On Thursday 24th January 2019, Content Guru hosted the first brain®: Artificial Intelligence Symposium in the Natural History Museum’s Flett Theatre. This event explored the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral part of our lives, and how it is going to empower the next stage of contact centre evolution.
The opening keynote was given by Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE, President of the British Science Association and presenter of the BBC documentary The Joy of AI. His speech, Living in the AI Revolution, offered attendees a glimpse into the inception of AI, and some thoughts on its trajectory. He posed the pivotal question of why should we, as citizens, care about AI?
Jim argued that AI is set to transform the economy entirely, with those countries and organisations that effectively implement AI seeing significant financial benefits. PwC estimates that AI will contribute 15 trillion dollars towards the global economy1, which, as Jim noted, is equivalent to India and China’s combined GDP. This boom will be primarily caused by increased productivity: a vital metric for the UK, which suffers from some of the worst GDP per hour worked in the G72. The UK is a hub for AI, with Google’s DeepMind based in London and many other research firms choosing to settle in the British Isles, meaning the benefits of AI will be more acute.
Jim debunked the notion that 15 million jobs will be negatively affected by AI, arguing that human labourers will find their work enhanced, not replaced. Why should we fill our days with mundane tasks that can be done better by machines? This is particularly relevant in the contact centre industry. Increasingly, consumers prefer to self-service, but when they have a complex enquiry they expect to be connected to a skilled agent immediately, without unnecessary hassle or repetition. AI chatbots are capable both of resolving routine queries and of gathering information to be passed onto an agent in more complex situations. This empowers your workforce, enabling them to spend time on more engaging work, requiring imagination and empathy.
Jim Al-Khalili’s wide-ranging speech proved a fitting introduction to the brain®: Artificial Intelligence Symposium, with a prediction of AI’s profound impact on human communications in the coming years.
 https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/data-and-analytics/publications/artificial-intelligence-study.html  https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/productivitymeasures/bulletins/internationalcomparisonsofproductivityfinalestimates/2016