Technology Vision 2020

It means smart chatbots interacting with customers as they do now, but being able to better understand the nuances and underlying possibilities of a customer’s request. For example, instead of just responding to a passenger’s question about whether they can bring crutches on board, an airline chatbot might flag the likely mobility issue, offer wheelchair assistance at the airport, and even check the itinerary to see if an easier connection is available. Meanwhile, based on the information the chatbot can gather, human agents are better prepared to offer assistance and improve the experience.

In some cases, AI can approach problems the same way as successful disrupters: its judgment isn’t clouded by decades of previous experience or inherent biases, and it hasn’t yet learned what not to try. But this huge advantage requires human assistance to really take off, in the form of people partners helping to steward, direct and refine what the AI comes up with.

How can businesses today begin building this capability? To facilitate true human and AI collaboration, they need to find ways to replace a “command and response” relationship between human and machine with an experience that is interactive, exploratory and adaptable.

This starts with effective communication. Because of advancements in natural language processing (NLP), machines are beginning to better understand the context of language, instead of just the content.

Understanding physical context is also game-changing for AI’s ability to work with humans in extended reality (XR) environments. Image recognition and machine learning allow AI to not just see its surroundings, but understand them.

It goes the other way as well, with humans being better able to understand machines. Explainable AI allows people to open up previously “black-box” AI systems to get at how the machine made a particular decision.

Ultimately, better human machine interactions will lead to businesses being able to reinvent and constantly improve the offerings and experiences their customers want. When steps are taken to improve communication between machines and humans, the result is that AI becomes much more than just another tech tool. It’s an agent of change in the business.

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