ASAE 2019 Annual Meeting Recaps

Applicable AI: Practical Uses of Artificial Intelligence

By Association Adviser staff • August 15, 2019

Artificial intelligence is technology that many people use in their daily lives, but it’s one that associations have been slower to adopt so far. Amith Nagarajan of rasa.io demysitfied some of the fears and unknowns surrounding the tech during the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition.

For generations, Nagarajan said, we have had to learn to speak computerese, but now natural language processing is allowing computers to understand our speech and writing, which flips the script. AI uses that information and other tools to learn on its own and deliver a more customizable experience to members.

For associations, that means a lot of new opportunities hitting the market now and in the near future. It’s the start of a conversation for many associations, and one that may require a shift in culture to adopt a spirit of experimentation and a willingness to learn.

Nagarajan shared four specific ways that AI could be adapted by associations at all levels:

  1. Chat bots
  2. Virtual assistants (e.g., Siri and Alexa)
  3. Smart inboxes and email responses
  4. Personalized learning

What makes it the perfect time to experiment with new technologies like the above, even if they don’t work perfectly the first time, is the current level of increased computing power, the data available to associations, a plethora of inexpensive tools on the market, and real-world applications that members’ see in their own lives.

AI, while there does need to be a real discussion about security, ethical and privacy, is nothing to fear. The benefits, including reduced staff time spent on redundant tasks and a more valuable user experience, far outweigh the risks.