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A Two-minute Read by Thomas B. Cross CEO – TECHtionary.com

Would it be called UCaaAI or just UCaAI?  No matter what, the pursuit of artificial intelligence in whatever form has the business world steaming or screaming to find the “holy grail” of technology.  Yet what would it really be like?  Will the world be run by AI virtual assistants talking to other virtual assistants to do the bidding of the users or will users be connected to virtual call center agents who are so automated you can’t really tell real versus fake.  AI is not a panacea but like the concept of “digital transformation” something that is always ahead in time but we never get there. 

Can there be real AI without humans and what will the role of humans be in the future.  We seem to be “chasing our tails” quite a bit these days because a Fortune Magazine survey, based on responses from nearly 2,500 executives, found that seven out of ten companies report little to no impact from their A.I. projects so far. Overall, 40% of the surveyed companies that have made “significant investments” in A.I. have yet to report any business gains. 

This does not give one respite that great AI solutions are available now nor even on the horizon.  In this short briefing, I would like to review some key concepts for those of you who are as confused as I am as to knowing when or if AI will be a reality or not.  In the seminal book by a new TMC partner Tom Cross on AI called MindMeld – Merging Mental with Metal he explains some of the key concepts in AI and more.  There is much more which I will explore in future posts but consider these three kinds of intelligence as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

          – Vertical Intelligence is in simple terms making not one kind of soup but all kinds of soup. Creating different kinds of soup or types of UC is actually much harder than you think.  This is most of what machine learning does today. 

          – Lateral Intelligence is where one set of skills can be applied to other things. This is where AI gets complicated really fast. As humans, we can ride across a city, get off our bikes and then drive a car without even thinking about it. However, the skills UC are completely different from a machine perspective.        

          – Oblique Intelligence is different. Oblique is somewhat in between vertical and lateral. It combines concepts used by both but brings new solutions. This makes this type of intelligence “oblique” in the way it will emerge. Telling a joke, music, touching, evoking emotion, inspiring “charisma” forms of leadership are concepts that humans don’t really understand all that well but are very real to humans.  Through an understanding of what kind of “intelligence” you are looking for may in some way help you build a system that makes unified communications more practical and with greater benefits customers and users alike.  In other words, there will be many kinds of AI and many failures along the way. Here are a few tips to consider when planning or building your AI solution:

  • AI systems work best solving a single problem that doesn’t change very often.
  • AI can bring insights into historical data looking deeper into what has been done such as the vast array of data from your omnichannel UC call centers which may hold key ideas on how to make the customer experience even better.
  • AI cannot forecast events but may allow you to build UC models which “if then” scenarios can be built especially for peak, disaster and other unanticipated events.

I am very optimistic as I expect most of you are that real AI solutions will be found and real benefits achieved but it is also good to know where the “potholes” are and likely more in front of us.  Meanwhile, I would recommend you read Tom’s book or get him to present at your next meeting.  He teaches the new Executive Seminar from TMCnet Artificial Intelligence Market/Business Due Diligence Validation Before You Buy-Build an AI Solution and here’s a link to an overview of this innovative presentation.

Should you want more thought leadership articles and promotion, connect with him on Linkedin to explore developing insights on your innovations.

This concept is also presented in TMCnet Selling UP Market UP Margin Technology to SMB & Enterprise Certification at ITEXPO/MSPEXPO. (registration required)

Come to the Digital Transformation Event! Feb 11-14, 2020, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Register now.


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