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What AI ecosystems can learn from hyper-locally focused m-commerce

In one of our previous blogs we spoke about Top 6 AI Trends To Look Out For in 2021 and how Natural Language Processing (NLP) will be developed to improvise AI-based conversational chat-bots on e-commerce platforms for better customer services to compensate customers for the lack of a sensorial experience. Taking the same thought forward, this week we explore besides advanced data sets, why AI needs an emotive system to be able to keep pace with hyper-local m-commerce which is capturing local markets effectively.

The pandemic led e-commerce platforms such as Amazon to drive massive sales outdoing smaller businesses on account of necessity over convenience, a phenomenon noted worldwide. In November 2020, when Canada entered a second lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, Ali Haberstroh had an aha moment. Her friend, who owns a vintage clothing store in Toronto had just made a list of other shops selling similar wares with the idea of offering curbside pickup and deliveries to keep the businesses going. As Haberstroh saw the snow falling outside her apartment, she thought of the retail giants such as Walmart, Costco and Amazon whose sales were not affected as much during the pandemic. On the other hand, the smaller fish in the pond were struggling to survive.

Haberstroh felt a need to help and jumped into action by putting up an Instagram post and tagged independent businesses as well as shop owners across Toronto. She also bought a domain called for a mere $2.99. Her post invited small businesses to stay afloat and read “so you don’t have to give any money to Amazon this year!” She turned her friend’s 160 businesses spreadsheet into a massive directory or database listing local businesses offering shipping, curbside pickups, or deliveries through This submission-based website now lists 4000+ businesses across Toronto, Calgary, Halifax and Vancouver.

In emerging economies such as India, hyper-local categories such as personal care, beauty services, grocery, food et al will spur growth. In India, a big chunk of commerce still takes place in physical stores but with the emergence of brands like Grofers, Big Basket, Swiggy etc mobile tech has been the focus on investment. With the growth of m-commerce, it is to be noted that local retailers are more likely to lean towards proximity-based tie-ups. The Cadbury’s ad we wrote about earlier is a great example of the same.

E-commerce platforms such as Amazon may have an edge due to their use of AI, the future will see social commerce disrupting the current trends. Social commerce will reach out to remote market players such as your idli/dosa batter vendor or even a small scale flower vendor near your home to join the bandwagon. The integration of AI with m-commerce and social commerce will define marketing in the time to come. You read this here first!

Video editing and film-making

If you have ever been in the business of video editing, especially when a famous celebrity was involved, and no matter how much you try to salvage the video, you cannot; deepfakes will help with that clip and your video will be made uninterrupted. Earlier, movie directors would spend millions on creating the perfect location for their movies. This is now achievable with a far lesser sum using deepfake and AI. Deepfakes can be real game-changers in film-making. Imagine new movies starring Charlie Chaplin opening to full houses. This, ofcourse, after all the copyright issues are taken into consideration..

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wasim basir

marketing, board member

It’s most obvious in the digital media space, from click buys to personalized web experiences. For marketing, the AI journey has just kick-started, while in the tech sector it has been applied for a while now. We are still at an early stage where inroads are being made into AI content via chatbots and even some explanatory content creation but what will make anyone jump up and embrace it is when we will start seeing a lot of mainstream content being created by AI.

rich arnold

board member

Prior to joining Infinite Analytics, Richard served as the CFO of CrowdFlower, COO and CFO of Phoenix Technologies, as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Audit Committee at Intellisync, and previously as CFO and executive vice president strategy and corporate development at Charles Schwab.

pravin gandhi

board member

Pravin Gandhi has over 50 years of entrepreneurial operational and investing experience in the IT industry in India. He was a founding partner of the first early stage fund India - INFINITY. Subsequently a founding partner in Seedfund I & II. With over 18 years of investing experience, he is extensively well networked in investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active early stage angel investor in tech & impact space. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several private corporations in India. He is on the board of SINE, IIT Mumbai Incubator.

Purushotham Botla

co-founder & cto

Puru has his Masters in Engineering and Management from MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked with Fidelity Investments building electronic trading products and high volume market data processing applications. He has completed his BE from VJTI, Mumbai.


Deb Roy

Executive Director, MIT Media Lab

Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems. Deb is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social technology company that develops and operates the Local Voices Network to surface underheard voices and bridge divides.

Roy served as Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab from 2019-2021. He was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.

Erik Brynjolfsson

Board Member

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Akash Bhatia

Co-Founder and CEO

Akash co-founded IA while studying for his MBA from MIT. Prior to MIT Sloan, he co-founded Zoonga. Before this, Akash was an engineer with Oracle in Silicon Valley. He has completed his M.S from University of Cincinnati and B.E from the College of Engineering, Pune.