Coming: More Chats with AI, Anytime, Anywhere


Organizations are turning to conversational AI to meet communication demands, with the adoption of chatbots and conversational interfaces reaching an unprecedented scale.

Yes, it’s time to get comfortable speaking with machines. Conversation – whether it’s with customers, or between employees – is a very informal process, but thanks to AI, we may be able to better capture the essence of these discussions.

That’s the word from a report out of Accenture, which notes that conversation is “also a complex construct. Even the simplest interaction has layers of richness and nuance—it takes effort and understanding to get conversation right.” Add the challenge of 24×7 interactions in the digital economy, and things can really get complex.

Enter conversational AI, which can engage customers on a massive scale, if necessary, as well as digitally document the core of conversations. This is a growing market, Accenture reports, estimated at $14 billion globally last year, and expected to grow at a rate of 22% annually.

“A chatbot that interacts with millions of customers could have far more impact on their brand perception than a conversation with the company CEO,” the Accenture team of co-authors, led by Grace Hughes, state. “Conversational AI powers make-or-break moments that should not be designed and implemented solely with a technological focus. Conversational AI demands a far more nuanced approach, including a multifaceted lens for identifying appropriate affordances, incorporating the human touch, and navigating a growing list of security, ethical and moral tensions.”

An Accenture survey shows that more than three-quarters (77%) of CEOs have indicated they will fundamentally change the way they engage and interact with customers. Organizations are turning to conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to meet communication demands, with the adoption of chatbots and conversational interfaces reaching an unprecedented scale. In fact, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations across industries scrambled to set up chatbots and other conversational AI solutions to handle the spike in call volume. At least 61% of leading companies say their customers’ expectations are shaped by the most relevant, real-time, and dynamic experiences they encounter across all industries.

Conversational AI provides the following advantages:

Availability: “The opportunity to interact with AI systems any time of day or night is a key advantage.

Asynchronicity: “A conversation is stretched over many days. Machines are much better at such conversations, as they can more consistently retain the context and state of the conversation.”

Consistency and efficiency: “AI-enabled conversational assistants aren’t just getting customers basic info they need; behind the scenes, they’re also feeding human agents intelligent data and analysis to deliver better, faster outcomes without customers ever being aware.”

Objectivity: “Machines have an absence of emotion and moral judgment that provides a distinct advantage in some situations. In scenarios where the subject is sensitive, interactions with AI can afford a degree of anonymity that some customers welcome.”

Pattern recognition: “AI can support regulatory compliance by detecting patterns and anomalies across vast swaths of data.”

Conversation without words: “The power of AI creates new possibilities for interactions that simply aren’t possible with
human-human communication. It allows humans to converse in natural language with machines, AI assistants and services, and other people without opening their mouths and without externally observable movements. They communicate simply by articulating words internally.”


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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