Image this. Your phone rings and a pleasant voice starts talking to you about your recent visit to your favorite restaurant. You reply, and a conversation follows. The voice responds and you are convinced that you are speaking with a person… but you aren’t! Instead you are speaking to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that is so advanced that you can’t tell that it’s not a live person. Science fiction?  Not anymore.

Recently Google demonstrated Google Duplex. This appointment program has passed the famed Turing test for AI, which requires that the program be able to convince a human that he or she was conversing with another person. The implications for businesses are astounding.  With this type of technology, a restaurant chain could figure out that you usually like going out for a drink and dinner on Thursday’s.  The AI could call you, offer to save you a table, place the order for your favorite meal and—in the guise of a quirky bartender—offer to create a unique drink and have it waiting for you when you arrive.

Again, science fiction? Nope! This technology is currently in place at TGI Friday and has resulted in more than doubling their off-premises business to over 10% of sales. That is $300 million in revenue being driven by AI to this chain.

With the growth of AI technology, small businesses in Wyoming will soon compete with national chains on such customized services and personal interaction. How will your small business meet the challenge? Small businesses have recently leveraged AI to help with their operations such as using chat bots for their website customer support, screening candidates via third party AI-powered software, or machine learning accounting software that keeps your bookkeeping straight.

The Wyoming Small Business Development Network can assist you with finding ways to market your business that are effective and affordable and up-to-date with these latest technology trends—including AI—along a wide-range of free and confidential services to help your business succeed. To get started, contact any one of our regional offices.

About the author:

Mike Lambert is the manager and first employee of the Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center.  In over 15 years Mike has built an information resource for Wyoming businesses that is unique in the nation. The MRC specializes in providing any Wyoming business with access to advanced marketing information that was previously available only to a few of the largest corporations. Mike’s individual expertise also includes marketing, product management, product development, international trade and export.


When he’s not in the office:

Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters and grandkids, reading or woodworking.

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