Chatbots and AI-driven customer communication are commonplace by now, but it hasn’t always been like this. It took a few decades for AI to reach its current capacities.
Recent developments are more than promising and today, chatbots and AI are on the rise in an attempt to simplify customer communication dramatically.
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Let’s take a look at the stepping-stones of AI in the past, assess what it’s good at right now, and finally take a peek into the future for even more exciting things to come.
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A brief history of AI-driven customer communication
Everything started with an article by Alan Turing called “Computer Machinery and Intelligence”. It followed the basic idea of the possibility of artificial intelligence and if computers could ever be on par with humans. Named after Turing himself, a test was developed that rates the intelligence of a machine.
Eliza (1966): This is the name of the first chatbot ever created. It was able to have simple conversations and answer according to scripted events. Holding up mimicking a human for short amounts of time.
Parry (1972): While Eliza was modelled after a therapist, Parry was quite different. His personality was matched to a person with paranoid schizophrenia. Yet, he was able to follow a conversational strategy.
Jabberwacky (1988): Developed in the 80ies and put online in 1997, Jabberwacky can simulate human conversations and interact with his unique personality.
Dr. Sbaitso (1992): An AI-based voice program that used a digitalized voice. Reflected the persona of a psychologist once again, but never felt very real.
Alice (1995): The Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity was a bot that utilised NLP frameworks. Enabling it to use heuristic short cuts and engage with human inputs to have an ongoing conversation.
IBM’s Watson (2006): Watson was developed to take the crown at Jeopardy. Competing against two former champs he was able to win. By using NLP and Machine Learning he could use insights from big data sets to its advantage over the human competitors.
Siri (2010): An artificial intelligence with a cheeky personality that can answer questions and interact with online services. The role model for all modern chatbots and voice assistants.
Google Now (2012): Developed by Google, it’s able to understand natural language and react to tasks by using web services.
Alexa (2015): Amazon’s voice service that uses NLP and data algorithms to understand and act upon voice commands.
Cortana (2015): This is Microsoft’s version of a voice assistant. Cortana can react to voice commands and use Bing to search for user queries.
The current state of AI and Chatbots for customer communication
AI-driven customer communication is used to massively upgrade customer interactions.
Looking at the customer service that most brands are offering today, there is still a lot to be desired. Customers get frustrated easily because of long waiting times, inadequate processes, and a lack of easily accessible information.
Brands that want to go beyond these service limitations use chatbots to create better experiences for their customers. This is how they can apply technology to improve their customer relations and retention.
The last two years have seen an explosion of chatbots, especially internally. As many businesses are becoming aware of the huge potentials chatbots are offering for internal applications and processes. From booking to IT, chatbot solutions support employees and can help with accessing information more effectively.
For now, it has been mainly larger corporations that were using AI-driven chatbots in customer communication, but it is quickly becoming a mainstream feature for smaller businesses too.
The future of AI-based customer communication and chatbots
While the underlying technology for chatbots and AI is growing, many new use cases are coming up as well. Especially the never-ending data input is a perfect way for AI to get smarter.
The automation of customer service is moving at a rapid pace and chatbots can solve even more complex problems. They can create personalized experiences for customers and help them with individualized offers.
AI is getting better with every input at understanding human voices and speech while developing the capacities to understand fine nuances and moods as well. Businesses will need to accept these new functionalities and integrate them into their internal and external processes.
AI and bots are going to be found in all areas of human life, far beyond voice and text only. At some point, they’ll reach the technological singularity. An event where computers learn to improve themselves through their own intelligence for the first time. After this event the options are limitless.
The path to this stage in artificial intelligence is definitely not going to be easy, but opening up to the brilliant potentials of chatbots today is your success of tomorrow.