We Just Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Our Name: The Tale of ML & AI

What are Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (ML & AI)? Well there are almost as many definitions on this as there are on SaaS based products in our market today (no disrespect here folks). So instead of defining ML/AI please allow me to provide you the John Hancock perspective. The perspective is not new – it’s simply, how can we use technology to bring efficiency into our lives and workplaces? To me this should be our not so scary approach to ML/AI.  

What’s different? More than anything this is the first time in history we’ve had unlimited computing power at our fingertips. This power is also billed by the minute which allows us to build, develop, and experiment with unlimited computing at a low cost. This flexibility removes the fear to fail, encourages experimenting, and significantly reduces barriers to entry.

So let me tell you about one of my favorite ML/AI use cases– I call it a modern day Cheers.  For those of you old enough to remember the hit TV show Cheers you will remember that when Norm Peterson entered the the bar everyone greeted him with, “Norm!” They greeted him when he entered, knew his favorite beverage, had it waiting in his favorite seat, and knew all his favorite jokes. There is truth that “Sometimes you want to go... [Yes], where everybody knows your name”.  Can ML/AI make it easy to make your customers feel special, known, appreciated, and happy? Yes!

Through AWS Rekognition, I can now identify each unique person/customer when they enter an establishment. Using Amazon Web Services products like Kinesis, Lambda, S3, and EMR I can dynamically pair with your POS (Point of Sale System) and feed you real time information on every customer entering your store. Pairing this with the information in your POS should naturally lead to, “Welcome back Norm” and “great to see you again, may I get the chicken kabobs and Greek salad started for you? Also, our chef recommends pairing the kabobs with a nice pinot, would you like to try a glass?” I can even capture Norm’s sentiment as he exits the bar and use that to update Norm’s greeting the next time he arrives at our fine establishment. Is this real? Yes. Must be super complicated right, John? Not at all.  

So is ML/AI scary – sure it can be! Can computers take over our world? Wrong guy to ask. Have people always been scared of technology? No! Has technology made our lives better or worse? Great topic starter at your next social gathering. What I believe is that it’s our job at Relus Cloud to find the good for you!

So the next time you hear about ML/AI and how scary it may be, I challenge you to find the good for yourself, your family, and your business, and to better serve others in our world.