In today’s show:
- Artificial intelligence pioneer sees massively expanded need for communication and empathy skills;
- Avaya Ava: Customer-focused and communication-oriented; and
- Humans are critical to an AI-driven sales process.
Skills required for the next 15 years
Dr Kai-Fu Lee, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, has spelt out what he believes are the essential skills required to survive and thrive in the next 15 years.
Top of his list is empathy. And our doctors are going to need lots of it if they are to thrive in a world where artificial intelligence can replace them instantly.
“I have little doubt that AI algorithms will eventually far surpass human doctors in their ability to diagnose disease and recommend treatments,” Lee writes in his book. “One response to this would be to get rid of doctors entirely…but patients don’t want to be treated by a machine, a black box of medical knowledge that delivers a cold pronouncement.”
According to Lee, the medical personnel of the future will be “compassionate caregivers.” They will be trained in using the latest diagnostic tools, and also in communication, counselling, and emotional support. Instead of dryly informing patients of their chances of survival, they’ll share encouraging stories, explain, guide and comfort patients through the treatment process.
Lee says communication, teamwork, empathy and creativity must be taught as early as possible. “Those are the skills that matter in the future. No leader can be a great leader without those skills.”
Dr Lee has thirty years of pioneering work in artificial intelligence at Google China, Microsoft, Apple and other companies under his belt. He says he’s figured out the blueprint for humans to thrive in the coming decade of massive technological disruption: “Let us choose to let machines be machines, and let humans be humans.”
AI will take away the drudge tasks, but that will leave us with value-adding ‘humanness’ opportunities.
Mobile messaging now powered by AI
Mobile messaging is reaching a billion items a day, through SMS, Messenger and other apps. So communications technology company Avaya has built an AI platform that brings the smartness of artificial intelligence to the online and mobile messaging worlds.
Named ‘Ava’, it is a cloud-based solution covering across chat-based technologies, social media forums and messaging channels.
Powered by chatbots and natural language processing, it offers the end user immediate self-service opportunities.
Chatbots offer a range of possibilities when it comes to communication.
- 24/7 customer service. Chatbots are getting better at detecting human emotions, so can quickly redirect an upset customer to a real human service agent to assist the customer;
- The era of being ‘on hold’ is gone. With some customer and support lines, a 45-minute wait is standard; government services like Centrelink have wait times measured in hours. This can be eliminated with chatbots; and
- Quick access to customer data makes service more personal. AI can feed your human customer service agents with history and service data instantly, allowing for a more personal interaction.
Ava aims to deliver heightened personalisation, with continued machine learning from past interactions, for greater efficiency, smarter customer service, and enriched delivery quality.
Ava is currently handling 34 languages and comes with sentiment analysis.
You can find out more about Ava at https://www.avaya.com/en/product/avaya-ava/
Robots can’t replace this one crucial skill: Communication
Believe the online world and you’ll think that we are heading for a robot apocalypse, where robots take over all our jobs and eventually turn us into their servants, or kill us off to save the planet. This is certainly the thrust of mainstream media (I’m thinking movies and tv shows).
But the reality of the meeting of robotics and artificial intelligence is a long way off from this possible future.
Thinking of the pressured world of Sales, two MIT educators have written that there are three areas where an augmented intelligence is the only way forward:
Salespeople need to be attuned to their clients’ needs and desires. They need to listen to their clients’ clues and ask probing questions to uncover and define their clients’ needs.
They can then use AI technology in a range of ways to help salespeople adapt the solutions and recommendations they offer customers. Sometimes a customized product is needed; other times, an off-the-shelf service will suffice.
Once a product is sold, the salesperson needs to ensure that the client is kept informed of its delivery, including any delays. The salesperson also needs to ensure that the implementation goes seamlessly.
Again, AI has a range of tools to help this process, particularly in the salesperson’s own company where shipping, marketing and sales often have to liaise but the underlying technology in the company means that vital information is too often bottle-necked and unavailable.
Throughout the selling and implementation process, the salesperson has to be continuously in touch with their client.
Again, AI tools can keep everyone informed of progress and delays. But when it comes to delivering bad news, the salesperson with their refined ‘people skills’ is best suited to deliver it.
The AI revolution will no doubt help organizations enhance, improve, and expand their customer relationships. But human beings are essential for AI to reach its potential.
And that’s it for another episode of the Better Communication Results podcast. Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, in your podcast app of choice, or over at Soundcloud. Or subscribe to our blog by filling in the form below.
Until next time, take care, take some communication risks, because you never know what is going to pay off, and communicate with passion.