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Future of Work Speaker: The Problem with AI Assistants is They're Not Human Enough

By Erik Linask February 12, 2020

Chatbots and artificial intelligence are gaining at least some momentum, but if you listened to Allison Smith of The IVR Voice – and now also Alexa –  during her session at Future of Work Expo today, you’ll know we’re nowhere near reaching their potential – largely because of their impersonal nature.  They’re simply not very human, she says, and that’s what 100% of people she has surveyed say they want from AI.  I took a few moments to ask her about some other AI topics to see where she stands on some of the things happening in the space.  Here’s what Allison had to say.

Give us a brief update on the latest news from your company.

Currently partnering with SurveyLine to develop my voice as an upgrade for Amazon Alexa on major retailer surveys!

How has AI in business changed over the past year?  What is the market’s perception of AI today?

There’s more awareness of “humanity” in AI voices. Users are tiring of the robotic sound. AI developers are more cognizant than ever about introducing a warmer, more accessible “entity” into AI.

What is driving interest in new AI-based solutions?

Ease of use, and AI being perceived as an enhancement to everyday transactions.

What are the greatest challenges with AI today?

User frustration, inability for some AI platforms to interact seamlessly and without creating extra work.

Are companies using chatbots and virtual assistants effectively?

In a word: no. Chatbots and virtual assistants should not be seen as a substitute for service. They should be a way of taking care of basic issues, but also being a gateway to transition the user to live assistance when needed.

How big of an impact can AI have on customer experience?

When used well – and responsibly – AI can enhance the customer experience. Contingencies need to be provided in the event that the customer is circling and getting nowhere using the AI platfiorm.

How has comfort level with automated voice apps changed over the past year? 

Overall, there is more trust in AI and more belief that AI is an improvement on communication. It is the industry’s responsibility to make sure that AI is always an *enhancement* and not a *hindrance”.

What challenges exist when implementing AI or developing AI solutions?

The main challenge in my view is introducing – and maintaining – a human quality in AI presences which is personable and relatable, but still keeping a sense of efficiency.

Please make one interesting, surprising, or unexpected prediction for the AI space for 2020.

AI will be used increasingly more frequently – and with greater accuracy – in the realm of healthcare and self-managed health monitoring.

Why is your Future of Work Expo session a must-attend?

My perspective – a pro voice talent known for voicing IVR and AI platforms – is a unique one. I voice prompts daily (and have done so for 25+ years) – I have a front-row seat in seeing AI develop from a clunky, quasi-human essence to a truly accessible, and ultimately helpful persona running in the background. My talk explores the history of voices, and direction in which AI voicing is headed.

Why are you coming to Future of Work Expo?

Future of Work Expo is becoming the real hub of interaction for those improving the way we work.




Edited by Erik Linask

Group Editorial Director

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