The subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come up a lot lately. Some people fear it intensely. Some executives want it. Some IT and telecom managers want to understand how to deliver and manage it. And a thousand companies want you to believe they can deliver it.
When we drill into what AI means to these various people, one of two operating perspectives is usually at play.
The first perspective is gloom and doom. AI is coming to take your job. AI will be used to trick and con people. AI will gain awareness of itself and begin to act with its own survival and interests in mind, turning against human beings in the process. These fears are stoked in the media, in movies and television, and especially in our social media feeds.
The second perspective on AI says that the technology will enhance humanity, raise us a level up the evolutionary scale. AI will make smarter business decisions than us. AI and Machine Learning promise to improve customer experience infinitely, making interactions between customers and your business so natural that customers will prefer it to working with your human staff. This version of AI is served up to us in ads and the think pieces our bosses are clipping out of magazines and dropping on our desks when they say “get me some AI.”
The truth is, AI isn’t either of those things. Sure, AI and machine learning is already having a positive impact in customer interaction, bringing efficiencies and competitive advantage to those who insert it into the right places in their workflow. But AI is not the second coming. It can’t solve all the world’s problems. It is a burgeoning technology that still needs time to evolve.
AI you can actually buy
Understanding what AI is and how to take advantage of it as the modern business tool it is means understanding two things.
The first understanding is that AI is not a single thing. AI is not an individual technological instance. It is, instead, a stack of software programs and technologies used in different configurations. Properly combined, this stack of capabilities can automate workflows to either reduce the amount of expensive human labor involved, or increase productivity and efficiency beyond the capacity of your human employees. We’ll be posting more about this in our next blog entry, but the stack includes natural language processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning, object recognition, and so on. Well executed, these tools can create automated interactions that can look and feel like a natural, albeit augmented, experience.
The other important understanding about AI is to know the difference between the fact and fiction of AI. Rather than expect the technology to deliver false promises, it’s better to understand the realistic, ready-to-use AI applications that exist today, that you could apply to your business if you wanted to. Bots, robo-dialers, intelligent interactive voice response (IVR) systems, virtual contact-center agents, speech analytics (keyword detection and sentiment analysis, and AI-powered data analysis are all available if you know how to build a scope, find partners who specialize in delivering the AI stack and can properly manage an AI project. Which, by the way, we do ;-)
So what do you think? What do you want to know about AI? What do you want out of the technology? How do you see it used in your business?
Stay tuned for more posts on the subject of AI (we’re going to drill into the AI stack so we can all understand it better, and spend some time breaking down the different AI-powered solutions on the market).
If you’ve been contemplating the implementation of AI technology into your business, contact us at City Communications. We can help you make the right decisions to maximize your return on investment and explore new technologies for your contact center
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