Jade ThirdEye Fri, May 31, '19 9 min read

Applied AI – Why a digital employee is your perfect human assistant

From grandeur projects to ethical debates, workforce disruption to business efficiency, there’s been a lot written about Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last few years, most of it theory. Our practical experience reveals businesses have understood the need for AI. They typically want to use it for process efficiencies or customer and employee engagement, and they’re now looking for ways to actually get it working, which Jade has been able to deliver.

To understand how we’ve done this and why, you first need to know that we refer to AI in terms of digital employees. Why? Because we believe artificial intelligence at its core is there to help and enable people – not replace them.

Of all the areas to discuss with AI, there’s a lot to unpack with this point alone. So let’s get stuck in.

A reality check on artificial intelligence

It’s easy to get caught up in mainstream media opinion that AI is coming to take our jobs. It’s also easy to think that that’s why a software company like Jade exists. But that’s not true. Growth at the expense of people and privacy may appeal to some, but the true damage it can do to a business in the long-term can be irreversible. Sadly, this is the mindset we’ve occasionally observed in the market. But people deserve better.

“We are at a point where technology is advancing so quickly that governing bodies cannot keep up. Any regulation we see today seems to happen after the fact, when the damage has already been done.” - Kat Zhou, Designing Ethically

This is why we’ve carefully considered our ethical role in developing artificial intelligence and made sure we’re approaching every engagement with a human-first mindset.

Better experiences by being more human and more machine

Throughout the process, we’re thinking about how we can use these artificially intelligent staff members to assist their human counterparts. This is mainly through automating mundane, repetitive tasks – helping people make decisions faster, and freeing up their time so they can work on more valuable tasks or situations that require empathy and compassion.

Reassuringly, AI is highly unlikely to ever be able to replace our ability to make empathetic and compassionate decisions, except for some sort of evolutionary development in technology. We should never underestimate the power of human emotion.

The true value of this was highlighted earlier this year when IBM’s Project Debater took on one of the world’s best debaters, Harish Natarajan. Natarajan took out the debate as he was able to work the audience, pulling on their heart strings and influencing people with his delivery.

“The biggest advantage any human holds over Project Debater is the ability to deliver speech with emotion, wielding tone, inflection, pitch and pauses to sway an audience.” - Olivia Carville and Jeremy Kahn, Bloomberg

Instances like this debate have galvanised our position on digital employees being human assistants. Imagine if you had the computing power similar to that of Project Debater paired with impactful delivery like that of Harish Natarajan! This is how we’re rolling out artificial intelligence – making every customer engagement more human, and more digital, at the same time.

Artificial intelligence in action

One of the greatest benefits of a digital employee is the ability to use open conversation to identify what customers want to achieve, then action do it all for them. It’s no longer just a case of way finding and pointing people in the direction they need to go, it’s automating the process for them.

Say your customer moves houses, a digital employee can change it in your company records. Depending on how much data you have on your customers, the digital employee can offer a few surprise and delight experiences such as top cafes or walks to go on in that area.

An example of the digital employees we’ve released into the workforce is for one of our clients who has a strong partner network. The digital employee, which for the purpose of this article we’ll call Ace, is a concrete example of a human assistant, empowering partners during the sales process, while simultaneously surprising and delighting customers. You can see a video from AI Day here, where our director of technology spoke in detail about this.

Essentially, Ace:

  • asks open-ended questions using text or voice
  • listens to the answers, seeks clarification, and requests missing info
  • scans documents and gets necessary information to complete tasks
  • can be given access to multiple data libraries to make more accurate decisions
  • provides recommendations and makes assumptions relevant to factors like industry, location, and demographics
  • can clarify assumptions and update them as requested
  • provides actionable resources that can be used and sent out to customers like pre-filled emails that contain all the information they need to buy the product or service
  • can do all of this to thousands of people – at once, and at any given time

Let digital employees strengthen your competitive advantage

Whatever it is that makes your business stand apart from the rest, it’s likely a digital employee can help reinforce that. Are you known for being the easiest company to do business with? A digital employee could make you even easier to deal with. Do you have the best sales process in the market? A digital employee could make those processes even better. Do you provide the best user experience of your competitors? A digital employee could take those experiences to even greater heights.

There’s one thing in common that each of these competitive advantages shares – humans. Digital employees make life easy for all humans involved – employees and customers.

So we’ll leave you with this one lingering question below. And if your answer is anything other than a ‘yes’ delivered with absolute certainty, fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Are you giving your employees and customers the user experience they deserve?

Talk to us about making data meaningful