What I am going to write next is that can we see free robots for sale in the future. In the present world, many things, from google search to email account to this blog to many apps on your phone are free, then how are they monetizing it. The answer is advertising. Yes, Google search, email account, this blog, many (not all) apps on your phone and even television (to some extent) are supported by advertising. Can we see a world in which there would be free robots supported by advertising?

Let me speculate on how future of ‘free’ AI robots is going to be. One fine day you are yawning in your garden on a hot summer day and you are hungry and want something to eat. Let us say that robot is made by ABC company and is given to everybody in the country for free. Now, in the future world, you will order your robot to bring you a pizza. The robot may ask you, which pizza you would like. You may say that you do not have a particular choice. The robot may suggest you that the pizza of ‘XYZ’ pizzeria is delicious and must be tried and so you ask robot to bring you the pizza from that XYZ pizzeria. Now here is where the ABC company earned its revenue. It will charge XYZ pizzeria a commission for the mention its robot made. This is somewhat same strategy through which search engines like Google and Bing are monetized.

Let me tell you another scenario. Let us say this company ABC is a mega corporation and it gives everything from its television to robots for free. All the products of this company are integrated to each other. Now you want to buy a house in say, New York City. You casually mention this to your friend one fine afternoon when you invite him/her to your house. Your robot, having no respect for your privacy (Yes humans need privacy from those metal heads too) hears this. It just recognizes that you are interested in the houses in New York City. What it will do next is store this information on the internet. Now don’t be afraid when in the evening you are seeing advertisements related to houses in New York City. No this was not a coincidence. It was a properly planned integration of your robot and your television by ABC. This is targeted advertisements. This advertisement is far more effective because you are less likely to buy eggs from the market when you are talking about houses in New York City.

Don’t you think that if this happens it would be a real threat to human privacy? This company (ABC) would know everything about you, your interests, your habits, your family, even the most private conversations in your home. Even in the present world, Facebook and Google know enough about you. Facebook knows who your friends are, Google knows what you are looking for and they too are doing the same thing that our fictitious company, the ABC is doing. Now let us do the mathematics. The robot would cost anything like $1000(Yes robots will get cheaper) to ABC. There are like 134 million houses in the United States. This company, the ABC will give the robots for free to every household in the United States. Now let us say that 50% of the houses (yes number of people are going to increase in future but let us just assume that the population growth remains stagnant) accept the robot (who will deny a free robot). So about 67 million robots need to be produced. This would cost around 67 billion dollars which is not much for a multinational corporation and factoring inflation. Now for 67 billion dollars the ABC would know everything about the private lives of 50% of the population of the United States. Now an advertiser knows that targeted advertisement is very good for his business and there would be no dearth of business for ABC. Plus, till the robot is in the household there would be negligible investments for the company to make. Sounds like a solid business plan, doesn’t it?


Image Source: – Daily Mail