In 2002 a movie “Simone” starred Rachel Roberts as a computer generate actress filling in for a real actress (Winona Rider) who was unable to complete a movie. Simone became a star and the movie is about her agent (Al Pacino’s) difficulties in avoiding revealing she didn’t exist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxVvWtIV6io
In 2013 a movie named “Her” is about a man who falls in love with his computer due to an intelligent computer operating systems with a female personality (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzV6mXIOVl4)
While these may be Hollywood fantasies (not to mention a little scary) the premise behind them is real based upon three technology trends that will impact all elements of business in the next 10 years:
- Artificial intelligence capabilities are rapidly emerging to be able to engage in real time interactions with people.
- Data platforms provide massive amounts of information to ensure the interactions are contextually real
- Video animation technology led by the gaming industry is rapidly emerging to make visual interactions real
When combined with other transformational trends such as Facebooks purchase recently of Occulus Rift virtual reality systems (https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101319050523971) and there is a foundational shift underway in many elements of business that will soon reach a critical tipping point.
All these trends together will accelerate the rise of Intelligent Business Associate (IBA) of the future.
An IBA is a highly personalized “bot” that will talk to you fluidly in text format (chat, email, social) or in voice to voice conversations or on video. Will know you well, “speak” to you in your language in a style you prefer, will know his/her subject better than anyone, will know everything you have ever done with the company, your preferences, what your friends on social media are up to and will never leave you.
The journey learning how to use these technologies, building the knowledge bases, data analytics teams to continuously optimize them and delivering engagement personalities which truly reflect your brand and even different personalities for different customer communities will be long, probably 3-5 years. That will coincide with the maturation of the technology.
Companies that are looking to own this IBA driven business model of the future are engaged today in learning about these capabilities especially in places where there is a fundamental difference possible today.
An early but powerful example of this which provides an easy and compelling option for businesses is in Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA’s) as a key component of their customer service and contact center operations.
IVA Technology is proven in airline and retail industries today (http://www.united.com/alex/Agent.aspx , (http://www.airasia.com/ask/), (Ask Anna http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/customer_service/splash.html) and now coming to other industries like banking (https://www.rbcadvicecentre.com/) and even media with the recent Canal Digital announcement (http://www.artificial-solutions.com/2009/canal-digital-norway-signs-a-three-years-cso-contract/).
IVA’s provide an excellent business case in service cost reduction, upsell and cross sell improvements and customer satisfaction uplift. An eve greater business case is to have a way to enter this new revolutionary trend in a self funding way. That doesn’t happen often.
Let the revolution begin