Incredible advances in machine learning are transforming how we engage with the world around us – and it’s happening faster than many of us anticipated.

Gartner analysts predict that by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. IDC research predicts companies will pilot ear-worn wearable devices that work as digital assistants to improve in-person, customer-facing roles by 2019.

By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse

Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) have come a long way in a few short years, stoked by advances in machine learning. Devices with growing “intelligence” can better recognize words and their meaning, and take appropriate action. Experts say more companies will use smart machines to deliver experiences superior to human interactions. In a perfect world, this will dramatically improve customer service and sales, in addition to task management across internal departments from sourcing resources and manufacturing goods to managing people and finances, helping everyone get more work done faster with stronger results. That’s why I was all ears when Sam Yen, chief design officer at SAP, offered to join me at SAP TechEd 2016 Barcelona for a conversation in this video interview about SAP CoPilot.

“Machine learning is touching our personal and work lives,” said Yen. “It’s really where it touches our personal lives where we get a lot of the inspiration for what we do at work. People are getting more used to talking to their devices and getting more contextual information.”

Yen was thrilled by how SAP CoPilot brings the value of Siri-like technology to enterprises. In the video, Maricel Cabahug, senior vice president of Global Design and User Experience at SAP, demonstrated how a purchasing manager can use voice commands – asking questions, issuing orders – to quickly obtain real-time information on customer transactions, speeding up daily processes while bolstering customer relationships.

For at least a decade we’ve been hearing about how companies can use technology to provide a seamless, intuitive experience across devices. Now machine learning technology is finally changing our daily conversations in a huge way.

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