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Think 2018 is IBM’s flagship conference where thinkers like you come together to innovate and educate—making the world of business work smarter. Together we will explore the journey to cloud and AI, blockchain, security, and Infrastructure discovering partnerships that unlock business and human potential.

In the final week of our 4-week series we first look at AI and how our attendees will experience this game changing technology at Think 2018.

What is AI, and specifically Watson? Watson is the AI platform for business, powered by data. As an AI system, Watson can turn unstructured business data into actionable insights that enhance decision making.

IBM brings you the experts in AI so you can learn and experience it for yourself. Read on to learn about where you can find AI at Think 2018.

 

Contents


You’re probably talking to a bot, and that’s okay
Featured AI sessions
AI speakers
AI at Think Academy
Experience AI
Next Steps – There’s so much more to Think

 

You’re probably talking to a bot, and that’s okay

If you were to guess, how much time have you spent waiting on hold for customer service? According to market research from ResearchNow, people spend 10 – 20 minutes on hold waiting for customer service in any given week. Add it all together, and that’s up to 43 days over the course of the average lifespan. Just think what you could do with that extra time! In the same study, researchers found that more than 80 percent of people are put on hold every time they contact a business. 80 percent!

Many companies are reducing hold times by creating customer service systems based largely on email, but it doesn’t take long for a massive backlog to develop, meaning you might wait longer than a day for an answer to your pressing question.

Fortunately, companies like Autodesk are using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service.

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Autodesk employs a staff of 350 internal and external customer support agents who manage more than one million customer and partner interactions every year. Roughly half of those questions are simple customer queries that can easily be identified and answered—such as account updates, contract problems, technical issues, activation code requests, and so on. Unfortunately, every time a customer service agent spends time helping one customer with a simple task, another customer must wait for them to finish that task in order to receive service.

With the AI capabilities of IBM Watson Conversation Service, Autodesk is automating the resolution of simpler tasks, freeing up customer service staff to focus on more complex questions. Autodesk used Watson to build their own Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA) in order to quickly identify and answer their most common customer queries—24/7. AVA recognizes the intent behind customer queries with Watson’s natural language capabilities, uses keywords and phrases to parse the conversation’s context, and returns high-confidence answers quickly and effectively. Since implementing AVA, Autodesk has sped up their response time by 99 percent. That means they’ve reduced their average response time from 38 hours to just 6 minutes!

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For every future customer interaction, AVA will essentially be the first stop. Since AVA’s been trained extensively on Autodesk’s consolidated body of knowledge, AVA can easily recognize different types of customer queries and either provide an answer or redirect the question to customer service staff. AVA’s original catalogue of knowledge came from chat logs, use cases, and forum posts. But as of today, AVA has analyzed more than 14 million sentences for keywords, entities, phrases, clusters, and other telling speech and language patterns.

As it operates, AVA will continue to process conversations and expand its understanding of the nuance, meaning, and context associated with its customers’ queries. That’s the beauty of AI—it never stops learning. Over time, AVA will become more and more capable of handling different customer questions by drawing from the expertise of an ever-growing number of internal resources.

These days, we have near immediate access to just about anything we could want, but useful help has always been a bit more elusive. Finally, with the AI capabilities of Watson, Autodesk is fundamentally changing the way companies answer our most pressing questions.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. AI is actively changing the world in so many ways right now. At Think 2018, you’ll have the chance to talk directly with AI experts about these capabilities and so much more.

Featured AI sessions

Come learn how AI is changing the way people live, work, and play all over the world. Listed here are just some of the comprehensive sessions that can help you master AI at Think. Use the Watson Session Explorer to add any of these talks to your Think 2018 agenda.

Explore with Watson Session Expert

AI for professionals

Session #8800A

Professionals are putting AI to work to turn our most valuable resource – data – into new ways of doing business. With AI, we are no longer wrestling with data, but using it to recommend with confidence, accelerate research and discovery, and enrich interactions with customers – on their terms. Discover how companies in various industries around the world are putting IBM Watson – an AI platform that embeds in workflows, learns from small data sets and allows you to own your insights – to work. Uncover the outcomes others are seeing to learn the many ways you can put AI to work today and hear the latest Watson announcements.

The future of AI

Session #8840A

As computing becomes increasingly powerful and oceans of data deepen further, the breadth of AI’s capabilities will grow. And we will find ways to integrate AI into nearly every aspect of how we work. IBM Research’s Vice President of AI Science, Alexander Gray, will share what IBM Research is working on to address the future capabilities of AI. He’ll cover teaching machines how to perform data science work automatically, creating the next wave of fundamental AI methodology, and new ways to perform the computations at the heart of AI.

 

Getting Started with AI: Data Needed, Use Cases, Time to Value

Session #8807A

Putting AI to work gives a thinking business distinct advantages over an ordinary one. Beyond optimizing the tasks, we already do, AI enables entirely new ways of doing business. But where do you start?

Watson and Cloud Platform Vice President of Expert & Delivery Services, Toby Cappello, discusses the many uses case for AI with businesses who are transforming their industry with Watson. Learn what data they brought to the table, the time to value and the outcomes with Watson.

