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Over the course of the last few years, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and Conversational AI (CAI) have been gaining traction. Indeed, research predicts that the global Conversational AI market will grow from $4.8 billion in 2020, reaching around $13.9 billion by 2025. And with virtual personal assistants like Alexa and Siri dominating the space, these technologies have certainly captured the wider public imagination. By Nikolas Kairinos (pictured ) , CEO, Soffos.ai

Now, many corporations are looking to implement similar solutions to transform the way they do business. However, digital communication tools have not always left an overwhelmingly positive impression, and some employees remain sceptical about the utility of new technologies. 

This is for one main reason: user experience (UX) with solutions like simple ChatBots and older interactive voice response (IVR) technologies have been mixed at best. As these platforms have typically been used to provide more basic and transactional exchanges, expanding their use into areas like employee training, where workers will typically require less structured and more open-ended support, has come with some hiccups.  

From misunderstood queries to rigid responses, companies might be hesitant to offer their employees training via CAI platforms – but here’s why they should reconsider…

ChatBot vs. Conversational AI – how do they differ?

Although they may seem very similar at face value, it is vital to point out the differences between CAI technologies – which provide genuinely conversational experiences – and their predecessors. 

Typically, earlier ChatBots that are not powered by AI are rule-based, following pre-programmed workflows and exchanges. Although they may look like AI-powered solutions (some even have the ability to prompt users when they have been inactive for a period of time, and are programmed to sound ‘human’), they require a greater level of human intervention, and respond only to a set of specific key words and synonyms. Put simply, this means that there is very little room for manoeuvre.

For some organizations, for example those who are looking to employ these technologies to provide purely transactional support to customers, this isn’t always a problem. But if your offering is more complex, and staff might be in need of some more intricate support, then these solutions may not be a good fit. 

On the contrary, CAI platforms integrate back-end systems to provide information to users. This means that there isn’t the same need for programmers to manually input keywords, with the platform able to synthesize large volumes of data to extract the most relevant knowledge, before delivering it to the end user in a succinct manner. 

By relying on AI and neural network technologies, these smarter systems can therefore better imitate human cognitive abilities in reading, comprehending, interpreting and conversing. As such, this means that the use-case for CAI technologies can span far beyond providing basic customer support.

New horizons: expanding the use-cases for CAI

Thanks to machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP), emerging AI-powered systems can understand more nuanced contexts and learn on their own based on previous interactions – making them ideal training solutions. Rather than relying on keywords, they decipher the meaning of input and can derive the intention of the user. Particularly in the new hybrid working climate, the ability to engage in meaningful dialogue with AI agents in order to receive workplace guidance should be a huge assistance to companies.

Rather than relying on en masse in-person training incentives or lengthy Zoom calls, for example, employees should be able to take the reins when it comes to their professional development. Whether asking simple questions on the go, or keeping up a more consistent dialogue with a CAI system to boost their knowledge in a specific area, individuals will be able to reap the benefits of AI-powered technologies, compared to the limited support that ChatBots are able to provide. 

Indeed, for individuals who quickly need a refresher on their knowledge before an important client-meeting, or for employees who are keen to make training more of a priority in their day-to-day, these technologies will be vital. As some systems even have the inbuilt capability to store exchanges in their memory bank, this means that the platform will be able to recall previous interactions and provide tailored support to each individual user. Beyond this, they will also be attuned to the finer details of conversation, given their ability to interrogate complex knowledge graphs and understand dialects, abbreviations and even regional accents, CAI solutions can deliver support to employees – not just customers.

Ultimately, the possibilities are infinite when it comes to next-gen Conversational AI technologies, and I look forward to seeing what businesses can do when armed with new and innovative solutions.

Nikolas Kairinos is the chief executive officer and founder of Soffos, the world’s first AI-powered KnowledgeBot. The platform streamlines corporate learning and development (L&D) to deliver seamless professional training for employees. You can register for beta here.

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