I think this is an incredible idea, but I agree with your first comment – it appears more as a marketing technique than truly an open innovation platform. Unfortunately, this approach clearly isn’t scaleable; if the objective is to truly change customer perspectives on food as a whole, it will be hard to do that with such a limited reach given how intensive their innovation process is. I would focus on finding more electronic ways to provide feedback and iterate more consistently.
I’d be very curious to see other potential applications of the emotional identification ability. For example, could this be applied in care-taking situations such as hospitals or child-rearing? If so, is there a way to leverage this technology to scale these services to address skills shortages in developing nations / underserved markets?
This unfortunately seems like a traditional case of a commodity product in which margins will slowly begin to erode as more and more competitors enter the space. Once Align becomes focused on cost cutting and is no longer focused on revenue upside, they will need to compete on price as their product becomes less and less differentiated. I would begin to look at other applications of the technology as opposed to defaulting to a cost-take out strategy, since those are difficult to win in the long run.
I think in this case, the greater public good outweighs the profit motive of individual people and institutions – but, like most negative externalities – unless there is some intervention on the form of the government, we will have a tragedy of the commons situation in which individuals profit at the expense of the whole. I actually think this might be a case where the application of a government mandate is called for – in the 14th and 15th centuries, the plague wiped out whole swathes of the population. Given how extensive international travel is today, a disease of that magnitude could wipe out a large portion of the population unless a cure is found in time.
How does the company think about deploying this technology in developing vs more developed nations? I’m curious how intensive the training infrastructure needs to be in order to train enough workers to effectively meet the demand. Where does the company want to prioritize its efforts on Earth – I think this is a more pressing question ahead of turning to the idea of space colonization, which will likely happen several generations from now.
One of my biggest questions when it comes to education is how these types of programs address the motivational component of learning. I think it’s incredible that these machines can propose assignments for students in anticipation of their weak points, but often students avoid the subjects that they find more difficult, so how do these type of programs create incentives for adherence? In other words, how do they provide the motivation to actually follow through on doing the assignments ahead of the exam?