Ever have a feeling that maybe the person you’re communicating with isn’t, well, human?
Recently, I received an email from Amy Ingram asking to schedule a conference call with me and my co-worker Bethany. She was polite, but a little pushy.
Before I could even reply, I received another email from Amy.
Amy Ingram is artificial intelligence!
At this point, I read Amy’s signature line closely and realized that Amy Ingram is AI, or artificial intelligence. She’s a bot that functions as a personal assistant, helping to schedule meetings.
Amy was created by x.ai, a technology startup, whose CEO and founder, Dennis Mortensen, explains the genesis for Amy on the company’s website.
“I came up with the idea for x.ai after I went through the enormous pain of manually scheduling 1,019 meetings in 2012, of which about 670 had updates and/or were rescheduled at least once. Anybody who goes through that amount of pain will try to find a way to remove it.”
The use of chatbots is soaring in a variety of business applications, but the perception of chatbots varies across age groups. D Custom client ORC International conducted a study recently that found that millennials are significantly more open to companies using artificial intelligence than older generations. (In full disclosure, I fall in the ‘older generation’ category. At least in terms of age.)
The applications for chatbots in marketing are significant. In nearly every instance where a customer or prospective customer interacts with a brand digitally, there are opportunities to utilize chatbots to speed response time, improve user experience, and decrease customer service overhead. According to a recent Adweek article, brands from Barbie to Uber are scrambling to integrate chatbots into their communication strategies.
From my perspective, I’m excited to see how the use of chatbots will evolve content marketing. Imagine a bot directing you to the best content available after a short conversation — rather than a Google search. Or a bot delivering a highly personalized content experience via Facebook messenger. From my perspective any part of the customer journey that we can infuse with more intelligence will only improve the experience for both user and creator.
That said, like any new technology, these bots will have some kinks to work out. And without a doubt some brands who are rushing to the bot party will fail to find an ROI in their quest for AI. But I’m bullish that artificial intelligence, like all intelligence, will improve over time through testing and valuable lessons learned.
For what it’s worth, I will gladly use Amy Ingram to streamline my own workflow and improve my ability to better serve my co-workers and clients. Now if I can just find a bot that can take my place on the conference call itself.