We'll spend more time talking to computers

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The industry organization Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) and conversational technology industry consultancy, TMA Associates, announce a new virtual conference, the Bots and Assistants Conference, November 10-11, to help companies understand the opportunities generated by the rapidly evolving option of using human language to connect with computers. The conference is optimized for the virtual environment, accessible anywhere and with opportunities to ask speakers questions and network with other attendees with similar interests.

The Bots & Assistants Conference

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Once only science fiction, conversing with digital systems has become a daily activity for many of us. We talk with our smartphones using digital assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant, as well as with home speakers and newer cars. We speak to computers on customer service lines and text with company chatbots on web sites.

Conversations with computers is in its early stages, but the technology, driven by advances in computer power and a major investment in development of the technology by many companies, will continue to improve.

This new user interface option will grow rapidly in both its effectiveness and its use. It will be a major alternative to web search - Just say or text what you want.

"As they become more ubiquitous, digital assistants will also learn our preferences, our contacts, and other information we allow it to retain," said William Meisel, president, TMA Associates and the conference organizer. "They will become increasingly personal assistants."

Companies must recognize that this is a major trend, he added, as important as the Graphical User Interface and the Web were to the evolution of everyone connecting with computers. The conference addresses how they can they best take advantage of this opportunity.

The Bots and Assistants Conference has gone well beyond simply converting an in-person conference to an online conference. Among other differences, it has a virtual exhibit hall during the conference and afterward - a 'Demo Derby' - that attendees can visit to see how vendors can help them take advance of this major trend.

Vendors provide a wide range of tools, including:

  • Template-like tools for specific types of tasks or specific industries: Tuning of the conversation to a specific company is quick, and companies can manage changes with minimal expertise in conversational technology within the bounds of the template.
  • Versatile digital assistant and chatbot platforms, usually cloud-based, that allow more flexibility and hands-on tuning by company developers, without requiring any expertise in Natural Language Processing (NLP) or speech recognition.
  • Individual tools that can be combined by company developers that want even more control. These include NLP, speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, analysis of unstructured text or voice files to find what customers ask and unearth potential answers, and more.

"There is an important aspect of this trend that is seldom noted. It is driving AI technology that can provide direct answers, not just a list of web sites that might contain the answer," Meisel added. "Providing an answer can maintain a conversation instead of driving the user out of the conversation. And an answer is what a user wants. Delivering what users want is an important aspect of this trend."

The conference has a limited-time early registration discount. Check it out!

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