The earliest incarnation of the Conversational AI applications – Chatbots, the tiny, smiling, ubiquitous widget that occupies the bottom right corner of every modern website our times – have been around for quite some time now. The power of Language Interfaces, the ability to communicate with the computers in our own language is immense.
What is really driving the Conversational AI revolution now?
Messaging is the #1 digital activity on the planet today. The digital 2020 reports show that digital, mobile and social media have become an indispensable part of everyday life for people all over the world. Hence, it makes that much more relevant to take the services and information in the medium that we are comfortable with.
Micro-moments. Google defines micro-moments as characterized by Immediacy, Intent and Context. Anything we do these days is increasingly for the present, for that moment. Our intent to get small, but independent tasks that are relevant for that particular moment. Book a ticket, What’s the football score? Do I need to carry an umbrella? What’s my account balance?
Maturity. Underlying technology of Natural Language Processing, AI and Machine Learning have reached the inflection point on Maturity and Affordability in terms of unit costs. Language Understanding, not only in terms of simple English, but also on complex domain specific vocabularies, speech synthesis in an environment with lots of background noises and also across multiple languages. The accuracy rates of some of the popular vendor applications on Speech to Text is close to human comprehension levels
Smooth talking Smart Assistants, as picked by Bill Gates in the list of World’s next 10 Big Innovations. Leveraging the power of semantic relationships between words is making Devices and Computers that much better at Natural language Understanding. Ability to have a deeper context in the conversations makes devices like Alexa and Google Home go beyond their ability to handle simpler commands and engage in a meaningful conversation.
Habit in the making. Voice search and voice based navigation is growing exponentially across demographics, especially among the millennials. Media analytics firm Comscore predicts that half of all online searches will be made through Voice by 2020. Gartner predicts that in the same year, 30% of online searches will be made on devices without a screen, showing the opportunities with the Smart Speakers ecosystem.
Most importantly, Humans love to Talk and Nudge. As claimed by the innovator Golden Krishna
“ Language is the most powerful communication technology ever. Period.”