AI-Powered Digital Avatars Will Change Customer Service

AI-Powered Digital Avatars Will Change Customer Service
  • Opening Intro -

    In January, Samsung unveiled its newest AI-powered digital avatars aimed at revolutionizing the world of human-like avatars.

    The project is in collaboration with Star Labs and known as NEON.

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The demonstration at CES 2020 was impressive, but the project itself is still shrouded in mystery as to what exactly they expect NEON to be used for.

Although, in an interview with TechXplore, the company did say that they want to make NEON available to individuals and companies to be used as TV anchors, spokespeople, movie actors or even companions and friends.

"NEONs will be our friends, collaborators, and companions, continually learning, evolving, and forming memories from their interactions," said Pranav Mistry, chief executive of the lab.

DeepFakes on a Whole New Level?

If you haven’t heard of the term DeepFake, it’s worth your time to research it. New software allows people to swap the faces and voices of people to make realistic videos.

Sometimes, DeepFakes are used as humorous parody videos like the one featuring Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in an old Star Trek episode. Others can be more nefarious like the video of former US President Barack Obama warning us about DeepFakes.

In some ways, NEON can be compared to an AI-powered DeepFake. This type of technology brings concerns that it can be used for nefarious purposes, but it also offers an amazing opportunity to provide human-like experiences in customer service, financial advisors, healthcare providers, or concierge.

So, even though the idea behind NEON is creating a world where “humans are humans, and machines are humane,” this is an entirely new territory we are entering.

See Yourself as a Digital Avatar

With the concerns of DeepFakes in mind, how would you like to see yourself as a digital avatar to be your own assistant? LG is currently developing a mirror that turns your image into a digital avatar that can be used as a digital assistant like Alexa or Google Home.

Although, for some who had the opportunity to try it out as CES 2020, what seemed like an amazing advancement in personalized technology was a little more disappointing than they had anticipated. The reason was that the mirror projected and seemingly amplified perceived flaws with their physical body.

If your personal biometrics are used to create a digital avatar assistant that closely resembles you, there is a concern about your personal biometric information being uploaded to the cloud. Of course, this brings on a whole new concern surrounding our personal information being secure from the likes of hackers.

With these amazing innovations, it is obvious that we will soon need to focus more on cybersecurity in ways we may have never thought of before. Those interested in cybersecurity can start their career from attending a coding bootcamp. It seems as though as soon as innovations are announced, hackers jump onto ways to be able to use it to do something detrimental.

The Customer Service Aspect

Outside of the security issues, this type of technology could have a big impact on customer service. Customer support chatbots are prevalent and have been improving vastly, but they still tend to have a negative public image. 70% of people still prefer talking to a human over any kind of bot. A realistic person on video and ‘humane’ responses could help change the status quo for bots in customer service.

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A bot service can be significantly cheaper and easier to manage than a full customer support team. Bots don’t sleep, miss calls, get sick, or go on vacation. They would be able to keep perfect consistency, with product updates and procedure changes ostensibly just a click away.

However, this possible future comes with a lot of ifs. To be effective NEONs will need to work effectively, not just as imitations of humans, but as helpful customer service representatives.

There’s a gap between pretending to be human, and actually be helpful to customers. For many a big reason for preferring a human over a bot is the challenge of being understood.

Currently most chatbots only have the ability to respond to a limited set of commands or requests, and any situation outside of these commands are lost on these programs, creating little more than an interactive menu and a frustrating user experience. NEONs will have to be good enough to leap this hurdle to flip the opinion on bots in customer service.

While the prospects are exciting, there is still a lot of distance between the limited tech demos shown and a finished product. We may not see NEONs replace human reps this year, but it’s an important and exciting project to keep an eye on.

Image Credit: change customer service by envato.com

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