How Conversational AI Is Transforming the Customer Journey
A discussion about chatbots with experts in the field
How is conversational AI transforming the customer journey? Mike Reiner held a panel at World Summit AI discussing the topic with four experts working on startups that are shaping the future of the way humans interact with chatbots.
The panel discussions ranged from current business applications of the technology, to what we can expect from chatbots in the future. While the proliferation of such technology with consumers and businesses is increasing, there’s a recurrent question: is conversational AI as advanced as we think?
The current state of conversational AI
For now, chatbots have limited capabilities: even Siri is very task-directed and is incapable of understanding abstract concepts. Philipp Heltweig, CEO of Cognigy, remarked that we need to forget the infantile idea of using chatbots for any purpose and rather approach them as a tool for a specific purpose. Interacting with a chatbot is useful when being addressed for a simple task: changing a hotel reservation, booking a flight ticket, ordering food and so on. For now, we can’t just approach a chatbot as we were having a conversation with any other person.
Not being able to speak naturally to a chatbot is a problem that startups like Poly AI are trying to solve. That’s why they are coming up with the next generation of chatbots: they will be much more flexible in terms of conversational inputs and helpful when responding. Nikola Mrkšić, CEO of Poly AI, told us that the ultimate conversational agent is not here yet and will not be here anytime soon, but the company is pushing hard to create an experience that will allow humans to speak naturally.
The future of conversational AI
As in right now, a few B2B startup companies are dedicated to integrating chatbots for businesses. These chatbots normally prove to be successful at providing customer support or boosting sales. Two startup CEOs: Mikael and Asa, were asked what excited them the most about the future of AI. They both agreed that chatbots capable of understanding human emotions would be truly a game-changer.
Mikael da Costa, CEO and founder of Leadoo — a conversational agent that turns web traffic into leads — told us that even though his startup does a superb job at converting leads, understanding human psychology would pump up the conversion numbers. Humans sometimes do a fairly poor job at transcribing feelings and thoughts into words — a chatbot that scans emotions would help on that.
Some startups are working on capturing human facial expressions and transforming these into biometric data. In this way, the software can see if a user has high pulsations by scanning a face. Brainworks.ai is developing an app that is attempting to do this directly through the user’s smartphone.
Once the ultimate chatbot appears, it will be a game-changer. At that point building chatbots will be democratized, and that’s when the Wix or the Squarespace of chatbots will appear. For now, we have to stick to chatbots for businesses solving task-based problems before the average consumer can build its own.