, are also struggling to build and update their respective legal and regulatory frameworks to deal with AI.

The paper provides a brief overview of the concepts associated with AI and then dives into the benefits derived by the consumers from AI by increasing their efficiency and making day to day tasks easier.

The paper also highlights the risks and challenges of the use of AI such as bias, privacy, manipulation and price differentiation. Based on the analysis of the benefits and risks, we arrive at recommendations that can maximise the benefits of AI in a fair and just manner.

To read the complete discussion paper click link:

This news item can also be viewed at: