Woody Allen said: “I am interested in the future because it is the place where I will spend the rest of my life.” And what will 2020 bring?  Predictions say that it will be the turning point from which the progress of twentieth-century technology will be judged: quantum computers with the ability to make impossible calculations, big data, robots, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, autonomous cars, drones … this technology will conform the new business ecosystem. But how will all this affect meeting and conference rooms?

According to recent studies, the majority of employees attend on average more than 60 annual meetings, while executives dedicate to meetings between 40% and 50% of their time .Who else and who least has suffered the irremediable loss of time implied by such meetings: it is not easy to coordinate the agendas of the participants, prevent anyone from being late, prepare the relevant content and documents … According to Blair Pleasant, a reputed industrial analyst of unified communications, Artificial Intelligence will play a key role in the way in which we will communicate and collaborate in the near future. Its function will be to facilitate meetings, to increase the productivity, to save resources and to improve the overall business flow. But what is Artificial Intelligence and how can we apply it in the field of ​​meetings?

AI is a wide area composed of several technologies such as bots or software applications that perform automatic and repetitive tasks, robotics, language processors, voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana or Alexa (I still have a hard time accepting how a machine can understand what we say if we often do not comprehend each other even among humans, but it turns out that when someone speaks, our ears record the waves in the air and translate them into nerve impulses that reach the brain, then the brain checks a  personal database based on our experiences and culture, and the understanding arises. The machines do not understand us yet- remember that hearing is not the same than knowing how to listen – but they are able to recognise what we are saying).

We have already commented that one of the reasons why meetings can be unproductive is that, generally, we spend too much time trying to schedule the meetings and trying to find a convenient time for all participants. Well, instead of wasting time trying to know who is available and when, bots can be used to align calendars, to identify the people who must attend the meeting, to access the correct documents and resources, before and during the event. During the meeting, they can automatically identify and present additional information such as web links and videos based on the keywords that are being used. After the meeting, the Artificial Intelligence tools can be used to track the assigned tasks and deadlines, to summarize and to transcribe the content of the meeting and make it easier for people to access relevant information based on the topic or time in which their name was mentioned, for example. And to all this, we still need to solve matters of extreme importance such as the privacy and ethics in the use of our data. Welcome to a very exciting 2020!