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"Alexa." "Siri." "Hey, Google." These are the names we call out now, perhaps more often than we call out those of friends and family members. Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t part of a science-fiction future; it’s our reality. Over the past decade we’ve become accustomed to the idea that when we call a customer service line, we must often pass through a gauntlet of voice-activated technology before reaching a human. The fact that we are willing to shout “representative” repeatedly in order to talk to a person shows both the limits of AI in its current state and our desire to connect to another human being.

In business, the human factor is often the difference between a one-time user and a lifelong customer. It’s a fact that luxury department store owners have known for years. Years ago, the most luxurious boutiques would keep files on index cards noting a frequent consumer’s style preferences as well as any other details that might make for an easier conversation. Now databases hold that information. This isn’t new; sales software has been in place for decades. What is new is that when artificial intelligence and machine learning are added into a CRM, it becomes less of a static database and more of a living interface. Your data isn’t just sitting there, waiting for you to take action. It’s being analyzed and compared to other standards. The analysis leads to recommendations. It doesn’t think for you. It thinks with you.

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Category: Science