“The AI world is coming like a steam train,” Google’s UK head of performance Biren Kalaria said at Retail Week Live this morning.

In a session co-hosted by Yext co-founder and chief executive Howard Lerman, Kalaria said: “In the next decade we will move fundamentally to an AI-first world.

“This is coming like a steam train and it is happening very, very quickly. We think machine learning will transform every business. We all need to get our heads around it.”

He gave the example of Ocado, which is using machine learning to triage 2,000 emails every day in its customer services department.

He added: “In this age of amazing, incredible transformation, it is super, super important that you remain relevant.”

Lerman told delegates: “Your website used to be centrepiece of your digital world.”

He added that a proliferation of intelligent digital services meant that this was no longer the case and added that retailers needed to “think globally”.

He said: “This explosion of intelligent services is not a Western phenomenon. This is happening all across the world.”

One example is the Chinese take on the Amazon Alexa technology, the Ling Long Ding Dong.