Artificial intelligence solutions are taking on an increasing number of tasks today, and seemingly sentient machines are handling complex, contextual interactions. It may seem incongruous to use machines to personalize relationships, but chat bots and digital assistants are becoming adept at representing the people and companies they serve. The lead article in this issue delves into the tremendous potential AI has for improving the efficiency of IoT-connected homes and workplaces, including merchants and payments companies, and also addresses concerns about privacy, security and our own job security.
In the same vein, one of our contributing writers examines herein some legal issues associated with payments as we move closer to the ubiquity of self-driving cars, robots and a multitude of services powered by AI. For example, when a self-driving electric car rolls into a station to recharge, it will need to make a payment for the electricity. How will this automated payment work? Consumer consent for transactions can be difficult enough to prove already. What if your smart refrigerator orders a truckload of milk instead of a gallon? A complicated set of rules will need to be established to address scenarios where payments will be made machine to machine. Other industry experts offer insights on growing your business through referral partnerships; how to invest time and resources wisely to make the leap into next-gen acquiring; the complexities of real-time payments in the United States today, where exaggerations, misconceptions and dubious claims are proliferating; and how cash is faring compared with mobile wallets and other forms of payment.
Developments we've covered in news include The Strawhecker Group's release of the new Directory of U.S. Merchant Acquirers; ACH and other forms of fraud pummeling U.S. companies; payments veteran John Beebe's appointment to Hawaii's Council on Developmental Disabilities; security concerns potentially dampening IoT growth; JCPenney's halt of contactless payments due to concerns about meeting an April deadline for merchant EMV contactless functionality; and Amy Zirkle's support as acting CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.
As always, we've included product and company profiles; updates on milestones such as awards, appointments, partnerships, acquisitions, and new research; and other resources to assist you in your career in the payments industry. We draw from press releases for news articles as well as for items included in Industry Update, so please continue to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And we look forward to your questions and comments at email@example.com.
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