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Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in southwestern Florida yesterday with winds of 150 miles per hour, knocking out power for millions of residents. The near Category 5 storm has been called one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in decades. But officials say artificial intelligence (AI) is a new weapon in the fight to keep communication lines open during a disaster and also better predict the intensity of hurricanes in the future.
With emergency hotlines, hospitals and utility call centers flooded with calls, talking to a voicebot in a time of fear and anxiety can help, says Sourabh Gupta, CEO of augmented voice intelligence platform skit. (He added that Skit is not being used as an aid to Hurricane Ian.)
“Voice AI is able to engage in context-specific, effective conversations with customers, without the need for human intervention,” Gupta told VentureBeat. “In a sensitive or dangerous situation, voice AI can be used to provide customers with critical information in real time, answer questions and route the more complex calls to a human agent.”
Voice AI is faster and more efficient than more traditional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology at providing time-sensitive information and transferring incoming calls to the right party because it can handle a human-sounding, two-way interaction with customers. said.
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The digital voice agent also sounds natural and empathetic, Gupta said. “Due to the agility of the technology, new use cases and conversation flows can be added continuously through the platform.”
Augmented voice intelligence platforms like Skit are designed to help companies modernize their contact centers by automating and enhancing voice communications at scale. “By enabling preventive, intelligent troubleshooting and seamless live interactions, we help companies across industries streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs and improve the customer experience,” said Gupta.
The platform integrates easily with other applications and provides detailed statistics and analytics, Gupta said. It supports multilingual, natural-sounding conversations that can be hyper-personalized depending on usage and customer, he added.
Skit’s digital voice agent “can handle an unlimited number of incoming calls simultaneously, eliminating wait times, which can be particularly frustrating in times of emergency,” Gupta said. “By handling the most common customer inquiries, the digital voice agent increases contact center containment and redirects the most complex calls to a human agent.”
This doesn’t take away jobs, Gupta said. “The speech AI is designed to lighten the workload of customer service reps and increase their workload, rather than take over their jobs completely. We predict that AI will improve existing products, help organizations and employees maximize productivity by improving accuracy, and simplify existing processes.”
Gupta claimed that speech AI will “promote customer service and customer experiences as a whole” and actually help create new types of jobs.
“For example, Skit’s digital voice agent helps automate unproductive calls, allowing staff to focus on more value-added tasks,” he said, creating better opportunities for human agents to focus on more important and several functions.
Using AI to stay ahead of the storm
Before there is a weather emergency, AI is also being used to develop forecasting models that can help predict more accurately when, where and how strongly hurricanes can strike.
By 2021, researchers from the US Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a model to better predict hurricane intensity in both the near future and under future climate scenarios. The team used deep learning techniques to develop the model, which on average can more accurately predict hurricane intensity compared to models used nationally — on a commercial laptop, according to the PNNL.
The researchers provided information to algorithms that can detect relationships between hurricane behavior and climate factors such as heat stored in the ocean, wind speed and air temperature, the PNNL said. The algorithms then form predictions about which path a storm might take, how strong it might get, and how quickly it might intensify.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that: the intensity of hurricanes will increase by an average of 1% to 10% in a warmer future, which brings greater destruction, according to models predicting global warming of two degrees Celsius. So being able to predict where a hurricane will hit and how strong it will be could make all the difference in evacuating the right people at the right time.
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