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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About: A Discussion on Conversational AI

Conversational AI continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in tech. Already at a market size of over $5.7 billion, projections have that number hitting over $32 billion by 2030. But in the here and now, what are the ways that conversational AI is being implemented across all types of companies and where is this technology going as it continues to evolve? These questions and more were discussed at Tech in Motion’s recent webinar: Conversational AI: Current Applications and Future Predictions. Leaders that continue to focus on conversational AI joined Tech in Motion to talk about the past, present, and future of this technology. Guests included host and moderator Justin Grammens, Founder and CEO at Jab651, Greg Bennett, Director of Conversation Design at Salesforce, Ronald Ashri, Founder/Technologist, CEO at Open Dialog.AI, and Marlinda Galapon, Conversation Design Senior at Salesforce.

Continue reading below to see some of the highlights of the webinar or click below to watch the event in its entirety.

The Continued Case for Conversational AI

The group all agreed that conversational AI is an exciting and growing space to be in, with continued innovations having the ability to help all types of companies in different ways. Ashir talked about what founded his interest in conversational AI, saying, “What is really fascinating around conversational AI is it flips the dynamic around with how you use machines.” He continued, mentioning how conversational AI flips the dynamic with machines around, instead of people having to understand an interface and give machines instructions, people can now use an interface that they are familiar with (i.e., talking or text chats), and the machine has to interpret the person.

Bennett described what his team is doing with AI, saying that they, “set the vision for how to conceptualize conversation, both as an output mechanism where we communicate and build relationships with users, and well as an input mechanism…How do we make sure users don’t have to change their communicative style.” In order to achieve its goals when using this technology, Bennett said that one of the biggest challenges is trying to figure out the scope. Companies need to ask what the problems are they are trying to solve with conversational AI.

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The skill that brings all together is conversation design, Galapon told the group. “Conversation designers are UX designers specifically for voice and text-based chatbots,” she said. Those skills allow for a more advanced experience with the AI and allow for customers to not have to alter the way they write and speak. This is becoming increasingly important as there are more and more examples of conversational AI in media that works flawlessly (with JARVIS from the Marvel movie franchise for example), so expectations are now raised, and customers are looking to test and challenge chatbots and other automated programs, and people are more unforgiving when a chatbot makes an error.

Where chatbots and conversational AI can continue to grow is working to become more compatible with those that are currently underserved and more frequently misunderstood by the technology, Galapon explained. Examples of this prioritize studies of utterances from dialects including African American English, Southern English, English as a Second Language, Chicano English, and others that have been typically underrepresented. “If a brand doesn’t have a multi-cultural strategy, they don’t have a growth strategy,” Galapon said.

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The panel closed on their excitement for the future of conversational AI, and the importance of laying the groundwork now if companies haven’t already. “If you start (implementing conversational AI) now, you’ll end up being in a very different place than if you wait till a few years from now,” said Ashri. He went on to say that an exciting space right now is startups in conversational AI focusing on specific verticals, with restaurant and hotel bookings being an example. This fit in line with Bennett’s advice, which was to be as specific as possible with your use case, and always be true to that.

These are only a few of the highlights of Tech in Motion’s latest event on Conversational AI, to watch the full webinar click here, and make sure to bookmark Tech in Motion’s Event Page to stay up to date on the latest webinars!

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