Is there a difference between a smart fridge knowing what you prefer versus deciding for you? Image via Shutterstock / Christopher Boswell

Are Online Shopping Devices Narrowing Consumers’ Choices?

In a world ripe for IoT integration where AI technologies such as Alexa are already welcomed into homes, might the need for branding become obsolete?

While AI has enabled made hyper-tailored marketing to specific customers based on their prior shopping and browsing habits, could these same technologies be a double-edged sword that ultimately destroys marketing in the first place? In a world of smart refrigerators and other devices that automatically discovers and then reinforces a customer’s preferences –such as purchasing a person’s favorite flour brand when s/he asks Alexa to “buy flour”– , AI and IoT may rapidly make branding more difficult or even obsolete. More from MarketsInsider:

Brands are dead, or they might be in the future.

According to Aaron Shapiro, the CEO of the marketing firm Huge, brands will take a backseat as technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning become more prevalent.

“As machines start to take more decisions for people it makes it harder for marketers to figure out how to enter into that equation and how to influence consumer behavior,” Shapiro told Markets Insider. “It’s very disruptive for many companies.”

Artificial intelligence powers technology like Apple’s new face-recognition unlock tool and Google’s smart assistant. AI is in its infancy, but it already is showing up in users’ lives in a big way, which could be a big problem for marketing firms like Shapiro’s.

Shapiro says to understand AI’s impact on brands, picture a futuristic smart fridge. The fridge has cameras to track the food inside, and it sees that your milk is running low. Because it’s connected to your credit card and your preferred online grocery store, it automatically orders new milk based on data it has gathered about your previous shopping habits. The fridge already knows which kind of milk you prefer based on what it’s already seen you buy, so you don’t have to pick the brand or even type of milk to reorder.

“You’re already locked into your preferences, and you’re done,” Shapiro said. “You’re not even deciding what food you want to buy anymore.”

Read More: Artificial intelligence could make brands obsolete (GOOGL, AMZN, AAPL)