As an amateur futurist, I'm always looking for how AI and exponential technologies are disrupting human society towards more automated smart cities. As video content matures and proliferates and VR content creates new interactive environments and as the way we access software and apps changes and evolves, PVAs or personal virtual assistants will radically influence the interface with the internet and these new layers of content and virtual experience. The future of PVAs is more like an intelligent OS that acts as a buffer between us and the information noise of the internet. Take your most sophisticated contextual chat bot and marry it with millions of data points per person and algorithms learning from us and how we interact online and in our lives, where we can customize our own experience, and that is a bit like how PVAs may turn out. They will be AI, but truly act as personal virtual assistants.
The voice revolution is going to disrupt financial institutions and banking. This is simple, because with the rise of mobile banking, consumer voice interactions with chat-bots are going to be the most natural and most seamless communication method. How virtual personal assistants (VPAs) scale now, goes very quickly and how banking, and other huge institutions work, is about to change on a radical level. Interactive voice response (IVR) systems have been around for a while, but what if they were smarter, much smarter. As they can now learn in real-time about our needs, with a complete history of all of our interactions, the banking chat-bots will be able to personalize services to us at a level that will soon exceed the ability of a human customer service agent.
As we move into another new year there are once again a new set of predictions, hopes and concerns as to the direction of digital marketing over the next twelve months and beyond. There are so many exciting developments set to take place and I'm really looking forward to seeing how these take hold in 2018. One of the interesting areas I've observed across many trends is the recurrence of two themes: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These two closely related subjects seem to be taking hold across a number of areas, including marketing automation, digital creative, personalization and marketing technology. However, it's the influence of AI and machine learning on the future of search that I'd like to explore in some detail in this article and the potential implications on business and marketing.
The history of technology is the history of human interaction with machines. Millions of years ago, we started with SOUND (voice), and soon came the WORD (text). The touchscreen made redundant the mechanical keyboard. However, 90% of human communication still happens through voice because it is natural. Unfortunately, technology progress took the time to catch up with it.
During Microsoft's Build Conference earlier this year, CEO Satya Nadella delivered the three-hour keynote address, in which he highlighted his belief that the future of technology lies in human language. In this new wave of technology, conversation is the new interface, and "bots are the new apps." While not as flashy as virtual reality nor as immediately practical as 3D printing, chatbots are nevertheless gaining major traction this year, with support coming from across the entire tech industry. The big tech enterprises are all entering the chatbot space, and many startups are too. The question is, why is so much attention being given to chatbots recently, and should your business be paying attention too?