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Artificial Intelligence-as-a-Service… Yes, it’s a thing

Posted by Carolyn Devadawson on 28th March 2017

Artificial Intelligence-as-a-service (AIaaS), like chatbots, is a computer program that can conduct conversations via either auditory or textual channels. In short, this means a program that is not only capable of having a conversation either by text or verbal exchange with a human being but that is also able to understand both the question being asked as well as the mood it is asked in, and offer an accordingly empathetic response.

Chatbots have been designed to act how a human would in a conversation. This essentially passes the Turing Test that I spoke about in my last blog, A brave new Westworld, where a human won’t be able to identify if a response is coming from a person or a machine because the responses are human-like.

AIaaS is essentially a response to changes in communication trends. Back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg explained that people were doing more than social networking, which led to its creation of Facebook Messenger and acquiring WhatsApp. Today, millennials are the biggest group of early chatbot adoptors. In fact, recent research show that nearly 60% of those surveyed have used chatbots before.

Most chatbots today tend to focus more on the textual rather than the auditory channel for communication. The interaction between human and machine via voice is complicated, but innovation giants like Amazon with Echo, Microsoft with Cortana and of course Apple with Siri, have already paved the way for chatbots with auditory methods. And this trend will continue to grow.

AIaaS is not just for the consumer; we can see it is becoming a trend for businesses too. There are many benefits that this type of automated intelligence can bring, such as reduced costs, quicker response time and, the ability to offer 24/7 customer support. However, there is a possibility that this can backfire if there is an emergency and there isn’t a customer representative to take over.

And it’s not just the Fortune 500 companies that are using chatbots, small businesses are also engaging with AI chatbot technology through subscription services, custom builds, free services and beta testing. By using chatbots, AIaaS gives small businesses the opportunity to personalise their services. For example, anticipating a particular user’s needs and offering advice around those needs. Let’s face it, with the amount of choices people need to make every day and the options available for those choices, why wouldn’t you prefer having only options that are personalised and ‘filtered’ for you, presented to you?

Alan Turing was a computer scientist with an extraordinary vision. He died in 1954 but not before setting an expectation and a standard for what artificial intelligence can actually achieve. Much progress has happened in recent years but I believe that we are merely scratching the surface of AI’s true potential and AIaaS is just takes us one step closer to it.

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