For several years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been burrowing its way into our cultural practices and paradigms across areas like medicine, manufacturing, engineering, entertainment, education — and the list goes on.
Yet for many people, their most frequent touch point with AI is not related to what they do or use: it is reflected in how they converse both formally and informally. According to CEO, entrepreneur, branding guru, and leadership consultant Chet Harding, here are the key ways that AI is changing how, why, where, and even when we communicate.
- Eliminating Barriers of Time and Space
Tools like e-mail, SMS, and even the web itself all contribute to overcoming barriers of time and space. However, AI-driven technologies are establishing a new normal for remote communication that is not just on par with face-to-face engagements, but in some respects superior. For example, solutions like Facebook Workplace and Slack are leveraging AI to improve remote working efficiency in ways that cannot be replicated offline, which is why many in-house employees are using it at their desk. “These solutions are not merely databases or repositories, or systems that respond to commands” says Chet Harding. “They are intuitive and proactive, and detect what a worker needs before they need it. They are not just making work more efficient, they are making it more intelligent.”
- Turning Appliances into Allies
The rise of IoT (Internet of Things) means that appliances and machines like dishwashers, refrigerators, cars, exercise equipment, HVAC systems, and so on — are no longer characterized by functions and features: they proactively and intelligently communicate with their owners and users, as well as back-end manufacturers and service personnel to boost performance and avoid problems. Adds Chet Harding: “For example, on a consumer level, IoT-enabled refrigerators have the capacity to detect when the milk is running low or about to expire, order it at the best price, and either have it delivered or waiting for quick, payment-free pick-up. And on a commercial level, some property management firms are integrating IoT-driven HVAC systems that intelligently point technicians in the right direction based on real-time data analysis that was impossible in the past.”
- Customer Service Gets a Bot Boost
While chat-bots are still in their relative infancy — and frankly, some are still trying to shake off their Jeston’s-like rigidity — it is just a matter of time before customer service is not just enabled by AI but driven by it. The idea is not to completely replace human customer service agents with chat bots, but to liberate them from handling administrative and clerical tasks, so they can focus on escalated issues and provide enhanced value. Everyone wins when that happens, from customers to employees to employers.
Looking Ahead Like technologies that have come before (remember, the good ol’ railroad was once an astonishing game-changer), AI is not a panacea that will solve all problems; in fact, we can be certain it will create its fair share of challenges. However, this much is certain: the AI hype, while sometimes a little hard to take, is essentially warranted. It has and will change how we communicate, and in the big picture, how we experience life itself — in ways that we can imagine and, indeed, in ways that we cannot.