Does AI have the potential to make enterprises more agile and solve real-life problems?
By Peter Quinlan
Despite the many dystopian predictions that AI will replace humans, organisations are finding that AI is best applied as a complement to the traditional workforce, integrated into processes and a network of human talent.
Finding the right fit for AI
Companies today have an unprecedented amount of valuable customer and employee data—information that can be made available to any device, anywhere. Many see AI as a solution to harness and monetise all this information, but advances in automation and machine learning will only help humans to better leverage data to make more timely decisions, better aligned with the needs of their business.
This approach to AI, wherein machines enable people to work in more efficient, meaningful ways, is known as Intelligence Augmentation, or IA. A Gartner report identified that the greatest business value AI will provide in the coming years is decision making support, not process automation. The report further projected that IA will drive net job growth, generating an estimated $2.9 trillion in business value and recovering 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity in 2021.
Some key industries are already seeing the benefit of human-AI collaboration. Global contact centres are using Natural Language Processing (NLP), to listen to and identify patterns in interactions. Insights generated by applying NLP to large volumes of calls, analysed with machine learning, can be used to generate successful scripts, training materials, and real-time assistance for agents. In this way, AI is able to make the organisation’s collective depth of insight and emotional intelligence, gleaned from huge volumes of experience from their best—and worst—agents, available to every agent on every customer interaction.
In the customer services space, AI can help to make interactions more human. AI can also structure interactions to maximise the customer’s convenience, as agents equipped with tailored information on an individual’s needs can reach out proactively in ways that fit the customers’ schedule and preferences.
AI can be applied in similar ways to day-to-day business communications in global organisations with connected, mobile workforces. NLP and AI can already improve efficiency by transcribing meetings, making recordings indexable and searchable, and generating meeting minutes and action lists. But given the global nature of business, conferences calls often require advance knowledge of diverse customs, sensitivities and, potentially an understanding of foreign languages. AI can also be used to generate profiles of meeting participants and to refine talking points based on publicly available information. In the meeting itself, NLP could be used to process multiple languages and translate in real time, adding suggested nuances or context to points made.
The above examples could be applied to any industry. We have not even begun to talk about the application of AI in specific contexts of vertical industries or leveraging AI and myriad data generated by IoT to enhance human capabilities. That may be a topic for another day, but in the meantime, one thing is clear: AI represents a tremendous opportunity to magnify the impact of the organisation’s collective human capabilities and knowledge to differentiate, hone competitive advantage, and transform customer and employee experience.
The writer is VP of Business Collaboration, Tata Communications