2020 Will be the Era of Conversational AI: Top Trends You Need to Know
Tue, April 20, 2021

2020 Will be the Era of Conversational AI: Top Trends You Need to Know

Conversational AI ushers a new range of digital services, motivating companies to venture into this new landscape of interactive applications / Photo by: Andriy Popov via 123RF

 

There was no Siri a decade ago and seeing chatbots in webpages was rare, said Andy Peart of business news platform Forbes. But 2020 will be an exciting year for conversational AI. They transcend beyond voice commands as conversational AI now incorporates cutting-edge voice recognition, language parsing technology, and “text-based smarts of interactive robots.” 

Conversational AI ushers a new range of digital services, motivating companies to venture into this new landscape of interactive applications. Firms will benefit from these applications as they are capable of providing rich information, as well as insights learned from interactions with users. We will get to see chatbots join hand-in-hand with other voice assistants to deliver better user experience and bolster productivity. 

Conversational AI Statistics

The global conversational AI market was valued at $3.27 million in 2018 and is forecasted to reach $27.08 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 30.25% from 2019 to 2026, according to Data Bridge Market Research, via media company and press distribution service Global Newswire. The customer support industry is gaining momentum thanks to the implementation of AI technology, further improving customer experience, as stated by Research and Markets, the largest market research store. 

This has prompted businesses to employ AI-powered customer support services, resulting in the growth of the market. About 85% of all customer support communications and related services will be performed without engaging with customer service representatives for major tasks.

Nearly 42% of B2C customers have been found to show more interest in purchasing utilities from the outlets if they experience good customer service. Likewise, about 52% stopped purchasing after being disappointed by the outlet’s customer service. These factors will aid the growth of the conversational AI market. 

In October 2018, IT service management company Gartner mentioned that conversational interfaces are the top trend in digital e-commerce, predicting that 70% of all firms will have tried conversational platforms with expanded sensory channels like AR. On the other hand, 25% of companies will have systems in production. 

What’s New for Conversational AI This 2020? 

1. AI Ethics

AI ethics and regulation will be at the forefront of AI technologies. For example, the European Union has introduced guidelines on AI ethics, taking an in-depth look at the context and implementation of the technology in its latest briefing paper. One key advice for businesses to follow is to avoid unfair bias when developing AI products and services. 

It’s possible for bias to seep in when developing a conversational AI system by selecting the wrong training data or altering the machine learning algorithm itself. Hence, traceability is the key. Per the EU’s guidelines, it expects all data and processes to be documented. This may be difficult for enterprises using pure machine learning systems that are incapable of seeing the data used for training. 

2. Digital Collaboration

The chatbot revolution has motivated companies to build a multitude of stand-alone conversational bots equipped with different tools. But how can organizations scale a “ potentially already considerable investment in conversational technology” and provide “operationally strategic consistency?” 

The answer is: Businesses must be prepared for their chatbot to work with other virtual assistants through digital collaboration. Combined with better integration into back-end technology via easy-to-use connectors, a chatbot’s capabilities will be significantly enhanced. This enables businesses to deliver a more intelligent experience to their customers and enhance their productivity. 

3. New Opportunities

Developing conversational AI systems will no longer be exclusive to developers and computational linguists. Now, organizations are including business users on implementation teams to collaborate and maintain conversational AI applications. This alone proves that organizations will bring changes in the skill sets needed, including new employment opportunities. 

To illustrate, scriptwriters will help ensure the flow of the conversation, ranging from brand values to open-ended questions that can comprehend a customer’s needs. Therefore, team leaders are expected to know the business processes and the quirks of those processes that may trip a chatbot up. Meanwhile, designers will enhance visual understanding such as engaging avatars that can react to emotions within conversations. 

The takeaway here is to collaborate as a team in creating and improving conversational AI applications, meaning the development platform must have features like automated testing, workflows, and the like.  

Conversational AI is a Growing Interest

It is a growing interest among investors and corporations alike. In fact, more than 50 conversational AI startups have been established in the last five years. Many new companies formed in the past year or so are focusing on a specific industry or functional focus such as Berlin, Germany-based Dialogue Shift (travel and hospitality) and Curious Thing (recruitment) in Sydney, Australia. 

Notably, conversational user interfaces are transcending beyond text chat to real-time voice applications with feedback loops to help AI models improve the advice they give. Hence, we can expect to see more research-backed natural language processing and infrastructure services firms like Arria NLG (London), Appen (Sydney), and Pulse Labs (Seattle, US) become more strategic and valuable. 

Conversational AI is revolutionizing various sectors as AI technology advances. Conversational AI will bring in new employment opportunities for professionals like scriptwriters and computational linguists, but ethics need to be tackled by regulating bodies and companies first.

Conversational AI is revolutionizing various sectors as AI technology advances. Conversational AI will bring in new employment opportunities for professionals like scriptwriters and computational linguists, but ethics need to be tackled by regulating bodies and companies first / Photo by: Tommaso Altamura via 123RF