Artificial intelligence (AI) has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, the aim being that it helps machines work and react the way humans do. Like most technological advances, AI is growing because it simplifies routine tasks, making it easier for human beings to focus on the intellectual aspects of a given process.
For example, computer devices were introduced for problem-solving, but have always needed an operator to look after the coding and maintenance. It’s a huge challenge, but this absence of intelligence is is slowly being filled by artificial intelligence. In this post, we will look at ways in which AI is successfully adding brilliance to machines and web applications.
The Increased Usage of AI
Artificial Intelligence simplifies the use of a website or application for all users, without them necessarily being aware of it. Facebook is one of the most obvious practical examples as it does not require the users to specify the content they are looking for. A few likes and shares is enough for Facebook to build a profile and deliver preferred content in the feed. For better or worse, AI is working in the background. This intelligent algorithm tailors the user experience further by showing relevant advertisements.
Let’s look at some more examples you might have already experienced.
Siri is one of the most popular personal assistant applications around today. Made by Apple for iOS and Mac OS, it facilitates users’ routine activities like searching information online, guiding on maps, making calls or sending messages, setting reminders for events, or loading an application.
It is powered by machine learning technology to enhance assistance by becoming familiar with user behavior over time.
Tesla is pioneering vehicular self-driving capabilities. Additionally, it is powered by machine learning that allows it to improve driving skills just as humans learn from experience.
Amazon Fire Phone: Visual Search
Amazon’s Fire phone is powered by a visual search app which simplifies the user experience by allowing them to photograph a product, then search and find it on the internet. Artificial intelligence has, in this case, made product search a hassle-free experience.
In the same manner, Alibaba – one of the eCommerce giant has also initiated image matching service for a clothing line. The potential customers upload an image and find suggestions of matching products without knowing its name or keywords. Not to forget Facebook image recognition that suggests tagging your friends.
Artificial Intelligence has even been helping some companies, for several years now, compose news stories without the need for dedicated writers. Yahoo and Fox, for example, leverage AI in the form of Wordsmith (“a natural language generation engine”) for producing news stories that are simple in nature. These may include financial reports, sports summaries and so on.
AI and UX
Artificial intelligence enables machines to judge and speculate like humans–combining this with machine learning can deliver impressive results.
For example, let’s say you work in an office and return home daily at 18:30, whereupon your partner has a cup of tea ready and waiting for you as soon as you cross the threshold. This is intelligent behavior, but it’s also well mannered, and caring.
But what if your partner is not at home, or you are living single but want exactly the same care and punctuality for your evening tea at home? An electric kettle powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence can meet those needs.
Such a device can even learn about the time variation of your arrival, navigate your current location, and instantly make a cup of tea exactly as a human would do. You may not need to schedule, nor inform or supervise such a machine.
In the same manner, traditional web design can use logic, routine, and situation to deliver the results users are looking for.
Improved User Experience
With the implementation of AI, an online store can better judge the varying needs of their users. It can be built to understand a given situation and perform cognitive analysis to know more about customers’ preferences. It can calculate the time they spend on a product page, the moments they take to decide and checkout, and predict reasons for abandoning a filled shopping cart.
Amazon is heading towards an advanced shopping experience with the inclusion of machine learning and artificial intelligence. “Anticipatory shipping” will send out products to consumers as they need them–at the very least physically locating products closer to them in order that shipping times are minimized when those products are actually ordered. Taking this concept further, “lifetime anticipatory shipping” (due for launch early 2018) aims to negate the shopping process altogether:
“Lifetime anticipatory shipping uses your search history, cookies, and an advanced algorithm to determine everything you will ever want, need, and likely purchase.” – Jeff Bezos
Human-like Chat Experience
Adding a live chat to your online store is a must-have tool, but may incur major expenditure in hiring chat personnel and live user attendants. Online stores often cut these expenses by replacing human operators with simple chat bots, which can harm the user experience rather than doing good, because their responses are clearly robotic and unnatural.
Improving this model, AI chat applications are powered by natural language processing (NLP) technology that makes replies come across as natural and genuine. “Conversational UI” is new ground for UX designers, but it’s becoming a huge field, especially in eCommerce.
The Future of eCommerce
Gartner, a research and advisory firm, speculates that Artificial Intelligence will handle more than more than 85% of consumer correspondence by 2020. Furthermore, it projects that natural language processing technology is on the cusp of making chat bots the most recommended application for customer interaction.
“As AI accelerates up the Hype Cycle, many software providers are looking to stake their claim in the biggest gold rush in recent years” – Jim Hare
Artificial intelligence is bringing sophistication to the way users find products online and interact with vendors. It’s expanding across all kinds of devices, and mediums. Virtual assistants like the Amazon Echo aim to carry out many of the tasks a personal assistant might do. In short; AI already forms a large part of our daily experiences and that will only increase with time.
How do you see AI impacting the world of web design? What tools do you think are missing and where’s the greatest potential? Leave your (naturally worded) comments and thoughts below.