In order to delight the customers of today, marketers have to show they are listening and responding to their customers. It can’t be said enough: customers expect a personalized shopping experience. How brands communicate with their customers plays a big part in creating the personalized experience. When a company or brand is able to speak directly to a customer at the most relevant moment, it helps to facilitate the loyalty loop that has replaced the traditional customer journey. In order to carry these individual conversations at scale, marketers will need access to pretty powerful computer processing: Artificial Intelligence. This is where artificial intelligence will have a significant role in creating personalized customer interactions.
The race to create Artificial Intelligence
AI has been making headlines in recent months. The biggest names in tech have been racing to be the first to give away, teach, and show off their AI technology. Google was the first to open it’s AI engine TensorFlow to the public in November 2015; Facebook, Yahoo, Baidu, and Microsoft quickly followed suit. By open sourcing their artificial intelligence platforms, these tech giants are looking to make machine learning more accessible, expose their machines to learning new information, and push the world more firmly into the realm where computers will take over making smart decisions. The first platforms to get widespread adoption are probably aiming to become the new standard for AI. And when AI becomes a vital part of every aspect of human living and decision making, that’s a big win for whoever’s AI platform first gained widespread adoption.
The rise of AI isn’t the end for humans
Although AI is now more accessible to engineers than ever, this doesn’t mean that 2016 is the year that robots rise up and take over. There is still a long way to go before machine decision making is indistinguishable from humans. In fact, engineers are currently more interested in creating AI that can process information or learn to do specific tasks more efficiently, rather than the frightening self-aware systems depicted in movies. As computers learn to apply knowledge in a way more similar to human intelligence, humans and computers will be able collaborate in making smarter decisions that lead to better results.
That’s why the recent news about Google’s Alpha-Go beating a human champion go player was such a big deal. The game of go has hundreds of possible moves at every turn, and good players pride themselves in creating and defending territories in a creative manner in order to win. Alpha-Go had to process hundreds of possible permutations and then consider moves learned from previous games that would apply for that particular game. This kind of AI is much closer to the way humans learn to play go than the way Deep Blue was programmed to play chess. Alpha-Go’s recent victory demonstrates that AI capabilities are getting closer to the sophisticated interactions that is currently only possible for human intelligence. This kind of advancement in AI will make it more possible for humans and AI to tackle complex tasks together more effectively.
Beating humans at go is the latest achievement of AI
AI will facilitate real conversations
Alpha-Go taught itself how to play via machine learning, where the computer teaches itself rather than being explicitly programmed. This branch of artificial intelligence learns to extract data from previous experiences and apply it to new events. Machine learning can also be applied to learn when and exactly what a customer wants to buy. Artificial Intelligence can then use information about previous customer interactions and apply them to interact with new customers. Because AI learns and gathers information from every interaction and applies it to new events, the conversations will continue to evolve to fit each unique context and customer.
Marketers will no longer have to struggle to keep up with customer expectations for relevance and personalized interactions. When marketers leverage the power of AI, two-way conversations between customers and brands will finally be possible.