Do you speak human?

The Spark

12th May 2017

The Spark newsletter is our fortnightly roundup of the latest innovation trends. To sign-up, click the register link in the footer of this page.


At the beginning of this month, Swedish furniture company IKEA took its first steps into the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space by launching its ‘Do you speak human’ campaign. IKEA’s innovation lab, Space10, embarked on research asking consumers what purpose they think AI has in the home. Questions included “should AI fulfil your needs before you ask?” and “what gender should your AI be?”. The overall results proved that consumers want AI to be in tune with all their wants and desires, as well as reflecting their values and reacting to emotion.

The aim is to decipher how society views AI before the company undertakes further moves to immerse themselves in the ever growing market. With a recent report in The Harvard Business Review stating that 64% of people said they are happy to trade privacy for personalisation, is IKEA on to a winner by gathering data about what consumers want to get out of AI?

By looking at the concerns and considerations of potential consumers, the company can ensure they create products that suit the needs of individual customers and enhance their day-to-day lives. The thing with AI is the more information you can feed it, the smarter it becomes. Although the research has been described as light-hearted, it still signals that AI is coming and brands need to respect that there are tremendous possibilities in the sector, to create better experiences for customers through personalisation and rich data – understanding who the customer is and what they need.

The company already sells furniture with built in wireless charging and has tapped into augmented reality to allow customers to preview its furniture, so personalised AI may not be too far away.


Click here to read the more of this issue of The Spark.