Pega iNspire Speakers See AI Becoming More Pervasive

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There are plenty of opportunities for companies and people to benefit from the power of artificial intelligence, but there are still many concerns about the technology as well, Rob Walker,  general manager of 1:1 customer engagement at Pegasystems, said during his keynote that kicked off the second day of the PegaWorld iNspire '23 conference in Las Vegas.

A person will be able to ask for a pizza for lunch, with AI searching for local pizza places, checking reviews and placing the order for delivery. “I'm sure that the third of us that are really worried about this will think, 'oh, it's only a matter of time until it eats our lunch as well'.”

Though much of what generative AI does is transparent, much of it is opaque, making it hard to see everything that is going on, Walker said. "These large language models have ingested billions of documents. That's just a fraction of its inputs.”

With all of that information, there is certainly plenty that AI can do, but it still has inconsistencies so it needs to operate in tandem with humans who can recognize and make adjustments for those inconsistencies, according to Walker.

However, though there are limitations, AI can look at thousands of elements and deliver answers within milliseconds – far faster than a human, he added. 

Consumers have confidence in AI as a tool for transforming their customer experiences, but they also have growing concerns over AI’s increased prevalence in other disciplines, according to a new study from Pega, conducted by Savanta.

Two-thirds of survey respondents agreed that AI can improve customer service, while more than half (54 percent) said companies using AI will be more likely to offer better benefits to customers compared to businesses that don’t.

There was lower (47 percent) comfort in interacting with well-tested AI services from businesses.

"As applications like Midjourney and ChatGPT bring AI to the masses, it's no surprise that we're seeing a degree of conflict. Let's not forget, many people are already accepting the benefits this technology can bring; after all, asking Alexa or Siri a question is nothing new for most consumers," Walker said "However, it's also perhaps inevitable that as the spotlight on this technology intensifies, so does the level of fear and uncertainty around some of the more science-fiction influenced doomsday scenarios surrounding it. As these concerns grow, the need for organizations to demonstrate greater transparency in the outcomes these AI systems produce and perform ethical bias tests to check how it behaves at all times becomes clear.”

Walker added: "What we're seeing is that while people seem more comfortable than ever using AI, they'd rather hold it at arms' length when it comes to dealing with big, impactful decisions. Consumers are still expressing a strong desire to retain human interactions as a key part of the way they interact with organizations."

Using AI in a meaningful way should have built-in controls, policies that control where these opaque algorithms are acceptable, with transparent AI mandated, according to Walker. 

Autonomous Enterprises Are Emerging

Companies are already using autonomy and AI in various elements of their businesses, from adaptive models in customer decision hubs to voice and messaging AI to digitally interact with customers, said Don Schuerman, Pega's chief technology officer. "The autonomous enterprise isn't going to explode overnight; it's something that we're going to evolve continuously into."

Companies already have many of the elements they need for the autonomous enterprise, according to Schuerman. "But the challenge isn't the individual pieces, it's stitching them all together in a way that acts consistently and predictably."

Many companies are already well on their way to becoming autonomous enterprises, but even they likely still have many manual, unmanaged processes, Schuerman added. "As you automate more work, you're building data, history about how that work has gotten done. That allows your work to become self-learning."

AI or adaptive models that listen to feedback to more accurately predict the right action to take during the process is another precursor for becoming autonomous. But that technology needs to integrate with workflow automation and a central business architecture to work across channels and systems, Schuerman said. Companies need a recipe for all of these elements to work together.

The ingredients for an autonomous enterprise include AI-powered decisioning, workflow automation, low-code, channel interdependence, generative AI, and business rules to govern the AI, as well as many other technologies, Schureman added. "What we've built is the low-code platform for AI-powered decisioning and workflow automation to bring you toward this autonomous enterprise so that you have everything you need."

Pega will help companies harness the power of generative AI, Schuerman added. "We're really excited about what's in Infinity 23. This structure and architecture is going to allow us to do some really cool things in the future."

Beyond the features available in Infinity 23, Pega is working on self-optimizing processes and other improvements that will be included in future iterations of the technology.

Pega Cloud solutions are now available on Google Cloud as a fully managed as-a-service offering, Pega announced. The combination is designed to provide customers with a scalable, secure cloud solution for workflow automation solutions.

With the arrangement, joint Pega and Google Cloud customers can now aggregate customer behavior events with Google's Big Query data warehouse and ingest them into Pega Customer Decision Hub to provide pre-summarized insights for Pega's adaptive AI-powered decisioning models. 

In the future, joint clients will also be able to incorporate Google’s generative AI services with Pega Infinity. 

"The availability of Pega Cloud on Google Cloud will offer tremendous value to our clients by providing the security, reliability, and scalability our clients demand for deploying and managing their Pega applications" Frank Guerrera, Pega's chief technical systems officer, said in a statement.

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