But saying “powered by AI” is like saying you’re “powered by the internet” or “powered by computer code." By itself, it means nothing.
Here’s how I think about it:
When your email program keeps track of what folders you use most often and magically offers to file mails to them, that’s a simple algorithm, not “AI.”
The old Microsoft Office “smart” menus and toolbars rearranged based on your usage (“powered by AI!”) as early as 1999.
Learning spam and antivirus filters have been around for more than 20 years.
“Set it... and forget it!” 🍗 🔥
Though no software powered this feature, today it would be hailed as “AI.” Because AI has become, unfortunately, just an empty marketing term.
Heuristics are often smarter than ML at certain things because they are human-curated and designed.
You know what would be better? A simple rule: show it when I’m away from my home, otherwise don’t. No neural net needed.
Machine learning is widely available, cheaper every day, and easily applied to straightforward problems. Bragging that you use ML is like saying you use bubble sort or HTTP. It’s just table stakes.
It will be an expected skill, just like the ability to code using standard algorithms and data manipulation techniques today.
“Does it work well?”
“Does it solve my problem?”
“Can I measure the results?”
“Does it make me happy to use it?”
The AI-ness itself is mostly irrelevant; it doesn't have any intrinsic value.
Ask yourself: How does ML make this product better?
As with GUI, the internet, and cloud computing before it, AI presents an opportunity for new, AI-native companies to create previously unimagined kinds of software.
At the intersection of conversational understanding + contextual learning + adaptive UI, so many new things are being born.
The same pattern will repeat here, as AI-native companies imagine and deliver entire end-to-end scenarios that wouldn’t have been possible by companies retrofitting legacy products with “new AI-powered features.”
Companies which bring all of this together, harmoniously, in important domains, will rule the next decade.