Calling into an IVR system, doing a Google search and sending a text message are all activities that require some manner of predictive technology. Predictive call routing, Internet searching and text messaging are technologies that are programmed to think and behave in much the same manner as a human would, like the latest IVR systems.
We interact with predictive technology probably more than we realize or acknowledge, on a daily basis. Currently, technology is able to understand what we are thinking, as we are thinking it (think about when you send a text or enter a search term). Digital enthusiasts, however, are prophesying that technology will eventually able to tell us what we are thinking BEFORE we have had the opportunity to think it.
How? For starters, the massive amount of data (referred to as big data) collected via social media applications has potentially given technology the power to understand human behaviors in a way that even we cannot. Per Datasift founder Nick Halstead, “in the social era, the social-stream of the world is telling us what’s happening now, or will happen.”
Predictive technology can help companies develop systems that will accurately and realistically make sense of the billions of gigs of data input collected and stored daily. This technology will correctly and usefully utilize this critical data mass to assist both companies and consumers in making better decisions, and even informing people of what they actually desire before they themselves have decided.
This is essentially what “faster than real-time” means. The multitude of data that applications collect worldwide will eventually lead to the development of algorithms that can mathematically predict our behavior or know what we want better than we know ourselves.
It’s like a super-IVR. Imagine calling into your bank’s IVR and it knows what you most likely want because it has your call history.
On the one hand, this is pretty cool technology if it can be implemented seamlessly and appropriately. It can help us “improve our own lives by learning about our bodies, finding a job or starting a business.” But on the other hand, isn’t that a bit intrusive? Doesn’t it essentially take away our free will and curb our natural instincts?
It is hard to say and will depend in large part on how the technology is realized. There are very few things in life that are clearly black and white, and more likely than not predictive technology will follow this same pattern.
Some of it will be negative, and allow for unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion, while other components will be extremely positive and help us live the lives we always imagined. At Plum, we like to think of IVR systems that way.