Weekly Roundup

Posted October 21st 2016


This week, we look at:

  • Tesla’s self-driving announcement.
  • How automation is changing marketing.
  • New ways to shop using artificial intelligence.


Tesla’s Big Update 

  • Tesla to make all its new cars self-driving: The automaker announced that its entire fleet will be fitted with a full suite of self-driving hardware. These tools are the eyes and ears of the car, and includes eight 360-degree cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors, forward-facing radar, and a new onboard computer to analyze all the data. The new system will allow the cars to drive themselves in almost any condition, not just on highways. [via Digital Trends]  
  • The new Autopilot will run in “shadow mode”: Tesla needs to collect a lot of data to prove to regulators that Autopilot is safe and reliable. In shadow mode, the car isn’t taking any action, but it registers when it would have taken action. Then, if the Tesla is in an accident, the company can see if the autonomous mode would have avoided the accident (or the other way around). [via The Verge]
  • Coast-to-coast autonomous demonstration: “Our goal is, and I feel pretty good about this goal, that we’ll be able to do a demonstration drive of full autonomy all the way from LA to New York by the end of next year,” Musk said. “Without the need for a single touch, including the charger.” To put that kind of accomplishment in perspective, current autonomous testing generally doesn’t even cross state lines, let alone the country. [via TechCrunch]


Consumer Expectations

  • How marketing changes when shopping is automated: Much of marketing is premised on companies delivering messages to customers to influence their purchases and consumption. Indeed, the largest advertisers in the world are companies such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, and Unilever, which sell low-involvement products that are routinely purchased. The purpose of much of the tens of billions of dollars they spend on advertising is to remind consumers to pick up their laundry detergent, soup, coffee, yogurt, or pet food on their next shopping trip. But within a few years, this model of marketing, advertising, and shopping will become obsolete. [via Harvard Business Review
  • Tinder culture has taken over, and now it’s killing retail: The dating app encourages browsing over emotional investment by presenting users with an endless array of potential partners to consider while requiring very little up-front work or commitment to establish a “match.” Even when you swipe right (a sign of interest), another new face immediately appears — providing a sense that there is always potential for a better option. Likewise, the highly promotional environment in retail today has given shoppers a sense that there’s always going to be a better deal down the road. This has led to a sharp decline in brand loyalty, which is a nightmare for retailers. [via Business Insider


Smarter Shopping

  • Google now tells you when to book flights and hotels: Google will now tell you if you’re getting the cheapest flight possible — based on when the prices for the flights and routes you are interested in are expected to increase. In some cases, a notification will appear on those flights when Google determines that the current fare will expire, along with a note detailing how much you’ll be able to save if you book immediately. [via VentureBeat]
  • The future of online shopping is visual recognition: eBay announced Collective, a new section of the site that uses artificial intelligence along with in-house curation to make it easier for shoppers to sift through the company’s 1 billion-plus listings and get their design fix. The potential game changer is the use of artificial intelligence that scans listings to find products that have similar traits. Users hover over annotated (and shoppable) photographs to find close cousins to what’s in the shot. [via Fast Company]