AI Or The Human Brain - What Can We Rely On?

Technology, though invented by humans, has always been viewed as a threat to our community. From taking away jobs, to over dependency for performing daily tasks – humans are always at loggerheads with the impact that technology could have on their livelihood.

The COVID-19 (and 2020 and maybe even 2021) pandemic has done the impossible – it has made everyone understand the positive impact of technology. People who shied away from transacting online and continued to be offline all jumped onto the digital bandwagon. Digitisation became a way of life – payments,convenience shopping, career etc. everything became online. And once they got a taste of this, making the shift to have them stay on the digital bandwagon was easy.

This shift threw open a huge gap, and a tremendous opportunity companies and brands – that of interacting with consumers seamlessly and creating a superior customer experience. Technology plays a significant role here. However, what most people fail to understand is that if its not done right, it can also leave a bad experience with consumers.

In today’s hyper-connected, dynamic world consumers expect brands to know what they want, and (at least) deliver to expectations if not for exceeding them. A bad experience leads to complaints on social media, bad press, and a bad taste. What is worse – in today’s connected world things go ‘viral.’ A bad experience occurs when companies do not invest in understanding a customer’s intent. They blindly deploy technology without assigning the right parameters, checks and balances, and metrics for success.

Technology, particularly artificial intelligence and chatbots, have threatened the long-established world order of solely using humans to help consumers interact with companies. But is it now time to blend the best of both worlds?

A bad experience occurs when companies do notinvest in understanding a customer's intent. They blindlydeploy technology without assigning the right parameters,checks and balances, and metrics for success

Renowned columnist Thomas L Friedman wrote an article aptly titled “A.I. Still Needs H.I. (Human Intelligence).” In my opinion, truer words have not been spoken. Humans invented technology based on insights and intelligence to solve mundane, repetitive tasks. And this can never replace a human being, capable of drawing insights, and using intelligence to understand patterns and solve problems. Earlier, the operations floor of an organisation focused on interacting with customers to solve their problems (you might know it as a BPO, or a KPO) would have lines of people seated at their desks, headphones or phonelines in tow looking at the computer screen. They would continuously talk to customers (usually based in other countries) and try to help them solve problems with their products. Fast forward to now.

We see the same line of people sitting in front of computers. But instead of talking into the phone they are studying computer screens. They are monitoring the conversations of chatbots, or what we like to call ‘virtual agents’ who have now taken over the initial level of interaction with customers. This is Artificial Intelligence (AI) simplifying a person’s job. However, if the chatbot is unable to solve the problem, then humans interject to solve the problem. This is what we call HI or Human Intelligence. Today, chatbots and humans are working side-by-side to deliver a personalized, predictive, and effortless customer experience for our clients and their customers. And this is the future – where AI and HI work together to create seamless customer experiences.

Investing in the right blend of AI and human intelligence (HI) can result in a “near human” experience for consumers. Chatbots cannot completely replace humans, at least not yet, and they must work with humans to deliver the right results. Bots are fast and accurate. People are empathetic and have judgment. Together, they have got what it takes to deliver the best service possible. AI investment is necessary because it is through the power of AI and machine learning that we can decipher huge amounts of data to truly understand what customers want. Only by understanding what they want can companies deliver the best experience to them.