By Stephen Pickett
Facebook’s new Deep Text system, launched last month, promises to revolutionise the social media experience for both individual users and brands.
According to the company, its artificial intelligence (AI) engine can analyse and understand the meaning and sentiment in the text of thousands of posts per second across 20 languages.
It is said to be able to achieve “near human accuracy” in understanding the deeper meaning behind written words and distinguishing between slang, colloquialisms and brand names.
Facebook has already used the technology in its Messenger app to help users hail taxis and on its main site to advise users who are making sales.
But Deep Text could also have a huge impact on the way brands target and communicate with their customers.
Of course, consumers are already used to communicating with computers that understand human language thanks to intelligent “personal assistants” like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now.
Businesses have used these technological developments to drive what has become known as ‘hyper-personalisation’ of the brand experience, using the massive amounts of data generated to better understand and respond to a customer’s needs.
But Deep Text’s more nuanced understanding of human language opens up a whole new world of possibility and potential. The technology has been described as a “new way into the minds of consumers”, as it will afford brands an unprecedented level of access to customer thinking.
In the taxi example mentioned above, the technology was used for ‘intent detection’; to understand the difference between a customer referring to a previous taxi ride and someone actively looking for a taxi.
This kind of intuition is invaluable for brands as it will allow them to target customers more accurately.
In future, rather than just responding to a customer’s specific needs after they have expressed them, AI such as Deep Text could even allow brands to anticipate those needs and present a solution before the customer has even realised what those needs are or that they even possess them.
When it comes to customer service, Deep Text could be transformative in the way it allows brands to be even more responsive to the needs of their customers.
While there is no substitute for human interaction in customer service, this kind of AI technology will doubtless help improve the quality of automated text-based interactions.
At the moment such exchanges are fairly rudimentary and can often be fraught with difficulty, with customers left frustrated at the obvious lack of understanding from the computer.
Imagine how smooth interaction could be between a customer and an intuitive system that understands meaning and sentiment; the sophistication might progress to a stage where the customer does not even realise they are communicating with a computer.
At Experience Assist we are always looking for new technologies to meet the changing needs and demands of customers. Although it’s still early days, the emergence of AI technology demonstrates how customer service will continue to be of paramount importance to businesses in future.