The Emerging Era of Natural Language Processing and Conversational Commerce Science fiction has long imagined humans interacting with machines using the same language that we use to interact with each other. Until very recently however, humans had to learn to speak computer languages; be that with punch cards, coding, the graphical user interface or a limited set of predefined voice commands. Now however, with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, the onus of that education is moving to computers. The rapidly developing field of natural language processing (NLP), a subset of artificial intelligence technology, is making what science fiction imagined a reality.
Today humans can address a smart phone, connected speaker or other interface the same as they might a friend on the other end. In fact two out of three U.S. adults are already engaging with technology this way. They are regularly asking for directions or registering complaints with retailers through text-based chatbots on merchants’ websites. A growing number of consumers have expanded these interactions to e-commerce activities, using natural language technology to make purchases, pay bills, send money, or bank online. PrimaryrResearch indicates that nearly 9 out of 10 adults in the United States are aware of
NLP technologies and are beginning to grasp their beneficial impact on their digital lives.
This paper summarizes results from an online U.S. consumer survey of 3,000 adult panel members conducted in August 2017 in partnership with Mercator Advisory Group. The survey questionnaire explored a wide range of awareness, attitudinal, and behavioral questions about U.S. consumers’ current and future use of NLP technologies.