March 16, 2018
Microsoft’s and Progressive’s Flo Chatbot
AI, depending on who you talk to, can be a polarizing subject. It injects fear of human obsolescence in the labor market. While there is some validity to those concerns, it’s important to understand the actual capabilities of AI. Currently, the technology can’t match most human skillsets especially where judgement, empathy and social interaction play a major part. AI currently threatens work with repetitive tasks.
AI advancement in previous years was stalled due to the high cost of computing. The progress of the cloud computing industry in recent years lowering the costs and increasing the agility for modernization paved the way for rapid AI advancement and applicability. That’s why we’re seeing faster advancements in AI and demand for AI in enterprise.
Microsoft Cognitive Services
Microsoft is working tirelessly to increase access to artificial intelligence for companies of all types and sizes. A recent Forbes article highlights how Microsoft is bolstering its AI services and launching a chatbot combining Azure and Cognitive Services for Progressive insurance. Cognitive Services by Microsoft enables facial and emotional recognition. What’s different about facial recognition now is the near unlimited capacity for analyzing images through the cloud. In the past, companies were constrained by the number of images they could process for facial recognition by their server capacity.
How does this apply to Progressive’s services? Progressive is working on developing its Flo Chatbot. You remember Flo from the Progressive commercials, right? Well now you an access Flo’s insurance expertise via Facebook messenger.
The Flo Chatbot combines Azure and Cognitive Services to deliver optimal customer service through emotional recognition. Progressive’s adoption of Cognitive Services in their chatbot signals that the next iteration of AI applicability is already here. Instead of providing robotic answers to pre- loaded data elements, chatbots can analyze their customers’ answers and respond accordingly pushing the need for human intervention further upstream.