Do we all really need a virtual assistant?

26 May 2017

AI and in particular its usage for providing virtual assistant services to any given workers is one of trendiest topic today. This revolution is being compared to industrial revolution in the 1900s and could ultimately have the same impact on workers’ productivity. Whether people are afraid it shall turn “traditional workforce” obsolete or simply intrigue by its huge potential, everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter. Well, we’re still far away from being able to tan on the beach while our virtual assistants would do all the dirty work for us but we have still observed some gigantic progress in the last couple year.

AI is really good at repetitive boring tasks which is great because nobody really like those (right?). Categorize, extract, click & drag or the wonderful copy & paste! Not only those duties are super boring, they can lead to costly mistakes as workers get tired and unfocused. RPA (rule-based-programming) is easily configurable, lightweight, flexible process automation that can be applied to various industries which use structured data (Excel!).

Another good example is virtual conversational agents (VCA) or in other work chatbots. VCA will provide personalized 24/7 customer service to businesses which couldn’t perhaps afford it beforehand. By analysing large volumes of historical conversations between agents and customers, chatbots are built to engage in text conversations with customers, answering and asking questions in order to determine and deliver on the intent of a customer, for example checking the status of an invoice or sending historical bank statements for a mortgage application.

So, what can’t AI do?

Two major thing: creative endeavours and social interactions. These include scientific discovery, entrepreneurship or even creative writing. As for the social aspect, AI will most likely never havethe kinds of emotional intelligence that humans have whether it be to motivate, lead, manage or even sell a product.

Overall, understanding what AI can do and how it fits into your strategy is the beginning, not the end, of that process.