When you think about the future, what do you see? Cars driving themselves, a plastic-free, zero-carbon-emission planet and robots that talk like humans. It’s not like this is an obscure prophecy; those things are already happening. The first self-driving cars have already appeared on the streets, environmental awareness is gaining ground (but we also need to act fast) and call centres deploy solutions where you need to “Say agent or Dial 0 for an operator”. But that’s not the future; that’s more like Furby and less like “Her”. And sure, there are some smart home and phone assistants. They are fun, but if a task requires a bit more information or synthesis, bye bye sweet AI. So, have you ever wondered why it is taking so long to have human-like conversations with machines?
Automated solutions that support human-like dialogs have taken some hits: some took too long to implement, others had low accuracy and containment, or their maintenance was difficult and expensive, just to name a few. Many have tried but few succeeded to deploy a robust open ended dialog solution and this makes companies even more reluctant to go full NLU. Perhaps they’re thinking about Hal, which never opened the pod bay doors. And from there starts the vicious cycle where closed dialogs, such as “say this or press that”, which in most cases substitute open ended dialogs, have narrowed the vision of those who seek flawless interactions and automation increase.
And it’s not like there are many platforms that can support open ended dialogs. In reality, it depends on what you’re looking for, but if you’re looking for a solution that seems to come from the distant future, that supports both speech and text input, with complex dialogs, anti-fraud and biometrics capabilities alongside extensive reporting tools, then no, you do not have many choices. I am talking, of course, about Omilia’s omni channel platform that I had the opportunity to work on for some time now.
Why would someone do it and power up their solution with plutonium obtained by an AI gang? Because open ended dialog solutions (with good reporting of course) are today’s world’s goldmine. You can extract all different sorts of treasures… a person’s intent, how they feel about a product, areas to improve a service, automation, sales. Everything! Ok, I got carried away but you get the plethora of information you get when you ask users to express themselves freely. And it’s not at all risky. Once you start the engines, Orbit City has a lot to offer.
So, to those in need of automation, just go for it! Go fully conversational! Make the experience of those interacting with your solution human-like and give them the service they deserve. To those ready to build the future applications, just go for it! Structure your domain, use a robust platform to develop and let the people talk to you. The ride is fun and you have all the plutonium you need.
Until the next time,
Sofia Kasviki can work her way around every aspect of NLU applications, from solution design & coding to delivery & voice talent coaching. She is part of the Omilia team as senior NLU engineer and team leader. She has worked on actual deployment of AI conversational systems in over 3 continents. She considers herself a human person, though some people have called her a robot.