The Rise of Chatbots – What we learned from the AI World Conference & Expo
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of business technology. When we say that, we don’t mean that the walking, talking robots you see in the movies will be the future of business tech (well, they might be eventually). What we mean is that the ways intelligent machines can be used to help companies analyze data, steamline processes, and interact with customers are the future. And this isn’t something that is going to happen down the road, it’s something that’s already happening now.
Last week, we visited the AI World Conference & Expo in San Francisco, CA to see what trends were driving the industry what direction it was heading in. The expo was attended by several business leaders and companies pioneering the enterprise AI world.
We spoke with some of these companies and asked them about their solutions, the industry as a whole, and where they saw it going. We also asked about the role of speech technology and how it will be utilized by AI solution providers. Here are some of the highlights from our time at the expo.
Natural Language Processing is a driving force
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is what enables a machine to analyze, understand, and generate natural language. NLP is what makes human-to-computer interactions feel like human-to-human interactions. It allows us to converse and communicate with computers as if they were another person. For this reason, it’s no surprise that NLP was prevalent at the AI World Conference & Expo.
To get caught up with everything you need to know about NLP, read our post on What is Natural Language Processing and How Does it Work?
The last 20 years have introduced most of us to two of the most well-known parts of NLP, text-to-speech and speech recognition. Speech recognition is the processes of turning spoken speech into text, and text-to-speech allows a computer to convert text into audible speech, giving it a voice.
NLP encompasses those technologies, and everything in between. After converting speech into text, NLP systems use natural language understanding to provide meaning to what you said, which is vital because once it understands what you said, it will know how to respond to you.
One such company showing off NLP features was Artificial Solutions, a leading specialist in what they call Natural Language Interaction (NLI).
Artificial Solutions sells their technology, or more specifically their NLI solutions, to other businesses looking to incorporate NLI features into their own products. When we asked who their typical customers are, they responded, “everybody”.
They said Artificial Solutions has a horizontal business model, which means that instead of going deep in one specific industry, they optimize their solutions to work with any product in any industry. Their solutions are currently being used by smart websites, embedded devices, cars, wearables, and even home appliances.
While NLP is a very advanced technology, we learned from Artificial Solutions that they’re focusing on making these intelligent systems smaller and cheaper so that they could be used in any device or application.
Here’s an example of an intelligent virtual assistant powered by Artificial Solution’s NLI technology:
Chatbots are making an impact
We saw quite a few companies showcasing their NLP technologies at the expo, and the most common way we saw AI and NLP used by companies at the AI World Conference & Expo was through chatbots.
A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate a conversation with humans. As you could probably guess, people usually interact with chatbots via a chat interface.
We spoke to a few companies providing chatbot solutions, including Kore. Kore provides a “Platform-as-a-solution” service that gives developers the foundation to build their own chatbots.
And what have Kore’s customers built chatbots for? They’ve had customers build chatbots to be sales reps, banking assistants, and even as internal assistants that help employees complete mundane tasks, such as finding files and summarizing reports.
This shows the versatility of chatbots. They can be used for just about anything. By harnessing the power of NLP, chatbots are able to complete tasks for internal employees or for customers without any human input. The chatbot takes care of all the work. Here’s an example of Kore’s chatbot:
WorkFusion was another company offering chatbot solutions. We spoke with them about the benefits of using chatbots for customer service.
They mentioned that many customer service requests are the same and the process to address them are simple, yet time consuming. Customer service agents then spend most of their time completing the same task over and over again.
This is where chatbots can help. Businesses that use WorkFusion’s chatbot platform can train their chatbots to understand how to resolve common issues. This allows human representatives to put more of their focus on customer service requests that can’t be automated.
This has led to increased satisfaction for both customers and their customer service agents.
So what did we learn?
If there was one big takeaway from this expo, it was that any company, device, or application can use AI. This isn’t something that only the big tech companies can use. We saw that providers of these solutions were making them simple enough and cheap enough to be used by anyone.
This is especially true when it comes to speech technology. Several of the companies we saw were using AI and speech technology to improve experiences for their employees and their customers. The applications were truly endless.
At NeoSpeech, we’ve seen our voices put to work more and more in conversational products. AI helps computers understand the information around it, and our customers use our text-to-speech solutions to give it a human-like voice to communicate back.
In fact, many of the products we looked at, including Artificial Solution’s NLI technology, can be incorporated with our own text-to-speech voices!
Wrapping up, we’d say that regardless of what industry you’re in or what product you sell, it’s time to start thinking about how you can use AI and speech technology to make it even better. If you’re not doing that now, we can assure you that someone else in your industry is.
What do you think?
Did you attend the AI World Conference & Expo? What were your impressions? What do you think the future holds for AI and speech technology? Let us know in the comments!
Learn More about NeoSpeech’s Text-to-Speech
Learn more about the endless applications of text-to-speech on our Text-to-Speech Areas of Application page. If you’re interested in learning about how you can use text-to-speech in your product, visit our Text-to-Speech Products page.
If you’re interested in adding Text-to-Speech software to your application or would like to learn more about TTS, please fill out our Sales Inquiry form and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.