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Artificial Intelligence Is All Grown Up

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is nothing new in the technology world. It’s been around for decades and as a concept in science fiction, possibly even longer. Arthur C. Clarke wrote the book ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘ in tandem with Stanley Kubrick developing the film adaptation in 1968(!). The term Artificial Intelligence was coined 22 years earlier by John McCarthy and only one year after Clarke’s book was released, Shakey was built. The first general-purpose mobile robot that could do things with a purpose, not just a list of basic instructions. With lots of conjecture and creativity, we’ve been taught to be wary or AI and its capabilities. But back at the dawn of man, we initially feared fire (or big black monoliths) until we learned how to harness it. Once we had a deeper understanding and knew to treat it with a sense of cautious reverence, it moved humanity several evolutionary steps forward. It’s starting to look as though AI will follow suit.

What we see in our heads when we think of AI may be far more complex than many iterations of the technology actually are. Limited memory AI sets can do things like give you a recommendation for a business based on your location data. Like most AI, the more information in the data set, the better the output. We see services like ChatGPT take off, but chatbot software has been evolving since as far back as 1994 when Michael Mauldin’s Verbot was in development. They also require a constant input of data and some continuous tuning and tweaking of the platform’s library of phrases and responses from apps, pop-ups and end user input. AI has long since grown out of its infancy thought; it has matured into adulthood but still needs some guidance. Bots have been available on Facebook since 2016 and have been adopted by banks, insurers, media companies, e-commerce solutions, airlines, utilities, retailers and even governments to help manage the questions and requests of the population at large. According to Salesforce, more than 84% of corporate marketing leaders employ AI as part of their digital strategy. 

Many enterprises are using AI in their call flows. This allows calls to their 1-800-GET-HELP line to be appropriately filtered so the right calls get sent to their 1-800-GET-LOST voicemail to prevent overloading human operators and drop spam calls and solicitation. Technologies we knew as IVR and ACD have become Interrupt Void Reject and Avoid Challenge Deflect. Once the chaff is gone from the wheat, advanced AI Marketing is a method to leverage customers and prospect data artificially to anticipate their coming wants and needs instead of being reactive to reporting and feedback. AI is not the least bit embarrassed about being blunt, abrupt and to the point or even aggravating us. But if it can keep tabs on consumer trends and needs, then it can make sure there is toilet paper on the shelves and that nobody is waiting for a pair of the hottest shoes in a limited edition seafoam green.

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