Cogito Blog

The AI Coaching Series: What is Human-Aware Technology and How Does it Work?

Joel Makhluf

Human-aware technology or human-aware augmented intelligence is a system that combines the skills of humans and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. The idea is that it can achieve better performance than either the human or the technology can alone. Working synergistically with humans, human-aware technology includes aspects of intelligence that help humans work with each other, including emotional and social intelligence.

Human-aware technology opens new doors for technological augmentation in areas it hasn’t existed in before. An example of this today is “smart” prosthetics, which lean on human-machine interfaces that help prosthetic limbs really feel like an extension of the body, like the robotic arm being developed at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Complete with human-like reflexes and sensations, the robotic arm contains sensors that give feedback on temperature and vibration, as well as collect the data to mimic what human limbs are able to detect. As a result, it responds to thought much like a normal arm.

Human-aware technology knows no bounds as it increasingly becomes a part of our everyday lives. From smart prosthetics to smart coaching, human-aware technology can elevate human abilities and pave the way for human achievement in a way we’ve never been able to before.  

Leveling the Playing Field 

Technological advancements have paved the way for human-aware technology, dating back to the 1960s. This is when AI-enabled coaching was first designed to fill critical gaps by retaining and developing high performers. 

Built during a study conducted in the MIT AI lab, the first-ever AI-enabled “coach” was a chatbot named ELIZA. Programmed to simulate a session with a psychotherapist using basic natural language processing technology, ELIZA made some users believe they were actually chatting with a real human.

Over 60 years later, human-aware technology applications are on the rise in the learning and development space. Allowing for more immediate feedback and assistance without the involvement of a human, AI coaching technology aids managers in supporting their teams at a much higher efficiency.

What Human-Aware Tech Looks Like in Practice

Today, an advanced use of human-aware technology is Cogito’s AI Coaching System, where in the call center many agents field incoming calls under the guidance of one or just a few directors. This is especially relevant now as the pandemic has forced call centers to adapt to hybrid and remote work models, physically separating agents even further from the support of their directors.

Designed to systematically understand and guide professionals based on their unique strengths, weaknesses and circumstances, Cogito’s AI Coaching System understands human behavior, provides personalized contextual guidance and powerful insights throughout the call center ecosystem.

Further, supervisors can virtually “walk the floor” with real-time dashboards that measure customer experience, as well as agent interactions. They are automatically alerted to calls in which a customer is having a poor experience, and have the ability to proactively listen to live calls. And it’s true that even the high performers have bad days, so in addition to elevating low performers, the AI Coaching System is essential for maintaining consistent performance at all levels. Unlike other solutions in the market, this technology can help close the performance gap by giving low and high performers the tools they need to be successful. 

Designed for sales and service agents, Cogito’s AI software aids in increasing productivity, employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Consider, with the help of Cogito’s AI Coaching System, organizations have reported up to:

  • 10% reduction in average handle time
  • 16% increase in first call resolution
  • 5% decrease in employee turnover
  • 16% increase in customer satisfaction 
  • 12% increase in deal close rates

Human-aware technology is just one of the three pillars that make AI coaching possible today. The next part of this three-part blog series will cover the ecosystem that is required to support this system. From voice streams to API integrations, we’ll discuss where Cogito plugs into the call center tech stack. After that, we’ll finish the series by touching on the last pillar: ensuring behavior change.