A few years ago, the first result on Google for “AI” was Cleverbot.
The bot endeavored, as always, to convince me that it was human, as most of its conversational partners must have.
Cleverbot has been around since 1998 and has been learning from internet users ever since.
Now, years later, the chatbot still tries to convince its conversational partners on the topic of its humanity, all while more and more advanced artificial intelligence is changing the way marketing and business is conducted.
AI is primarily used by marketers to solve problems, but soon it will not only be behind marketing conversations but also the one creating and initiating conversations with consumers.
There have already been examples of consumer brands using AI to converse directly with their customers.
CoverGirl learned this, after implementing a chatbot that resulted in 1 in 3 users converting. That’s a pretty impressive number.
And Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant are powerful tools that are leading the way in conversational AI.
But what does the future hold for smaller companies that want to use AI to initiate conversations with their customers? Here is what is presently available.
CHATBOTS AS ONLINE RECEPTIONISTS AND CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS
There are many advantages to using AI to create better customer experiences. The technology is already widespread and will only get more common as time progresses.
AI never has to sleep, so when a potential customer arrives on your website at 2 am looking for a fix to the problem, keeping them up, something is there to greet them. That something is AI. Having a chatbot answer simple questions or get users in touch with a real person at a more realistic time will make your brand more approachable.
There are a ton of options, ranging from simple to complex. This is one of the most popular applications for chatbots, where nothing is required but simple answers to questions. They won’t fit in situations where the problems are very complex.
AI TO ACCESS AND ANALYZE DATA
Instead of the CEO always asking the sales guy for revenue numbers, AI makes it so the CEO asks a bot, which reads through the data and immediately gives him the answer he seeks.
This type of application is a lot of what AI will be doing in the future. It will work internally to give decision-makers the insights they need without having to bother someone else.
These “conversations” will, in turn, make decisions easier and faster to make for AI’s human counterparts. This agility helps businesses create better experiences for both themselves and their customers.
LOOKING FORWARD AT AI CONVERSATIONS
We are rapidly approaching the point where AI and humanity will increasingly rely on one another for daily life. And many warn that this technology poses a threat to society itself (not just human jobs).
But as of right now, the AI available to businesses and consumers is somewhat limited, relying on mostly functional, assistant-like functions.
What AI is missing in modern consumer technology is context; the layers of experience that make it so humans can appropriately react to one another and ask each other questions.
And while artificial intelligence beat the best players of Go, chess, and even Jeopardy, these represent computational victories, not contextual ones.
It is described as brute force intelligence, wherein the computer doesn’t play to win, it doesn’t have a purpose, it just wins on pure computational power. When AI can learn and absorb context, then it will enable it to have better conversations, because it theoretically will understand context.
Many fear AI and the fact that machines will be increasingly replacing humans at their jobs. But these fears are somewhat unfounded because our roles will simply shift because of AI. AI is augmenting and adding to the quality of our lives and marketing. They will make buying, selling, and creating better.