“AI is fundamentally changing how we develop apps and what apps can do, and I would say we are at the beginning of this revolution,” said Marianna Tessel, CTO of Intuit.
In a conversation today with Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, at Transform 2020, Tessel outlined some of the key ways that AI is changing Intuit’s mindset, with a focus on the app development process. In particular, Intuit tries to adapt in a similar way as it has adapted to the creation of smartphones.
Mobile-first to AI-first
Moving from an older desktop-based software provider to a Titan of mobile-first technology has never been easy, but Intuit has done just that. Founded in 1
Today, Intuit is in the middle of another major revolution, as its app suite is transitioning to an “AI first” ethos. The company’s QuickBooks accounting app uses AI to automate repetitive work, automatically interpret receipts, and categorize banking. She also uses machine learning to assess risk in the small business lending unit, QuickBooks Capital. In addition, QuickBooks comes with intelligent features such as the cash flow planner that small businesses can use to predict their daily cash flow over the next three months using data such as recurring expenses and earnings.
As a result, AI and automation are changing the end-user experience, and no two customers will see exactly the same thing in the app.
“This means that a user’s experience is no longer static and [becomes] something that is generated dynamically – the user experience that we can now generate locally, ”said Tessel. “You have to think about the many experiences that you can put together. The way you write the app differs considerably as a developer because you have gone from a very predictable process to a process that is personalized and unpredictable for the user. “
In short, instead of creating apps and adding AI in the end, apps increasingly have to be developed with AI in mind from the start. A good example of this is the concept of the Conversational User Interface (CUI), which has become increasingly important thanks to the increasing spread of chatbots and digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri. Users are increasingly getting used to navigating or searching information in natural language. instead of orienting yourself by tapping buttons or entering keywords. It’s about enabling users to get where they want without having to jump through tires.
“You could ask questions about your tax return. In this context, you need to be able to answer questions that may come from another place in your app or domain, ”said Tessel. “It’s a lot more dynamic, so the way you write apps has to change.”
This change will likely be similar to the desktop-to-mobile transition. Software for Windows-based PCs or Macs was originally developed, followed by the incarnation of the smartphone. This setting was often reflected in the way resources were allocated to each version of the app. According to Tessel’s assessment, app developers have to apply an “AI first” mentality by default.