Customer Service Outsource through a Virtual Personal Assistant

In 2011, Apple introduced “Siri” to the world. Siri was the first Artificial Intelligence or A.I. that was designed to provide virtual assistance for users of Apple iOS. In 2012, Google introduced “Google Now” its version of the A.I. personal assistant and available for users of iOS, Android and the Google Search application.

In 2012, Google bought out Motorola Mobility, a unit of Motorola which had registered consecutive losing quarters in business. The acquisition resulted in a collaboration which was Moto-X in 2013. Moto-X is an Android smart phone which operates on voice recognition and contextual awareness. One of its more interesting features is Moto Assist, an artificial virtual assistant which manages calls for you.

V.A versus A.I

Not to be outdone, Microsoft will unveil its own version of the A.I. personal assistant in 2015 with “Cortana” in 2015. Cortana is described by Microsoft as its version of the intelligent personal assistant and with a more efficient navigator. Cortana will be available for Windows and Microsoft’s gaming consoles.

Since 2013, the trend in technology shows rising demand for mobile application. Consumers are becoming increasingly mobile as shown by the rise in online traffic via mobile devices such as phone and tablets. Companies are adopting strategies designed to increase their mobile online presence. Consumers and businesses are becoming mobile dependent and the purveyors of technology have seen and acknowledged this. The work place has slowly moved past the confines of the four walls.

But is Artificial Intelligence the Virtual Assistant of the Future?

Will Siri, Google Now, Moto Assist and Cortana render the human Virtual Assistant useless and obsolete?

A.I. has the advantage of directly accessing information from the World Wide Web and relaying these to the user faster and more accurately. Its special program features allow the A.I. to detect activity and respond accordingly through implanted default options. If you receive a call or message while driving, Moto Assist will send an audio or text response that you are unavailable to take the call or read the message at the moment.

Certainly, A.I has made life easier. But for all its technological advantages, A.I. will never supplant the human VA because of its inherent flaws:

  • Inability to Provide Feedback – A.I is limited only by what its set of instructions provides. It will not be able to engage the user further than what it is programmed to do or say. The human VA is capable of feedback because he or she can rely on intuition and thought. Feedback is necessary to arrive at faster resolution and to procure valuable data on performance.
  • Inability to Scale up Performance – The A.I can perform only up to the capability of its operating system. It will not move to extend itself above and beyond what it is programmed to do because it is limited by its own coding system. The human virtual assistant can perform above and beyond what he or she is expected to do because they are not constrained by programs or codes. While an A.I. needs to be upgraded the human organism only needs to draw from passion and commitment to extend himself or herself past physical and emotional limitations.
  • Inability to Establish Emotional Connectivity – The term “Personal” in personal assistant services and “Customer” in customer service implies an interaction with a human organism; an entity that is capable of feeling, emotion and rationale. Emotional connectivity is crucial in resolving issues, building markets and creating brand loyalty. The A.I’s inability to establish emotional connectivity has been parodied by Hollywood in movies like “S1mOne” and “Her” where the user experiences unrequited love.

Technology will continue to design more advanced A.I systems for virtual assistance services but it will never replace the value of the human V.A. because it is as described “artificial”; it will never completely relate to one that is organic in origin.