Advancements in technology, from online shopping to streaming media to digital payments apps, have tried to make life a little more convenient for consumers. And Microsoft’s Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement, says that image recognition and artificial intelligence are the latest tech trends pushing this effort forward. Virji told Cheddar that more sophisticated image search software helps people discover businesses. For instance, she says that the company’s Bing search engine can now identify items in specific pictures. “So if I looked at Angelina Jolie carrying a beautiful handbag, I can zoom in on the handbag and be like ‘I wonder where I can buy it,’” she said. Companies such as Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook have incorporated similar technologies. Another trend making waves, especially in Asia, is A.I. Virji notes that some in the West, notably Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have expressed concerns about the rise of artificial intelligence. But countries in Asia have been using the technology for years. One benefit she sees is the ability to analyze customer relationship trends. Virji points to Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands as one company doing just that. “When people order online, and they’re going to go pick up in store, they realized that adding an e-ticket … made the experience much better for people,” Virji said. For the full interview [click here] (

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