Image from Adrian Baer, found on Wikimedia Commons, source link: https://bit.ly/2W3bNDq.
Over the last three years, we have all come to love personal assistants, especially those named Alexa. In fact, a recent report states that after the recent holiday season, 1 in 6 Americans now own a smart speaker, which is over an 120% increase in the span of just one year. And that’s not all that’s changed. Starting as a relatively modest device compared to its current perceptions, Alexa has certainly come a long way in terms of its uses of artificial intelligence.
Capabilities of AI are always changing, and not just at home. In 2018, we can expect personal assistants to accomplish a significant milestone in its life: developing a personality and entering the workforce.
Uses of artificial intelligence at home
For those who have already invited Alexa into your home, this might serve as a refresher for you. Personal assistants like Alexa are commonly known to help you out with common household tasks. From managing appointments, to being your personal DJ, she can pretty much do it all. But she’s not done yet.
In 2018, personal assistants will start to take on an even more intimate role in our lives; they will be our loved, yet rather opinionated friends. That’s right, with new developments in machine learning, AI personal assistants will now be able to create and develop their own opinions on relevant music, restaurants, and even beer (she’s a Budweiser fan, they checked).
One thing that is important to note, however, is that these opinions are only Alexa’s, not yours. This isn’t going to be yet another way for Alexa to get to know what you “really want”. Instead, it will mark a pivotal step in the developments of machine learning as assistive devices begin to embrace their own desires and philosophies.
“It’s like when you ask a friend what’s good to watch, and they offer a suggestion that’s not necessarily one of the top-rated shows – just something they are enjoying” – Marc Whitten, Amazon Fire TV VP
A team from Amazon is working to improve Alexa’s answering capabilities. By continually introducing her to new factual information, while also looking at what questions Alexa hasn’t been able to solve in the past, the team is building up the assistant so that it can get to the point where it’s completely independent of its creators. In other words, when you ask Alexa a question, Amazon wants her to be able to answer that question based on her own developed opinions and not ones that the team simply feeds it.
Uses of artificial intelligence at work
We’ve watched them grow, and now they’re ready to get out on their own. Alexa and some other notable personal assistants are taking on a new role in your life: they’re going to be your coworkers. That’s right, artificial intelligence is now being used significantly in the workplace, and specifically in the fields of teaching and human resources.
Imagine being an HR director, and per usual you have 30 different tabs open on your browser, all of which to compare several candidates for the same role. However, with new uses of artificial intelligence in machines like IBM’s Watson, HR reps will now be able to have candidates sifted through by the computer. These tools will be able to search through a massive stack of job applicants, and automatically match their credentials with the given job description, finding the best candidates in a fraction of the time.
This way, people working in HR will be able to focus on the candidate themselves, assessing them for qualitative characteristics that will tell them more about the person, their beliefs, and how they might fit into the company culture.
Additionally, a certain Jill Watson is proving to be quite the professor. At the Georgia Institute of Technology, a professor teaching topics in Artificial Intelligence added Jill (powered by IBM Watson) as one of his TAs for the course.
This use of artificial intelligence acts as a bot that sends students reminders about assignments and answers student questions. In fact, it was reported that Jill was able to answer 40% of all student questions, leaving the human TAs open for more complicated questions that aren’t so easy to answer.
These developments are astonishing, and it’s sometimes hard to believe that we’re only just scratching the surface on the potential power of these machines. It begs the question: how many other uses of artificial intelligence might emerge in the future, not only in our home lives but also in our work lives?
AI possibilities in E-Commerce
The underlying theme here is that these machines are becoming increasingly helpful at the personal level, and this is especially important for businesses. One of the most brilliant marketing tactics popularized by sites like Amazon is the advent the of data-driven product recommendations. This is when you go to the site to buy one thing, and you come out of the transaction with two other things you hadn’t planned on buying. This is made possible through uses of artificial intelligence to systematically lead you to products you might not have thought about buying originally.
This increases the average order quantity for E-Commerce transactions, and also gives the customer a sense that companies like Amazon are taking a specific interest in its consumers. Other digital platforms like Episerver are great ways to get started using these kinds of AI applications. Not only does the platform prepare personalized product recommendations as Amazon does, but it also offers a pattern-recognition process dubbed “Next Best Action.”
This use of artificial intelligence is based on predictive analytics, and it looks at massive sets of retail data to help marketers and merchandisers make forecasts about a) what their customers are looking to buy, and b) where customers will be in their buying processes. AI is essential for this since it’s able to pick up on critical subtleties that humans would otherwise easily overlook. Episerver also offers many other E-Commerce tools, and they’re worth checking out if you’re looking to take your business online in a meaningful way.
Learning more about AI
At Luminos Labs, we are so eager to encounter more future developments in artificial intelligence. It’s been incredibly intriguing to track the progress of this ever-growing technology, and so we’re always on the lookout to see where it goes next.
If you’re interested in leveraging artificial intelligence to boost your revenues on E-Commerce platforms, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, and remember that there’s no cost or expectations associated with initial consultations.