Some are fascinated by it, others are wary, but one thing’s for sure: most consumers are unaware that artificial intelligence (AI) is already playing a part in their everyday lives.
In a comprehensive survey carried out by Hubspot earlier this year, more than 1,400 consumers were asked about their views on AI. A huge 86% of respondents stated that they were interested in interacting with artificial intelligence, and an equally impressive percentage (63%) didn’t realise they are already using AI technology.
Let’s meet Tom and Hannah. Both in their mid-30s, living in a leafy London suburb; Tom works for a tech start-up in the city, and Hannah as a local GP. The recently married couple are expecting their first child, and are making the most of life before the new arrival.
As expected, due to his line of work, Tom lives and breathes new technology. When Apple release their latest product, you can be sure to find Tom in the queue. What about AI technology? Sure, it fascinates him; he has tried out a few innovations and he’s the ‘bot guy’ in the office.
Hannah on the other hand, appreciates technology as long as it makes her life easier, helps her keep in touch with friends and family, and is as uncomplicated as possible. And AI? She would rather deal with real people than all that robot nonsense.
Little do they know, between them on an average working day, Tom and Hannah interact with AI far more than they realise.
First there’s Alexa, Tom’s birthday present, which informs Hannah that her walk to work won’t require an umbrella today. ‘How is my commute?’ asks Tom; Alexa lets him know his train is on time.
Use of Amazon’s Alexa, and similar search assistants such as Siri and Cortana, are on the rise. Powered by natural language processing and speech recognition, it is expected that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be carried out by voice.
Later, taking advantage of a no-show appointment, Hannah grabs a bite to eat, and decides to research prams online. ‘Can I help you?’ asks ‘Hattie’ in a familiar chat box that pops up as she’s browsing. Five minutes later, Hannah has narrowed her search down to three buggies that she will show to Tom later that evening.
Meanwhile, it’s Tom turn to arrange the monthly team lunch. It only takes a minute, and he’s booked a table at Pizza Express using Facebook messaging.
Without realising it, they had both been speaking to a ‘chatbot’: a natural language processing solution, rather than a human. That’s because both tasks were quick, easy, and efficient. In Hubspot’s study, almost half (47%) of respondents are open to buying items from a chatbot.
Filled with pizza, Tom’s team are having a sluggish afternoon. Using Slack, he sends the team a motivational GIF, but all he gets is a few sniggers. So, he decides to create a SlackBot reminder so that the team are notified at 4pm every day to get up from their desk, stretch, then sit down and be more productive. It seems to do the trick.
Before Hannah logs off for the day, she checks her emails, one last time. Noticing the ‘Clutter’ inbox, she clicks on it. It’s filled with emails from clothing brands she used to shop at before she was pregnant, but they don’t have a maternity section so she has no interest in reading them. ‘Good job Outlook’, she thinks.
This is machine learning; Hannah’s Outlook has learnt over time which emails she will be most interested in opening, and which are simply just clogging up her inbox.
The couple are home from their day’s work; dinner has been cooked and eaten so they decide to unwind with a TV series. Loading up Netflix, they are presented with recommended shows based on previous series and films they have watched – it only takes a couple of minutes for Tom to select their new addiction. Again, this is thanks to a clever machine learning algorithm.
Introducing artificial intelligence into your businesses isn’t about gimmicks or mind-blowing innovations. It’s about doing little things, to make your consumers’ everyday lives a little easier so that they have a more positive and personal experience with your brand.
Consumers are not afraid, and you shouldn’t be either.
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