I suppose in time he will have some AI assistance with respect to which wines to promote, how consumer tastes are changing and so forth. Nevertheless, I believe his job is secure.
That sounds like Barnes & Noble saying people want to browse books in aisles or The Limited and Payless Shoes thinking that people want to try on before buying, or RadioShack that people need handholding to choose electronics or hobbyists want to drive and buy instead of waiting a couple days for delivery, etc., etc.
If a wine expert doesn’t embrace AI/Data Analytics then I believe he may not last 5 more years.
Already big chain stores heavily use Data Analytics to determine stocking items and levels, based on previous demand, seasonality, advertising campaigns being put in place, etc. This is already big, and is still growing, and available to smaller and smaller outfits.
If you’ve read/seen Moneyball, that baseball experience is indicative of what’s happening almost everywhere. It used to be that experienced baseball scouts would identify upcoming player talent. And they used basic stats as well as their experience to predict who would be great. But, it turns out that heavy data analytics was better than human scout impressions, and that enabled Oakland to perform well above their money tier. It also is what led to the Red Socks winning the World Series after 86 years.
Now, it’s true that today the Red Sox and Cubs are supplementing analytics with things like soft skills assessments (https://qz.com/798934/the-chicago-cubs-used-the-approach-of-… & https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2016/02/26/whats-on-dec… ). So while analytics won’t be the sole determination, if you’re not using it you’re going to be left behind.
Restaurants tend to have short lives. My guess is that more and more the people owning wine selling establishments will be younger, more tech savvy, and will expect to use analytics. Many will tend to not rely on some guy’s opinion. It may be that for less price sensitive establishments, having a person using analytics to inform decisions makes sense, but more and more we’ve seen that self-service access to data is more cost and time effective. The restaurant owner can go to a web portal when he/she wants, not necessarily during the day when the wine guy shows up. Wholesale sellers will want to eliminate this guy’s job to save his salary and benefit costs.
The world is changing and not too many jobs today are as secure as we think. The job I do today didn’t exist 15 years ago, and there are many companies that used to have a good business that got disrupted by the technologies I work within today. Heck, when I was born, software as a profession didn’t really exist except for a very limited set of people working for the government.