Meet Chad. Yesterday, he was your typical helpful retail employee. Tomorrow, he may be John Henry. Henry is the American legend who, with his bare hands, outperformed a steam-powered railroad drill in a contest that pitted man against machine. Today that drill is artificial intelligence, and instead of digging, it’s selling. Whether Chad and artificial intelligence (AI) have to compete, however, is a question for retail. And the retail industry will have to address that question quickly. The artificial intelligence industry is expected to grow by more than 20-fold over the next seven years, to $3 trillion in 2024 from $126 billion in 2015. Much of that expansion is rolling out now in the physical and virtual aisles of retail, and with it comes questions about job security. Workers have some reasons to be concerned. Artificial intelligence is capable of efficiently and inexpensively managing important tasks that require intense human commitment. The digital questionnaires that parlay consumer feedback into detailed product recommendations come first to mind. Still, I believe the most relevant consumer experiences, the ones that leave an imprint, involve the human touch. A retailer’s AI software might advise an online shopper to buy what will be the very best coat for his needs, but can it tell him how it looks? Regardless of how the sale is made, the shopper is likely to prefer that a real person be on hand during the transaction. Read more at Forbes.