In the 1960s, artificial intelligence was in the domain of well-guarded supercomputers and data bunkers. Today, it is everywhere around us, and we interact with AI in some form when we are working, shopping, traveling, or relaxing at home.
Just a few years ago, the only way to develop sophisticated analytics and business intelligence was to spend vast sums on infrastructure and hire a gaggle of data scientists. Today, vendors supply those services and expertise to many customers, making it possible to solve big problems with a much smaller investment.
What most people ponder the science of artificial intelligence, they think of it as computers that think like humans, but that narrow definition overlooks the thousands of ways practical application of AI can assist us with mundane, repetitive tasks. We don’t know if computers will ever be able to imitate the neurochemical processes that drive human thinking, but when we teach them to handle complex tasks, they provide immense value.
Virtualization and Customer Service Meet HR
Automated text and voice response systems have been with us for a very long time. We suffered the inflexibility of limited pre-programmed systems that couldn’t think at all but only responded to specific inputs. Even today we often come across systems whose most frequent answer is I didn’t quite get that. Please provide one of the following responses.
Now, with natural language processing and deep machine learning, our virtual assistants are getting much better at assisting us with everyday tasks that seem to eat up so much of our time. Instead of having to train ourselves on what machines can process, our computers learn to understand us.
When we bring these virtual helpers into our HR processes, we provide better, faster service to the people we serve, and at the same time, reduce administrative overhead. The same concept that made HR software a service delivered over the Internet is now helping us spend less time processing things and more time doing the thinking that machines can’t.
Artificial Intelligence as a Service
We have been enjoying software as a service (SaaS) for almost 20 years and cloud data storage and services for over ten. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and soon after, platform as a service (PaaS), has enabled innovators to develop and deliver new solutions weeks instead of years without having to worry about data storage, security, and service delivery – now provided by the platform service. New apps and microservices spring up every day.
Now, we have artificial intelligence as a service (AIaaS), where we can enjoy sophisticated analytics, cognitive computing, machine learning, and virtual personal assistants priced on a price per use basis with no investment beyond the devices we use to receive the services.
Freedom to Experiment with AI and Virtual Assistants
What this means for Learning and Development organizations is that we can deploy virtual assistants with minimal financial or operational risk. We can embed virtual assistants into our learning applications using standardized APIs and we can make them experts in handling many of the interactions with our internal and external customers. Here are a few examples:
- Answer questions about certifications and remind us of renewal due dates.
- Help employees find curated resources anywhere on your intranet or external cloud.
- Help learners manage their development plans with “next step” recommendations.
That’s just the beginning of what AI driven virtual assistants can do to improve your learner experience and the flow of information. It’s only going to get better.
Chasma Place, is an independent source for solutions that will help you keep pace with changes in the way your people work without ripping and replacing your existing systems.