Is artificial intelligence a commodity?

published on 23 September 2022

One of the fellow startup founders I know starts every conversation with me, saying that AI SaaS we’ve been building is a commodity, i.e., everyone can do it, and many companies already have sustainable results.

This discussion started in 2016 when three companies were in this space with people in the loop. Now, like a few more and still recognizing products on the shelf in dark corners of moms and pups shops isn’t a piece of cake.

I’ve mentioned this story not to complain but to illustrate how our mind works: if we hear something works, it’s a commodity. Car is a commodity: there are many car manufacturers, and still, everyone knows BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, etc. Just one new brand has become world-know recently - Tesla, thanks to Musk’s promotional genius. And there’s nothing new in making a car(except for some AI!).

I have had many calls with top leaders of the largest brands, who tell me how unflexible the first generation of Image Recognition vendors is. They dig the market and burn a lot of effort to sell; however, everything isn’t going smoothly after the purchase, and the number of leads has decreased with the number of churned customers increasing.

Concluding, Artificial Intelligence is way far from becoming a commodity. Even less “complicated” technologies are still unique in customer interaction. By the way, the guy I mentioned at the beginning of this post is working in a software development company selling person-hours.

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