Technical Alphabet Soup
AI, ML, Chatbots—high-tech trends that sounded like technical alphabet soup. And I chose to ignore these menu offerings! I figured AI was like artificial sweetener—non-natural intelligence—and didn’t really apply to technical communicators, writers, or editors. Then, within the past month, I received two publications with articles about Artificial Intelligence (AI), ML (Machine Learning), and a side order of Chatbots. Since STC’s Intercom was one of those publications, I knew I had to find out how these high-tech trends affect what I do.
“AI is a type of “deep learning” that allows machines to process massive quantities of information on a very sophisticated level, allowing them to perform complex functions like facial recognition.” (Mordecai Holtz, “Mobile World Congress and AI,” B-Tank, March 2018).
“General AI (also known as Strong AI or Full AI) encompasses systems or devices which can handle any task that a human being can.” (“What’s the Difference Between AI and Machine Learning?“) Besides facial recognition, we see AI in voice-recognition systems like Alexa (“Understanding the Differences between AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning”); spelling correction and machine translation are other examples (“The Problem with AI”).
“ML is a subset of AI and is powering much of the development in the AI field” (Criteo Insights). ML “is the practice of using algorithms to parse data, learn from it, and then make a determination or prediction about something in the world” (blogs.nvidia.com). Michael Copeland explains that a machine is “trained” to perform tasks.
“Chatbots are channels to content and information to solve specific problems.” (Seth Earley, “AI, Chatbots and Content, Oh My! (or Technical Writers are Doomed—to Lifelong Employment),” Intercom, January-February 2018, 14.)
Using High-Tech Trends with Clients
Holtz points out two areas where AI is already in place: customer care and marketing. “The data will result in AI technology monitoring, analyzing, and organizing the consumer data to anticipate customer concerns.” And then “marketers will be able to leverage the extremely personal voice-activated devices to drive and solve the common issues associated after purchasing something.” AI will result in a personalized marketing experience.
These observations support Earley’s tips for tech writers to team up with the marketers. Look at the customer lifecycle. Understand the customer’s journey, what they are looking for, and “map out the possible questions that the customer may have at each step.” (Seth Earley, Intercom, January-February 2018, 14)
AI, ML, and chatbots are not simply alphabet soup. These high-tech trends are meant to help us in getting our jobs done right and delivering the right content in the format the customer needs. I’m learning new ways of using my tools to help clients find the right solution—now with AI, ML, and chatbots—to serve their customers.
“The greatest challenge in actually using any of these emerging technologies is still the same—understanding and clearly defining the business need, and having the right data and content to fuel the technology engine.” (Seth Earley, Intercom, January-February 2018, 13.)
I have more to learn about AI, ML, chatbots, and other high-tech trends.
What’s your takeaway?
Let me know here.
- Thank you to my WTD colleagues for sharing their expertise on our Slack channel!
- Intercom, January-February 2018 (https://www.stc.org/intercom/) and B-Tank, March 2018, launched by BizTank (http://biztankmoguls.com/)
- Michael Copeland, “What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning?” July 29, 2016, https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/07/29/whats-difference-artificial-intelligence-machine-learning-deep-learning-ai/
- Seth Earley, “The Problem with AI,” September 13, 2017, https://www.infoq.com/articles/problem-with-ai
- Hope Reese, “Understanding the Differences Between AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning,” February 23, 2017, https://www.techrepublic.com/article/understanding-the-differences-between-ai-machine-learning-and-deep-learning/
- “What’s the Difference Between AI and Machine Learning?” February 6, 2018, https://www.criteo.com/insights/ai-vs-ml/