Technological advances are making it easier for humans and machines to converse—and smart businesses are moving from digital functionality to personality.

Ever since the legendary Golem of Prague, people have struggled with their perception of how artificial intelligence and humankind would interact. Until recently, human-machine conversations have been isolated to a series of rigid commands, without the accompanying range of emotional information found in human conversation. But that is quickly changing as technological advances turn science fiction into reality. Here are some recent examples:

  • The Aldebaran humanoid robot that detects emotions through both vocal analysis and facial recognition.
  • Emotient’s real-time facial expression recognition software.
  • Smartcardia’s product that allows emotions to control Internet-connected objects.

For businesses like insurance companies, these advances are creating the possibility of some profound new ways to connect with our consumers, which leads us to:

Trend No. 3: As advances in technology enable more natural human-machine interactions, businesses need to evolve their digital personalities.

Although voice and facial recognition examples in the insurance space are still rare—USAA is the first financial institution to offer facial recognition as an authentication option to its clients—many insurers are working to “humanize” their brands. For example, Allianz UK has partnered with the popular Mumsnet website to talk about school run stress with a “paid-for” discussion on the topic, which has created almost 100,000 conversations on Mumsnet alone.

Through conversations with parents via online channels, Allianz aimed to highlight that as the world’s largest car insurer, it understands the issues people face in their everyday lives and can help them manage these challenges when the going gets rough. It’s a terrific example of how an insurer can engage with its target audience, not by commands, but through dialogue.

Other ways Fjord recommends insurers engage with customers:

  • Find your brand’s personality and incorporate it into your digital touchpoints. For example, infuse digital “smiles” into your ecosystems.
  • Think about emotionally responsive user interfaces.
  • Incorporate emojis into your messaging, notification and authentication platforms.
  • Start a robot strategy: How would your brand find a presence with retail robots acting as your digital delivery platform?
  • Consider gestures in making your service more human: Are there elements of your business that could benefit from a gesture-based interface?
Fjord Trends 2015: Trends Impacting Design & Innovation
Read the report.

From these examples, it is clear that the fast paced development of cognitive machine learning combined with data analytics will offer insurers many more options to radically humanize and personalize their client interactions.

Next week, we will continue our examination of Fjord’s Trends 2015 with a look at how digital disruption blends the digital and physical worlds.

For more information, download the full survey results of the Fjord Trends 2015 study.

 

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