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BOTS - Humane AI for the Next Billion Internet Users

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Tanuja Rai Pradhan, Head - Consumer Insights & New Commerce, Jio An alumnus of Delhi University, Tanuja is a Marketing & Business Strategic professional who expertise in Telecom, Internet, IT, Real estate, Retail, FMCG, Alco-beverage, Banking & Finance and many other areas.

Language is our primary communication method since birth, and stays throughout life. We are adept at speech and language, however we input data and requests into technology via typing into a screen or using a keyboard. It is easy to see why so many of us are eager to communicate to computers and technology in the way that we are most comfortable - speech.

While voice technology has come a long way in the last few years, voice assistants today still lack the basic conversational foundations that create a smooth personalized experience. We use wake words, commands, and strange uses of vocabulary that would be alien if used within a real human conversation.

How often have you wished you had a Genie of your own like Aladdin had? One which really looks like a human and also gives perfect answers to all the questions whenever needed, anytime of the day from anywhere. Like the precious Chirag as a medium to get Genie, here you have Humane Bots both on your phones and computers. In the same parlance, Bots are like a Genie came alive bringing alive customer service, grievance redressal, take interviews for job, taking avatar of a quick doctors, and some also enabling answers to any query you might have. A virtual personality, offering two-way communication and with a face for a humanly possible interaction.

It extends humane interaction with the end consumer without compromising on the quality of the conversation. It is a marriage of technology with the marketing world. Today’s customer has high expectation and less time. It is an era where the brand loyalties are scarce and there is a need to concentrate marketing efforts which are towards driving loyalty. The recent technological innovations in form of mobile apps are great for brands in understanding the customer’sdeep demands but lacks personalization and humane interaction.

For most of us who aren’t so great with the technology or its history,
how does this work? The idea of using chatbots grew from Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); a must-have section on most websites. FAQs, as we know, is a place where answers to the most commonly asked questions relating to a website or the subject or business it deals with are put in one place. The list of questions is created based on the most common queries received by the company. The FAQs section takes some load off the folks at customer care.

While the idea of the chatbot has been around since long - the first, Eliza, was created by an MIT professor in 1966 - it has only taken off in the last 10 years. Its revival was sparked by an advanced chatbot created by the Chinese social media platform, WeChat, in 2009. The textbook definition describes a ‘bot’ as an independent program which can interact with users and behave like a person. A user can type a query into a chat window and, based on an algorithm, the ‘bot’ responds by finding the most appropriate response available, basically born out of the FAQs.

"Human Bots are revolutionizing customer engagement by going back to the most natural and efficient for of engagement: come let’s get personal again!"

There are companies which created an AI-based Video Call Bot. These human bots are getting leveraged as a brand engagement platform where they mimic a human by creating vocalised responses. In the recent cases of interaction with the Video Call Bot, the conversations with Bollywood stars, Yoga Guru were done both in Hindi and English.

Consumers need a certain level of comfort with technology. Even in the case of FAQs, the user is expected to use a search engine and type in a query, most often in English. As for chatbots, the user should have a particular instant messaging app installed on the phone or be able to find the chat box on a brand’s website to resolve queries.

Powered with the ability to identify the emotion of the input query using multiple sources like facial expression from the camera and voice pitch helps in providing a more personalized video response to every query. These human bots represents a huge opportunity for marketers and brands in the form of interactive sessions with their celeb ambassadors, B2B & B2C customer care interactions (help lines), live sales pitches, product demos, 3D walk throughs, virtual tours (think car showroom) and so much more! Thus, understanding the customer mindset and influencing purchase decisions in real-time. Utility service providers, banking institutions, coaching classes, entertainment portals, and many others are empowered to offer their services along with this unique support.

They can be updated from time to time - just like any website or app - to handle new information, queries, and functionalities. It has self-learning capabilities, wherein it learns from the millions of conversations to answer new types of queries. More importantly, it is operating system agnostic - it doesn’t matter if the consumer uses Android or iOS.

These bots are going beyond the limites and also offering a video call facility for those brands or companies that want to get in touch with many people in multiple locations. Where an human bot could be a company talking to consumers at a product launch, a training program for a sales force or a CEO wanting to touch base with thousands of retailers. These human Bots are revolutionizing customer engagement by going back to the most natural and efficient for of engagement: come let's get personal again!