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What is conversational AI?

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What is conversational AI? Find all the answers about the latest advances in this AI technology, how it works, and popular case uses in this article.

Conversational AI has become popular in recent years due to its use in chatbots. This technology can be found on various websites to solve real-time customer inquiries. In this article, we’ll overview what conversational AI is and how it works.

Conversational AI explained

Conversational artificial intelligence is a technology that allows people to communicate with machines in conversations that seem to be real human-like interactions.

Instead of human agents and call centers, conversational AI uses virtual agents and voice assistants. On many websites, contact centers are based entirely on conversational artificial intelligence.

To provide a better customer experience, conversational AI tools process outstanding amounts of information to emulate human speech. For this conversational flow to be possible, this AI uses machine learning, large amounts of data, and natural language processing.

Natural language processing (NLP) goes over a constant flow of information that machine learning algorithms process and use to improve customer experience. As a result of deep learning, the platform gets better at pattern recognition and making predictions, producing responses naturally.

This artificial technology uses two kinds of tools: chatbots and conversational AI. Chatbots are capable of sending text messages based on pre-programmed scripts. This means that chatbots are ruled-based. A chat conversation with a chatbot can’t move out of the pre-programmed tasks. Any updates on the chatbot capabilities must be done manually.

Conversational AI, on the other hand, is a more advanced system. It’s capable of processing either voice or text commands. Being omnichannel, conversational AI can be featured on websites, smart speakers, and voice assistants. The AI interface is based on language processing and understanding. This means the system is highly scalable and updates automatically by processing the information uploaded.

How conversational AI works

In simple terms, conversational AI works due to two primary functions, machine learning algorithms and natural language processing (NLP). Additional functions conversational AI uses include automatic speech recognition (ASR) and text to speech (TTS).

Machine learning is how this AI technology processes information and improves. Conversational AI applications store essential data to enhance customer interactions and provide appropriate responses.

The second function is natural language processing (NLP). This is the process through which the AI models understand the language. Once it has learned to understand the language through speech recognition, it moves to natural language generation (NLG). This is how conversational AI applications communicate with customers.

NLP consists of four different stages:

  1. Input generation. Customers provide a text or voice inquiry through the conversational AI platform. When it’s through text, it can be sent to a chatbox or a virtual assistant. Only conversational AI supports voice commands.
  2. Input analysis. If the prompt is through text, the AI uses natural language understanding (NLU) to process the information. When the inquiry is made through voices, the AI uses automatic speech recognition and natural language understanding to analyze the message.
  3. Output generation. Natural output generation is the response generated by the AI system. In the case of a chatbot, the response will be a pre-programmed answer.
  4. Reinforcement learning. Conversational AI solutions store information received and optimize performance over time automatically. Chatbot updates must be done manually.

Over the last decade, AI advances in deep learning have allowed the system to analyze and discern information from more significant amounts of data. Conversational AI chatbots can now remember previous conversations improving customer engagement and conversational experience.

How is conversational AI used

Conversational AI technology is often used for customer support. Many companies, such as financial services and healthcare, have included omnichannel chatbots to improve user experience.

One of the pain points of human agents is that companies rarely provide 24-hour services. One benefit of conversational AI is that it’s an easy-to-use self-service that is always available to meet customer needs.

Other use cases include social media apps and e-commerce. This AI technology is similar to a human conversation, in which every question is promptly answered to guarantee customer satisfaction.

Advanced conversational AI includes Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri. The conversational flow with these virtual assistants is highly accurate, responding to voice commands and doing simple tasks.

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What are some examples of conversational AI?

Examples of conversational AI are the chatbots found on websites that offer services and virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant.

What is the difference between a chatbot and conversational AI?

There are several differences between chatbots and conversational AI. Chatbots only support text commands, while conversational AI is compatible with text and voice commands.

Conversational AI is omnichannel, meaning it can be featured on websites, call centers, and smart speakers. Chatbots can only be used as chat.

Conversational AI processes natural languages, while chatbots only answer questions with a pre-determined script.

Why is conversational AI important?

Conversational AI is an excellent tool for businesses that want to personalize and improve customers’ experience.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.