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Retail Q&A AI

Learns to answer customer's questions
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In most retail businesses, the vast majority of questions that customers ask are questions that were asked in the past by previous customers.

What I propose is an AI, with voice analysis software, that eavesdrops on customer / employee interactions, and builds a database of questions and their typical answers.

After a suitable learning period, an interface would be set up which would allow customers to ask their questions to the AI, which would then display a list of the most common employee responses.

A typical database entry would be something like, "What aisle are lightbulbs in?" -> { "Lightbulbs are in aisle ten." , "Aisle ten on the left" , "One aisle to your left, on the left hand side" }.

In it's simplest form, the AI wouldn't need to actually understand the questions or the answers, merely store what it's heard in the past, and regurgitate responses.

A more advanced form would have a map of the aisles of the store, with a pre-programmed knowledge of what front, back, left, right, and distances (like what "halfway down the aisle"). While learning, it would recognize directions to products in the store, and instead of learning the phrases used to give those directions, it would learn the products' locations. Once product locations are known, creating answer phrases that give customers directions to products should be relatively easy.

Another advanced option would be integration with inventory tracking, and a database of what products are scheduled to arrive when. Thus, if a customer asks for directions to a product which is out of stock, the AI could tell him or her, "Sorry, we're out of stock of Windex; we should have more in by next tuesday. The usual location for Windex is in aisle eight on the left."

Mics for eavesdropping would be placed unobtrusively throughout the store, customer interaction with the AI might be through something like an Asimo.

goldbb, May 07 2009

Fork Handles http://www.youtube....watch?v=Cz2-ukrd2VQ
Classic 'Two Ronnies' sketch. [DrBob, May 08 2009]


       Fork Handles?
zen_tom, May 08 2009

       I predict lots of naughty people reading out carefully scripted fake employee/customer conversations right next to these microphones ("Cucumbers, Madam? Yes, they're in the Sex Toys aisle").
hippo, May 08 2009

       The AI would lear quite a wide array of answers for the undying :"Where do i find those fiddly things, you know, the ones used to - how do you call it?"
loonquawl, May 08 2009

       I've seen something like this, folks. It was the product about gesture and recognition of human communication.   

       They had an animated character who could talk about estate agent (real estate) issues. It was a moderate, workable success.   

       Some of this work is has filtered through already with more expressive 3D avatars that fidget occasionally.
Aristotle, May 08 2009


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