The huge amount of data we generate is a mixed blessing. It gives us better insight into human behavior, but it’s also a lot more stuff to sort through. For helping us wade through our data, and make better use of it, we’ll turn to AI (artificial intelligence) for things as complicated as navigating the sales journey to just figuring out what the doggone temperature is outside.

Christophe Coenraets is the Principal Developer Evangelist for Salesforce. He talks about how our relationship with our data will change as we develop better tools to interact with it, and better insights to learn from it.

1. AI lets us play with data in new ways.

Coenraets: “I've been building apps for many, many years using all the different technologies that came and went and looking at the different ways people access information,” Coenraets says. “Bots caught my attention as a really new disruptive way that people were going to use to access and apply information. It's not ‘read-only’ with data anymore. It’s interactive.”

2. AI streamlines the process, whatever that process is.

“Customer interaction — the sales process — is always the same idea: making information available to customers at their fingertips without asking them to go through hoops or different steps. We base it on what we already about you, and boom! You get the super-targeted information. Basically, it's making the information available to customers in new ways, reducing the friction that customers have to make to get to the information. It can be as simple as what we learn from you, but also the trends that we learn from other other customers like you.”

Basically, AI makes the information available to customers in new ways.

3. AI uses data that was once ignored or thrown away.

“The basic trend we are experiencing today is data overflow. We capture so much data. You get data from everywhere, from devices, from public data sets, from your phone events and applications. Capturing Big Data has been around for a number of years now, and I think people started to realize, ‘Okay, I have that huge amount of data. What do I do with that? How do I make sense of the data? How do I learn from it?’”

4. AI presents you with better future options.

“Capturing data in any kind of vertical or domain is the easy part; the harder part is to make sense of that huge amount of data that you have. It's applicable to anything these days. You can look at the way people use your applications, and that's going to be your data stream. Based on that, the next stream that you present to the user is derived from historical trends or what you learned from other users.

5. AI adapts when you have too many options.

“The way I started my presentation at TrailheaDX was to ask people, OK, tell me the outside temperature.’ And then I asked people, ‘What app did you use to get me that information?’ And you get all sorts of responses. My point was most people don't even know which app to use. Information is getting too hard to get at because you have so many apps that you lose track of which one you use to do what. How do you make these applications smarter?”

6. AI gets better the more data you feed it.

“What makes the difference for a good system is to have pattern analysis. That depends on the field you’re in. Say you're in some kind of sales process: You can analyze the patterns all the way through the sale, from the beginning of your first interaction with the customer all the way to the closing of the deal. If you just focus on a part of the process, you may have false positives. Where you think you're getting a good interaction, it’ll never materialize to your desired outcome. Collecting complete data sets and analyzing patterns within them, all the way to the positive outcome, is what gives you good data.”

Bots, AI, and machine learning are just the next evolution in the focus on user experience.

7. AI focuses on the user.

“AI and machine learning is really at the heart of these smarter, more targeted applications. These apps are user-centric as opposed to system-centric. In the old days, with these system-centric applications, designers didn't really care about the user experience at all. Then, a few years ago, people restarted to refocus on user experience. That became the heart of new systems that were being developed. Bots, AI, and machine learning are just the next evolution in the focus on user experience. They can be used to dramatically improve the user experience in general by either making the application, or the data, more available.”

8. AI makes systems simpler.

“Consumer apps like Facebook and eBay were really starting to focus on customer experience, and designers saw that consumer apps were becoming easier to use — and self-explanatory. You didn't need a course or a user guide. And so there was no reason that other apps, like enterprise apps, couldn't be that way. Some companies were driving that focus on user experience to the point where it became unacceptable to have systems that deliver really poor user experience.”

9. AI knows you don’t care how the sausage is made.

“Designers want the user experience to be simpler and more intuitive. But at the same time, we have a lot more data that we need to process to deliver that UI. So the only way to do that is through the new systems of intelligence to deliver really targeted and relevant data.”

For a company, user experience can be the differentiator between success and failure.

10. AI evolves the user experience.

“It became a competitive advantage for many companies in many industries to deliver user experience because there came a point where ease-of-use became commoditized. Users now expect that all their systems will just work. For a company, user experience can be the differentiator between success and failure. We started by making the graphical user experience better, and now, with AI, we take user experience in unexpected places. Now, it’s not necessarily graphical — it's voice-activated; it’s text-based. It collapses many apps into one seamless experience. It’s not about navigating a bunch of apps; it’s about asking what the weather is and finding out.”