How far behind the lines of technology are humans going to fall before we have a true sci-fi novel on our hands?
Don’t worry that’s not happening...(yet, those conspiracy theorists might add)...but it does call for some pause when the term artificial intelligence is brought into the mix.
The rise of artificial intelligence software has marketers puzzled. We don’t yet know exactly how we’re going to utilize this technology for marketing purposes. Some may have their theories, but most of us are lying in wait to see what the right move should be.
Yet, artificial intelligence has found it’s place among certain online platforms already.
Ever hear of a gal named Siri? How about Echo? Bixby? All of these are virtual assistants, powered by artificial intelligence software and ingrained into your smartphone to make using your phone so much easier.
Artificial intelligence doesn’t stop there. Have you ever landed on a website and chatbox immediately opens with a friendly message from Sara telling you she’s there if you need her? Her message is sent with a profile picture so you trust who you might be talking to should choose to and the message reads conversationally as if Sara had just said it to you out loud.
Don’t be fooled by this clever ruse. When you respond to Sara with a question about pricing you might actually be talking to artificial intelligence.
Thanks to the internet and Google, most of our questions are posed to a piece of technology that is going to then provide us with some kind of answer. Humans used to be the harbingers of answers, we used to have to seek out the expert to learn about the problem we were having.
Nowadays it’s more common, although I don’t recommend it, to self-diagnose yourself with the help of WebMD before seeking out a live doctor.
So when was the human to human connection sidelined? And are humans falling further and further down the chain, to eventually land in a place where they’re only needed to code the machines that solve all our problems?
Starting to sound more and more like a sci-fi novel now?
Like I said earlier, we’ve still got time. However, this line of thinking does call into question the way we’re using technology and how much of it we’re relying on for business and sales.
Based on the data compiled by Hubspot in this year’s State of Inbound report, the most successful way for sales to connect with prospects is through phone, followed by email, but…
...the consumer is leaning towards other channels.
Email is the clear winner here; however, there was a big spike in messaging apps from last year’s 2016 report, a jump from 24% to 31%. Social media increased as well, albeit slightly, but these increases may become the start of a trend year over year.
Consumers seem to want to turn to software/technology first and people second when it comes to researching purchase decisions. One respondent survey for this report stated, “There’s a generational change away from personal service and direct communication fed by a growing preference for technology—not people.”
And that technology is getting smarter. Those chat boxes I mentioned earlier are using what is termed machine learning to gather information about a website visitor and then use that information to create a more engaging experience for each visitor.
With this information, a chat box bot can ask you about the product you added to your cart a month ago and never revisited, or direct you to pages that contain information it finds will help push you towards a purchase decision.
Will AI take over as our online correspondents? How will this affect the role of sales and customer service?
This technology is so new it makes it difficult to lock down a definitive answer for the future. The only thing that is certain, is that the online world has disseminated into our everyday actions, causing us to turn to technology first and humans second. Let’s just hope we stay in second and don’t drop down to third, fourth or last.