“We’re evolving from a Mobile-first world to an AI-first world”, which means that the way we interact with computers and technology is about to change yet again.
We’re moving gradually into a world where communication between humans and computers will be dominated by voice commands, thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP). In the near future, we’ll have a virtual assistant for almost anything (to book a flight, to read the news, to set an alarm, to browse the web, to send an email, etc). Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants have built the foundation for that shift to happen. And the democratization/mass adoption is happening right now.
Users are starting to expect businesses to have some sort of virtual assistant that can help with whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish.
According to Technalysis Research, 56% of U.S. households own and use a smart speaker. In 2017, HubSpot published a research which states that 57% of consumers are interested in chatbots for their instantaneity.
Businesses have a lot to gain from implementing AI/Machine Learning solutions for their customers. 45.8% of consumers would rather communicate with a business through a messaging app than email. (ubisend, 2016).
Chatbots could save businesses up to $8 billion per year across industries. (Juniper Research, 2017).
As a technologist, entrepreneur, and developer, I have already made the shift.
- As a user, I use Google Assistant/Home on a daily basis. It helps me set a reminder for an important phone call, check for flight tickets, or send an email to a friend on my behalf.
- As a technologist, I educate myself on business applications of chatbots and conversational apps (in Customer Service, Marketing & Sales, HR, IT, etc.)
- As a developer, I recently worked on a feature that extends my crime reporting application by integrating a virtual assistant that can submit new tips to law enforcement on my behalf, show me recent crimes in my neighborhood, put me in contact with my local law enforcement, geolocate myself; all of this through voice commands or simple chat.