Imagine a shopping bot, if you will. It interacts with kids on Snapchat, letting them buy the candy they see in a friend’s post just by searching for the image. 
It’s not some crazy futuristic prediction — it’s the kind of thing that’s already happening. And it has the potential to have a huge impact on the economy.
“Artificial intelligence will deliver added economic output of about $13 trillion by 2030 and boost global GDP by 1.2 percent a year,” according to a new McKinsey Global Institute’s September 2018 report “Modeling the Impact of AI on the World Economy.”
The McKinsey Global Institute looked at five broad categories of AI: computer vision, natural language, virtual assistants, robotic process automation and advanced machine learning. Companies will likely use these tools to varying degrees, it says. 
“By 2030, the average simulation shows that some 70 percent of companies might have adopted at least one type of AI technology but that less than half will have fully absorbed the five categories,” the report says. 
And indeed, that Snapchat scenario isn’t even far-fetched, so much as it’s already happening. 
The social media network recently partnered with Amazon to allow users to search for products via its image-recognition software.
“Users can use Snapchat’s camera to scan a physical object or barcode, which brings up a card showing that item and similar ones along with their title, price, thumbnail image, average review score and Prime availability. When they tap on one, they’ll be sent to Amazon’s app or site to buy it,” TechCrunch explains. 
AI also could help companies create the perfect candy bar. Last year, Google used AI to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, according to Business Insider
“Using artificial intelligence and a technique called ‘Bayesian Optimisation,’ the team spent two months trying to design the perfect chocolate chip cookie,” the article explains. “The team gave a computer a series of ingredients, without any other information, and told it to simply bake a cookie.”
It took 59 batches, but eventually it got it. Granted, Business Insider actually baked the recipe and it wasn’t impressed. But that doesn’t mean that type of technology isn’t useful.
McKinsey warns against underestimating AI. 
“It would be a misjudgment to interpret this ‘slow burn’ pattern of impact as proof that the effect of AI will be limited,” the report says. “The size of benefits for those who move early into these technologies will build up in later years at the expense of firms with limited or no adoption.”
It’s likely only time mixed with creativity will truly show us how useful AI can be in the confectionery industry. But it probably won’t hurt to friend some bots on Snapchat in the meantime.