How Essential and Impactful is Conversational AI for Us?

Sameer Samal,

Nodal Advisor,

Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence and Law.


Nayan Grover and Abhishikta Sengupta,

Research Members,

Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence and Law.


Introduction

Conversational AI describes technologies enabling an automated, human-like approach. We interact with each other and machines. We interact with computers that interpret meaning using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) to provide useful responses. Instead of using the Hierarchical menu, we use our language to express our intent. Applied Conversational AI demands that both science and art construct effective applications that integrate meaning, personification and relevance to computer interaction within human beings. Conversational design, a discipline devoted to the design of natural-sounding flows, is a key component in designing Conversational AI applications. While chatbots have become increasingly popular, conversational AI solutions can be provided in both text and voice modalities. The best Conversational AI delivers a result that is indistinguishable from whatever a human agent may have delivered.

Conversational AI is a big step towards making websites and online platforms of organizations, more self-enabled in helping users resolve their queries and executing their needs. This will help users achieve self-service at a higher rate. Usually, this work was done through FAQs and other common information provided at the portals. Conversational transactional workflow performs the same functions as existing portals or agent tools but through a conversational interface. Users can describe their intent in natural language and get the information they need to complete the task in self-service mode.

Benefits to the Consumer Support Industry

Holds Immense Potential to Increase Sales

What is usually a static customer experience during online shopping, due to lack of interactivity, can evolve into a dynamic conversation via Conversational AI. It hugely personalizes and enhances the experience by the use of NLP, as opposed to rule-based chatbots, thus working to drive sales.

Finds Use Across Industries

This technology provides a competitive edge to users by providing a service that can augment their human counterparts. This makes it all-pervasive, applicable to diverse industries ranging from fashion to banking.

Increases Efficiency

Unlike their human counterparts, AI assistants may be available at all times during the day, consequently reducing expenditure on human resource. Furthermore, its error recognition skills are far superior.

Challenges and Obstacles

Language Understanding Difficulties

AI assistants may not be as accomplished as service agents in comprehending colloquial terms or slang, or even in ascertaining the underlying intent of a customer’s question. Overlooking subtle nuances in a conversation may lead to unsatisfactory customer experience.

Lack of Company-Specific Knowledge

Tackling customer queries unique to each business may prove difficult to Conversational AI systems. Often a general approach or access to previous customer records is not sufficient, and a deeper understanding of a company’s products and services are essential along with its nomenclature and common terminology.

Legal Implications and Regulatory Requirements

The legal and regulatory requirements that arise from the commercial use of chatbots in the customer service industry are limited as the technology is still in its primary stages and is not autonomous enough to invite complex legal issues. Certain legal issues to be considered are:

  • Compliance of industry-specific regulatory requirements: Certain industries that deal with sensitive personal data need to consider the regulations applicable in their industry.

  • Consumer protection laws: Businesses applying Conversational AI will have to consider consumer protection and advertisement regulations as consumers will be communicating directly with these chatbots.

  • Data protection laws: Conversational AI processes large amounts of data which may also include certain personal data of the consumers. Therefore, data collectors or data fiduciaries need to consider data protection requirements as well.

In addition to the abovementioned considerations, businesses that make use of such AI chatbots in the consumer support department require an internal framework and policy to govern the technology. The policy should consider the following points:

  1. limits of the chatbot;

  2. the extent and method of providing consumer data to the chatbot; and

  3. personal data collection, processing and storage by the Conversational AI.

Conclusions

Conversation AI is a major leap in the consumer support industry that will have a deep impact. The technology has great potential for development and like all advance technologies, AI-powered consumer support chatbots are also required to be brought under the regulatory umbrella.

 

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