In case you missed it, in December a company called DoNotPay demonstrated how it had harnessed the power of ChatGPT to do the live renegotiation of a consumer’s Comcast telecom bill. The company describes itself as a robot lawyer that “Utilizes artificial intelligence to help consumers fight against large corporations and solve their problems like beating parking tickets, appealing bank fees, and suing robocallers.” This is the kind of company we expect to arise in the Machine Customer world – one that makes its living working on behalf of human customers, by providing software that does customer work.
The company showed (in a video in this Tweet) the dialogue between its ChatGPT API powered chatbot, and the online chat customer service of Comcast. The agent typing at the Comcast end was probably human – but these days, who can be sure? Here are a few key observations on what this episode demonstrates:
- Many people might delegate their buying to Custobots like this. In some markets it is possible the software will do a better job by being the customer for us.
- Markets could be silently eaten. That’s a disruption risk. Companies may not know when their human customers are being substituted by machine customers.
- Friction and inertia reliant business models could be undermined. High margins could be cut by the tireless comparison and negotiation of machine customers.
We believe the arrival of Machine Customers – both software based and in IoT enabled physical form – is going to be one of the biggest business technology trends of this decade. It has been growing for several years already – hiding in plain sight. When it hits the take-off point on the hockey stick curve, it could be more powerful and disruptive than the arrival of e-commerce was in the past. That’s why we have written a new book about it.
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