By Tim Joyce

Tim Joyce, CIO at WDS, A Xerox Company

“Brands will be able to map customer lifecycles and predict future interactions with every customer, as well as potential issues that are likely to occur.” – Tim Joyce, CIO at WDS, A Xerox Company

In a world where concepts, like the Internet of things, are fast becoming a reality, machine learning has emerged as a key player. But what is meant by “machine learning”?

An arm of computer science and artificial intelligence, machine learning focuses on the development of programs that can learn from data, adapt to changes, and improve performance with experience. In short, machine learning is making one of computer science’s initial dreams a reality: Technology that emulates the human mind, computers that can see, hear, and understand.

An integral part of cognitive technology, machine learning systems are able to adapt and progress without the need for explicit programming. Thus, systems that learn from real-time data are more attuned to your customers’ needs,  and more dynamic.

Scientists at Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE) have been developing new machine learning capabilities since the early 1990s. Here, Guillaume Bouchard, a senior scientist at XRCE, describes what machine learning is, and how we anticipate it transforming the delivery of customer care.

The Opportunity of Data Captured from Multiple Touch-Points

The different touch-points from which tomorrow’s, and increasingly, today’s data is captured, means that a combined omni-channel collection of data will empower machine learning systems to learn continuously from every exchange — even from the use of the product or service itself.

This collective data will highlight patterns across customer-bases, and give brands deeper insights into each customer, based on the data captured from them and other customers with similar attributes. From this, brands will be able to map customer lifecycles and predict future interactions with every customer as well as potential issues that are likely to occur.

These technological innovations mean that in the future, customer care systems will adopt a different manner and tone of voice with different customers, based on previous interactions with them. This will pave the way for the next big step in brand-customer relationships.

Machines That Think Like Humans?

Looking ahead, with advances in artificial intelligence technology, machines will successfully emulate human cognition. This will take the potential to serve customers to different frontiers. Imagine healthcare virtual agents with the ability to diagnose ailments based on camera-time with the patient, or a virtual banker that is able to walk first-time homebuyers through the complexities of mortgages, and answer their specific questions with answers that are directly and explicitly relevant to their circumstances.

It’s exciting to consider the future technologies such as machine learning, but what’s more exciting is this journey has in fact already started. Today, WDS, A Xerox Company, is integrating machine learning research from the Xerox Research Centre Europe to deliver a truly cognitive virtual agent platform. Learn more here.

This article was first published on the WDS blog.

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