March 23, 2017

Is your business artificially intelligent?

In digital it's often noted that we will never experience a slower rate of change than this moment right now, and nothing illustrates this concept better than the acceleration of investment in Artificial Intelligence & Conversational Interfaces. 

A conversational interface, or 'Chat Bot', is a piece of software that uses a combination of Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and machine learning algorithms to have conversations with humans (and sometimes other chat bots!). That may sound a little abstract, but the majority of readers will be quite familiar with Siri - who is a voice powered chat bot that lives in your iPhone. 
 
As recently as 18 months ago chat bots were relatively rare, at least outside the Apple and Android voice assistants, but things have changed rapidly. Today the technology superpowers are all making aggressive plays for ownership of this space. Google and Amazon have released physical AI units for the home, and Facebook have released tools for developers that allow bots to be created quickly on their messenger platform. Closer to home we're currently working on 4 conversational interface projects with our partners and we're seeing activity & interest from brands across most verticals. 
 
This explosion of interest and investment in chat bots and AI technology stems partly from more widely available platforms and more robust language understanding tools, as well as better penetration in the marketing consciousness as to the opportunities that are presented. The fact that this field has the attention of innovators and creative technologists the world over will only serve to accelerate this further. 

So what is the potential here? We expect that a lot of the investment we'll see in the next 12 months will be tied to short term business benefits, such as customer service - bots have the potential to answer a huge volume of low level customer enquiries at scale, with perfect accuracy and at very low cost. Built in to this approach is the ability to escalate conversations to an actual customer services representative at any time freeing them up to focus on the high value conversations. But things really get interesting when we consider mining big data to derive patterns, and combing this with individual profiles and past behaviour to create personalised insights - overlaid by your marketing and business objectives.  Constantly evolving this behavioural module using machine learning will allow prediction of future behaviour. The potential for businesses to create value for the brand and the consumer in this way is virtually unlimited. 

We expect 2017 to be a very exciting year in this rapidly emerging space. We will continue to guide our partners to help them realise the potential of AI. To chat more about how this technology can be utilised to drive business growth or create efficiencies, please get in touch.

Related Video:
TED TALK: Don't fear superintelligent AI