Bringing Humanity to AI at Autodesk: Emotional Intelligence and Diversity

Session #4944A

Building emotional intelligence and diversity into Autodesk’s AI is both critical to customer retention and directly impacts brand perception. To be a truly customer-focused company, we need to employ emotional intelligence in all customers interactions, including digital, and design our experiences to reflect the diversity of the locales we operate in. To start this session, Rachael Cotton will explore the role of emotional intelligence in Autodesk Virtual Agent. Danny Guillory will then discuss why and how to ensure diversity and inclusion when developing AI. Autodesk is striving for emotionally intelligent customer interactions by injecting human-like attributes into AVA through persona, look and feel (avatar), and added “signal.”

 

Getting Started with AI: Data Needed, Use Cases, Time to Value

Session #8807A

Putting AI to work gives a thinking business distinct advantages over an ordinary one. Beyond optimizing the tasks we already do, AI enables entirely new ways of doing business. But where do you start? Watson and Cloud Platform Vice President of Expert & Delivery Services, Toby Cappello, discusses the many uses case for AI with the help of motor company Honda, the largest Brazilian bank Bradesco, and multinational software corporation, Autodesk. Learn what data they brought to the table, the time to value for AI, and the outcomes you can expect with Watson.

 


 

AI speakers

Our visionary speakers are overcoming society’s most daunting challenges with a mix of technical prowess and real-world insights — and they’ll show you how to do the same.

Think with the world’s brightest

Dr. John E. Kelly III
Senior Vice President, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research

bridget-kralingenExplore the science behind the AI revolution and the tremendous opportunity being unleashed for businesses and society along the AI journey. Dr. John Kelly III will showcase the state and future of AI technology and IBM’s progress in working with thousands of clients as they integrate AI into their operations, looking closely at how new knowledge is being discovered, acquired and scaled. Join Dr. Kelly and special guests to examine the underlying complexities of developing and applying these new AI technologies and how AI is being applied within healthcare to transform essential disciplines from drug discovery, oncology and patient care.

Dr. John Kelly is senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research. He is focused on IBM’s investments in several of the fastest-growing and most strategic parts of the technology market, including IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, IBM Watson Health, IBM Watson Internet of Things, IBM Watson Customer Engagement and IBM Security. He is also responsible for IBM Research and the company’s Intellectual Property team.

Gary Reedy
Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society, Inc.

marie-wieckExplore the science behind the AI revolution and the tremendous opportunity being unleashed for businesses and society along the AI journey. Gary Reedy, CEO, American Cancer Society, Inc. will join Dr. John Kelly III to examine the underlying complexities of developing and applying these new AI technologies and how AI is being applied within healthcare to transform essential disciplines from drug discovery, oncology and patient care.

As CEO, Reedy is leading the organization to become the new American Cancer Society – the most relevant and powerfully impactful cancer-fighting organization in the world. He has a laser focus on customer experience, stewardship, and innovation. And under his leadership, the organization has set a historic goal to double its annual research funding to approximately $240 million by 2021. The increase aims to dramatically grow what is already the largest and arguably most successful nonprofit research program in the nation.

 

Dr. Michio Kaku
Renowned Physicist, Futurist, and Popularizer of Science

bettina-warburgInternationally-recognized futurist and popularizer of science, Dr. Michio Kaku offers a stunning and provocative vision of the future. Join the co-founder of String Field Theory as he predicts trends based on the latest frontiers in science and technology.

 


 

AI at Think Academy

$1000s worth of value in training, certifications, labs, and expert talks. Become an expert and learn about the technology that is changing the way the world works. Learn more about some of our highlighted labs below:

Reimagine learning with Think Academy

How to build a chatbot with IBM Watson

Session #8609A

In this lab, you will get the hands on experience you need to start building a chatbot that can interact with users in natural language. You will learn how to provision a service on IBM Cloud, and how to use the Watson Conversation service and its graphical web-based tooling to teach a chatbot how to answer questions, prompt for information, and make recommendations.

Integrate Watson Discovery into your Salesforce applications

Session #8622A

In this lab, you will learn about how to integrate Watson services with Salesforce applications using the Watson Apex SDK. Specifically, you will use the Watson Discovery service, which enables powerful natural language enrichments of unstructured text data. Now is the perfect time to learn how to bring Watson services into Salesforce applications.

 

How to train Watson to understand your business language

Session #8618B

With IBM Watson’s Speech-to-Text service, discover how you can train Watson to more precisely learn your unique domain speech patterns, as well as how easy it is to use our speech recognition service in general. You will get hands-on experience on the following:

  1. Make a recognition request with one of 8 audio file formats that we support
  2. Request up to 9 outputs to be returned in addition to your audio file transcription for added intelligence and usability on the data returned
  3. Apply our new language and acoustic model customization features to get even more accurate in your speech transcription

 


 

Experience AI

The Watson Primer

The Watson Primer is an immersive exploration of Watson’s capabilities. A space designed to educate and inspire attendees to think about how they might apply the capabilities in their own profession.

 


 

We can’t wait to show you Think 2018

Watch Think 2018 on demand and learn all about the ways your business can put smart to work. We hope you enjoy the keynotes, interviews, and sessions, and we can’t wait to see you in San Francisco in 2019!

 

Audience Engagement Writer and Editor

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