AI can be applied in every type of business — from a virtual bar that can personalize drinks to NASA’s search for life on Jupiter’s Europa moon — and we are only just starting on the AI journey. However, before AI’s impact is fully realized, there are several ethical considerations and challenges to overcome. These were the primary messages throughout the sold-out AI Summit, hosted on December 5–6 in New York City, attracting hundreds of business leaders from a diverse range of industries, more than 120 speakers, and cutting-edge AI technology demonstrations.
IPsoft presented on AI’s impact on customer satisfaction
IPsoft’s presence at the AI Summit included a booth with demos of Amelia, the market-leading cognitive agent, as well as a presentation by Chief Cognitive Officer Edwin Van Bommel. The dozens of visitors to IPsoft’s booth were curious to learn about Amelia’s unique context-switching capabilities and pre-built content that differentiate her from a chatbot. Many attendees were considering customer-facing cognitive agent deployments, while other conversations covered how AI can be used to assist employees with productivity improvements through automation or finding information.
Edwin’s presentation focused on the need for AI to be human. He discussed how Amelia’s emotional intelligence and easy-to-use interface helps businesses improve customer loyalty and ultimately profit. He showed the latest, most-human Amelia avatar and her ability to respond based on the tone or severity of a query. Her ability to sense emotion and change her response to fit the situation is valuable in creating connections between customers and businesses.
Discussions around data accuracy, business outcomes and the impact on people dominated the conference
The critical dependency on accurate data: One of the themes that echoed throughout conference presentations was data: how to prepare it, how to ensure you have the right data, and more importantly the ethics of how it is used.
Inaccurate data is likely to cause insights, predictions and even cognitive agent responses to fail. Although cleaning and gathering data from siloed sources can be challenging, speakers also pointed out that waiting too long for data to be ready will lead to businesses falling behind their peers, creating additional problems down the line. As AI solutions evolve and learn, they will be trained with far less data. However, the quality of that data is imperative, especially as we think about the implications of inaccurate data when it comes to global crime, financial safety or medical diagnoses. Businesses must think about how they will prepare for the data transformation journey and gain a more holistic view. At the same time, consumers should consider which data they are willing to share about themselves with businesses.
Prioritizing business problems to solve: Many presenters detailed how businesses should focus on using AI to solve business problems rather than implementing an AI solution because it’s popular or to follow competitors. Whether that business problem is improving customer satisfaction, preventing queues forming at a check-in desk by adding an interactive kiosk, or streamlining HR processes, having an AI goal helps with measurement, learnings and future-proofing the business.
Relearning behaviors and adapting: As AI takes hold, we will all have to relearn behaviors and communication methods, just as we did with email, text messaging and social media. Some presenters talked about how businesses need to give employees early visibility into how new solutions will impact them, while gathering input on ways AI can be used to assist their work.
Although new technology is likely to impact many roles, predominantly in supply chain, manufacturing or agriculture industries, new jobs will also be created — and preparation is vital. Businesses investing in AI will need to continually improve and adapt, not just with new roles and employee training, but also technology as solutions become more advanced and the business environment changes. They should leverage subject matter expertise to ensure technology provides business value.
What was clear from the various presentations and networking sessions during the two-day event is that we are only at the beginning of the AI revolution, with many more exciting and innovative use cases sure to emerge as the deployment of intelligent cognitive technologies accelerates.
More information on the AI Summit can be found here.