Smooth-talking AI assistants all set to dazzle you soon
They will understand your emotions, who you are and what you want
I once took my foreign client to a local handicraft store in Hyderabad. The sales guy charmed my guest into buying a Kashmiri carpet, which was expensive and unwieldy. To this day, I am not sure if the buyer ever opened that rolled-up package lying in his storage. That's the power of a smooth-talking carpet salesman who appealed to the client's buying instincts. One can never imagine this happening when a chatbot greets you as you visit an e-commerce site. There is indeed something to be said about the shopping experience in the physical world lacking online.
All that is about to change as the next wave of voice assistants will hit the market. The endeavour is to have smooth-talking AI assistants that can do the following:
1. Understand emotion
Assistants could leverage technology to understand how we feel when we speak to them and offer help or tailor responses to be sympathetic.
2. Understand who you are
They will use the latest technologies to 'understand' us better and use this information to modulate the way they speak to us.
3. Understand what you want
The system will be proficient in doing things in the real world in response to human speech. An example would be saying 'good morning', and your assistant ordering you your favourite breakfast to arrive at work, providing you with a morning briefing, and letting you know that your Uber to work will be outside soon.
4. Get anything done for you
Most of these modern assistants will go far beyond simple question and answer and assist on a lot of other things. Voice assistants are expected to improve in many other ways. A new area within AI called computational creativity is forging away algorithms that can tell jokes, paint artwork and even write music. The idea is to have intelligent bots show emotions and seem like they can think on their own.
In the future, there may not even be a specific smart speaker like Amazon's Alexa. Still, in a few years, we will reach a place where devices like microwave ovens, televisions and refrigerators will be able to understand our voice instructions and talk back to us. If you apply these more ingenious ways to business situations, one can easily imagine a personal shopper bot help in greeting and guiding your customers. They will feel their visit is acknowledged. It leads them to move further and start browsing.
Conversational commerce is e-commerce enabled by everyday AI solutions like chatbots and voice assistants. It stimulates the in-store experience provided by sales assistants, allowing businesses to minimize cart abandonment and boost sales conversion rates. Voice-enabled assistants have come to stay in our world. However, we are still dabbling with the phase-1 of this technology with Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant and Cortana from Microsoft. The next wave of these AI-enabled assistants is getting ready to come at you in ways and forms that will dazzle you with their slick moves.
(The author is Chairman and CEO of Hyderabad-based Brightcom Group)