Drop the BS from AI: Four irrefutable facts about intelligent chatbots

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We are investing substantial time and effort to helping people better understand the hype around AI and conversational technologies such as chatbots and intelligent digital assistants. It can appear rather overwhelming. And we wouldn't blame you for feeling this way.

We are overwhelmed at times as well, by all the stories around AI-induced redundancies and fully automated and self-learning machines. It looks as if AI will change the world before we can even say “what?”. But we know better.

1. AI and machine learning are not the panacea to all problems

We have worked with AI technology (like Natural Language Processing and machine learning algorithms) for over a decade now. We are convinced it can do great things, and will be able to do even greater things in the future. But it will take some time and we have much to learn before we get there.

Progress has to be made, and will be made for sure. Just not through claiming ever-greater disruptive breakthroughs that are based on assumptions, rather than evidence. Progress will also not be made by seeing AI - and machine learning in particular - as the panacea to all problems. As our CTO says: “Why use statistics if we can apply math?”.

And that’s exactly right. Stop asking the machine to find the most probable answer if you know it with certainty yourself. Just provide the machine with the answer and instruct it to provide it when the question pops up.

In most cases, this will be a faster fix than asking the machine to learn the answer by comparing 100k+ inputs (Q’s) and outputs (A’s) to come up with the best estimate for the answer. This is specifically true since machine learning algorithms tend to make mistakes and therefor require human supervision.

2. Businesses should invest in relevance, not long tail understanding

Also, NLP/NLU has intent recognition rates of 85% to 95%, depending a bit on the width of the application and the time spent on improving it (which should be on the high end of the spectrum within a year). You can, of course, spend hundred thousands of dollars getting it to 99,8% or better. But should you?

In our experience, the return does not justify the investment. What does justify the investment, is making the answers more relevant to the customer/user by using context and personalisation.

Think of it - what is the reason your customer still makes a call after he’s read the airlines luggage policy? Right, he wants to know what that means to him as an occasional flyer with a last minute discounted ticket on a transatlantic flight. Better NLP/NLU will not provide him with the answer he’s looking for. A more personally relevant answer will.

And, of course, the threshold for your company could be at 96% or 84% intent recognition. The exact rate is not the point. The point is you should know when to apply other strategies to improve the customer’s experience and get their jobs done.

3. AI has reached the peak of inflated expectations

Gartner believes that AI has now passed the peak of inflated expectations.

That’s good news for all of us, but mostly for you. Because now you can start using AI, without the BS. And you can start using it to solve your problems and those of your customers, not the problem of a company that lacks experience in the field and has a ‘feeling close to certainty’ that conversational artificial intelligence will change the way the world spins.

4. We can help you make sense of it all

Thus, now is the time that we make some sense of it all and help you move forward. And this is why we asked Martin Hill-Wilson, a well known expert in the field of customer experience and digital service transformation, to help us better explain what can and should be done today, with existing AI-powered technology and proven strategies that deliver real results. Results such as improved customer experience, reduced costs and better conversion rates. Results that matter to a business.

With this in mind we're hosting a breakfast briefing masterclass on the topic, in collaboration with our partners at MyCustomer. The sessions will explore what's hype, what's fact, and examine how best-in-class businesses are delivering genuine ROI and customer value with their chatbot implementations - providing us with lessons we can apply to our own projects. 

To learn more and express your interest in the event click here

 

About Wim Rampen

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06th Nov 2017 22:30

This is great content! I love your writing.

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