Communication in the Age of AI

The exciting potential for AI to transform businesses is currently being explored across the globe throughout all sectors, and communications is no different. From AI chatbots for customer service to automated marketing campaigns and bots that answer your emails for you, AI is allowing businesses to free up workers, save money, and increase growth.

However, despite the application of AI to communications showing promise in some areas, we are still a long way off from a world where the marketing department is run by an Amazon Alexa. In fact, in the realm of communications in particular we can see distinct weaknesses in the application of AI, as although the technology continues to evolve and improve, it relies on time and data to understand and react to the complex world of human interactions.

While an AI-assisted program may be far quicker and more accurate at analyzing data or predicting weather patterns than a human, it has not been able to compete with the millions of years of evolution behind the human brain that allows us to communicate effectively. Studies show that humans are better at strategic thinking, creative thinking, and most importantly – empathetic thinking, a crucial ingredient for effective communication.

AI just can’t keep up, and if you’ve ever had to deal with an automated customer service bot you’ll know why. In fact, nearly 50% of customers say they prefer talking to a human over a chatbot, suggesting that although AI may be cutting costs in some areas, it could also be driving customers away.

 

AI APPLICATIONS IN COMMUNICATIONS

With the replacement of many jobs with AI-powered machines, it seems that roles requiring these uniquely human traits such as customer service, marketing, education, and management are set to become more desirable. But that doesn’t mean that AI has no role to play in communications. In fact, according to leading business strategy company CGS, AI solutions work best in businesses when they can support rather than replace humans, allowing employees to focus on what they do best.

 

SMARTER EMAILS

For example, AI-powered smart email filtering – spam emails can account for more than half of all email traffic coming into businesses, clogging up employee’s inboxes and costing an estimated $20.5 billion every year in lost productivity. By using natural language processing, AI can scan emails before they even reach the inbox and identify different categories of email, separating them out to make scanning your inbox quicker and simpler.

To further increase productivity, AI is now being developed to respond to your emails for you. With employees spending on average at least two hours a day answering emails, this feature that’s now available on Gmail can suggest responses to emails and even utilizes AI to learn your tone of voice and adjust your replies accordingly.

 

BETTER HIRING

Another key area that AI is already improving is hiring – despite humans having evolved to be good communicators, not everyone is a born conversationalist. In order for businesses to succeed, good communication is required, and that means hiring the right candidates. Effective communication, conflict resolution, leadership, and sociability, despite being CV buzzwords, are genuine skills that take time to properly cultivate, and yet everyone claims to have them.

More and more companies are relying on AI to identify the right candidates with these skills. As AI works by detecting patterns and learning from data sets, psychometric tests that utilize AI are adept at recognizing and recommending the best candidates. According to Arctic Shores, these tests also help to eliminate discrimination from the hiring process by removing human bias from the equation, resulting in a quicker, fairer hiring process.

 

INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATION

Utilizing machine learning in internal corporate communications has been shown to help boost employee morale and productivity. AI-powered programs can proactively schedule meetings without needing to be asked, help direct struggling employees towards finding the right people to talk to, and automatically create meeting notes to free up the stressed-out intern. Microsoft’s ‘Graph’ feature is an excellent example of this – an AI ‘brain’ that has access to all the data from every email and meeting a business has and uses that to act as a personal virtual assistant for every employee.

 

CONCLUSION

Artificial Intelligence has and will likely continue to revolutionize so many aspects of our lives, and the outlook for communications in the age of AI looks promising, with the potential to drastically change the way humans interact with machines and ultimately transform businesses.

 

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Written by Evelyn James

Tea drinker, Ravenclaw, aspiring novelist; currently editing my second draft

May 21, 2021

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