We are currently on the cusp of one of the most disruptive technologies landing since the birth of the world wide web. That technology is AI. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which is essentially the development of computer systems to fulfil roles where a human is typically needed to complete the task.From image recognition to making complex decisions with multiple variables the limits of AI (theoretically) are limitless. If we as humans can do it, then certainly at some point AI will be able to engage with that specific task or problem.
Computers currently work in very linear paths, providing ‘simple’ solutions to multiple a user’s effectiveness. As AI grows in complexity and power, we are likely to see brands leverage the technology intending to enhance customer experience, replace employees and drive efficiencies within a business to provide a competitive edge. When dealing with banks, retailers or even government organisations, it’s likely many of these ‘brand’ interactions will initially (at least) be with AI.
While we’re still in relatively early days for AI, the talking bot is becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives. Most smartphones have a voice assistant allowing users to search the web, make bookings and open up applications. With Amazon’s use of Alexa, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable in employing these technologies. As competitors employ AI and users become more open to the tech, brands cannot afford to be left behind. Trust is key to the success of AI implementation, it has to work, it’s crucial not to overstretch the capabilities of the tool. Additionally, just like human employees AI can have a personality, consider how the AI needs to be perceived by the user – should it have a fun personality or does it need to be like talking to your bank manager. These two points are critical, should the system not work, customers will become frustrated and want to refer to traditional channels or move away from your business entirely. Secondly, if the personality is incorrect, this may engender distrust or boredom in users, again resulting in lost revenue.
However, there’s no super version of AI available to brands just yet. Just like their traditional computer counterparts, AI works very well with linear tasks, take Poncho, Facebook’s weather ‘ cat’, he’s great for telling a user the weather anywhere in the world, but he can quickly become confused if a user tries to expand the topic of discussion. But be warned, it is coming and sooner than you think. Still bear in mind that at some point, customers will still require and want human interaction, for the near term at least, so think carefully about how AI can help you or your customers within the realms of its capability.