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4 Key AI Innovations That Made a Splash in 2018

Liz Alton
December 26, 2018

3 minute read

As 2018 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the year’s biggest AI innovations. Companies have applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to everything from customer success programs to healthcare.

This year, brands explored the right questions to assess AI readiness, as outlined in “Ready for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence? 2018 Is the Year of ‘Press Pause’.” Being strategic about readiness and the value of artificial intelligence allowed brands to move forward with pioneering AI projects that generated sales, higher levels of customer service, and unforgettable experiences.

Here’s a closer look at key AI innovations that made a splash in 2018.

Global chatbot market stat

Chatbots take customer service to the next level

According to Grand View Research, the global chatbot market will reach $1.25 billion by 2025. Chatbots are helping brands deliver better customer service, whether by addressing standard FAQs or pointing buyers toward the product they’re seeking.

Learn more about how chatbots are striking the balance between automation and human interaction and what steps brands are taking to win the race to build the perfect chatbot.

Machine learning helps brands work smarter—if their data strategy is on point

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, and in 2018 brands used machine learning to work smarter. Using large datasets, machine learning programs find patterns to identify problems, explore solutions, and streamline operations. And for many brands, 2018 was the year of realizing that AI is only as good as the data it uses.

As David Mingle, Principal of CXAdvisors Group, said in an interview for this piece: “I’m a big fan of AI, but AI is only as good as the data that goes into it. Companies that understand that and have done a great job of managing their data infrastructure will fully leverage and be leaders in AI. Larger companies, perhaps those more complex that have a long legacy and complex systems that haven’t made a commitment to managing their data will get value from AI, but it’s going to take a lot longer than people may be thinking.”

AI and data quote

Algorithms further customize content and experiences

AI has made personalized recommendations for services like Netflix possible. And 2018 saw a deeper customization of the company’s algorithm, which points toward how intelligent and customized services are becoming. Netflix was already recommending shows that viewers may enjoy based on past viewing habits. This year saw further customization of packaging, choosing thumbnail images to display based on consumer preferences. The company unveiled updates to its algorithm that personalize the thumbnail images viewers see, using AI to further entice them to view recommended programs.

AI tools help employees work smarter

2018 saw us asking tough questions about whether robots would take our jobs. At the same time, workers from all fields were using AI innovations to work smarter, rather than harder. For example, “AI and the Future Role of the Salesperson” explored how insights and analytics from AI-powered tools are helping better manage administrative projects. As a result, workers are free to do higher-value and more creative work that makes a bigger impact on the bottom line.

This past year saw a number of AI innovations that allowed higher levels of personalization, productivity, and creativity. As we head into 2019, AI tools and programs will continue to shape sales, customer service, and the customer experience in important ways.

Liz Alton
Liz Alton
Liz Alton is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B technology, digital marketing, and the customer experience. Her clients include creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and venture-backed startups.
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