Introduction to AI and BOT
The idea of machine intelligence has been in existence in human history for more than half a century now. But in the recent years, this idea has started to assume a more serious and organized shape and direction in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) originating from the field of science and technology and now strongly driven by its business applications.
The basic idea behind AI is to empower machines with human-like intelligence so that machines/devices can execute tasks for us with minimal or no human intervention. This is a fascinating idea that tickles human imagination which hardly knows any bound. Rudimentary but remarkable achievements have been made by humans in the field of AI applications.
BOTs (colloquial short version for the word ‘robot’) are automated software programs which run on digital networks and are designed to operate on their own or based on the inputs received. BOTs can perform a wide range of constructive functions of varied nature like conversational, transactional, informational etc towards automating or simplifying human tasks. For example, chatbots are conversational software programs with the ability to interact with humans through communication devices like computer, smartphones, touch screens etc. When we say conversational, it means chatbots are programmed to receive inputs and deliver output in human-comprehensible language formats like texts, images (AV) and voice. If you are a smartphone user, you might already be using one of the many chatbots like Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Alexa (Amazon) etc. Crawlers are another type of BOTs used by search engines to optimize search results. There are many other types of BOTs and BOTs can be broadly classified based on their functions and intent. Throughout this article, we are referring to or intend to refer to the BOTs/bots which are used for ethical and legitimate business applications only.

Coming together of AI and BOTs
Humans are born with the endeavor to make life easier. The creation of language by humans to communicate with one another is one of the landmark achievements of mankind and communication will continue to be a critical element in the journey of our growth and survival. With the passage of time, communication technologies have evolved from the use of human messengers to the present-day internet-based messenger apps which we can carry in our pockets. With AI and chatbots, we are slowly advancing into yet another advanced communication platform. On one hand, we have AI that seeks to make machines/devices/software applications more intelligent and more aware towards more automation and on the other; we have these bots which can be programmed to execute automated functions and also have objective interactions with humans. There’s a very good case for coalescing the two in a world where timely, reliable, adequate and accurate information-finding and sharing with ease and convenience has become essential (and a preference too) for efficient and effective decision-making. Secondly, digital communication has established firm roots in our communication systems for which we need an easily-accessible, networked, integrated and secure digital communication platform. The remaining tinder is provided by the growing popularity of the chatbots and the progressively evolving might of AI.

AI and BOTs for business
The efficiency and effectiveness of the business intelligence platform and the information system and technologies – put to use by an organization depends on how timely, adequately, accurately and reliably these two can source, sort/process and share the required information with the stakeholders of the organization for decision-making. With the developments in the field of AI, there’s an increasing tendency to make use of it in enhancing business intelligence and optimizing the use of information systems. Let us have a quick glance at how AI-powered bots can help businesses in this pursuit.
The informational requirements of an organization for analysis, insights and decision-making can originate from varied sources located within or outside the organization. AI-powered BOTs can be programmed to collect relevant information from a wide range of sources like the internet, knowledge database, ERPs and MIS, analytics etc and share it with the concerned stakeholders of an organization to facilitate their decision-making processes. Given its superlative ability to source and share information, AI-powered bots can serve as a one-stop integrated and interactive platform for decision-making at all levels of management.

Business users can interact with AI-bots in natural human language (Thanks to advanced APIs) that makes interaction with AI-bots very human-friendly. Interaction with AI-bots can include making queries, reporting, checking real-time updates of business activities, keeping a tab on employees’ performances, giving effect to operational decisions, schedule meetings and bookings and so on. AI-bots can also come with the ability for question and intent analysis.
AI-bots are leading us to more automation in business processes, operations and activities which will render a certain degree of human involvement and business interactions (in-person, phone calls, emails and messaging) futile.
Safety, security and confidentiality of business information stored in digital formats or when exchanged over a network is a priority for business enterprises which is why it becomes important to armor the AI-bots for business application with the most advanced technologies of digital security.

It is not difficult to see how AI will soon touch almost every aspect of our lives – business, education, communication, governance and so on. The ever-expanding scope of AI will take us higher and higher into a world of possibilities earlier envisioned by us only in our imaginations and sci-fi movies. Although we may not be able to endow machines and software applications with human-like sentience and emotional intelligence any time soon with its current abilities businesses can extract cutting-edge competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness by managing information and communication through Artificial Intelligence and BOTs.

Disclaimer: The above content/publication is intended only to provide a general overview and is not to be used as a basis for exercise of any business or professional judgment.

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