What is Procedural Memory?

What is Procedural Memory?

Procedural Memory is long-term memory related to performing tasks and actions. It involves remembering how to carry out skills and procedures, such as riding a bike, typing on a keyboard, or following a specific process. Procedural memory is often implicit, meaning that it operates below the level of conscious awareness and allows individuals to perform actions automatically after sufficient practice.

In the context of multimodal and multisensory AI, especially in service and customer experience (CX), procedural memory refers to the AI’s ability to learn, store, and execute specific tasks and processes in a sequential and logical order. This type of memory enables AI systems to automate routine actions, guide users through complex workflows, and ensure consistent performance by following predefined procedures.

Role of Procedural Memory in AI and Customer Experience

  1. Automating Routine Tasks
    Task Automation: Procedural memory allows AI systems to automate repetitive and routine tasks efficiently. For instance, an AI customer service agent can use procedural memory to handle common inquiries, such as password resets or order tracking, by following a sequence of actions. This automation reduces the workload on human agents and ensures consistent and accurate task execution.
  2. Guiding Users Through Processes
    Process Guidance: AI systems with procedural memory can guide users through complex processes by providing step-by-step instructions and support while maintaining the context for each step in the flow. For example, in a technical support scenario, an AI agent can help users troubleshoot issues by following a predefined diagnostic procedure, ensuring that no steps are missed and the process is completed correctly.
  3. Enhancing Training and Onboarding
    Training Simulations: Procedural memory enables AI to create realistic training simulations that help new employees learn specific tasks and procedures. By practicing these tasks in a simulated environment, employees can gain proficiency and confidence before performing them in real-world situations. This capability is particularly valuable in industries where precision and adherence to procedures are critical, such as healthcare or manufacturing.
  4. Ensuring Consistency and Compliance
    Standardized Procedures: AI systems with procedural memory can ensure that standardized procedures are followed consistently across the organization. This is crucial for maintaining compliance with industry regulations and internal policies. For instance, when resetting user access information, an AI agent or system can ensure that all relevant security measures are followed in accordance with security and regulatory requirements by following a standardized set of procedures.
  5. Supporting Advanced Workflows
    Complex Workflows: Procedural memory allows AI to support complex workflows that involve multiple steps and dependencies. For example, in customer service, an AI agent or agent assistant can handle multi-step processes such as troubleshooting, order fulfillment, returns, and refunds by following a detailed workflow that includes interactions with various systems and departments.

Differentiating Between Procedural Memory, Semantic Memory, and Episodic Memory

  1. Procedural Memory
    • Definition: Procedural memory is related to the performance of tasks and actions. It involves remembering how to carry out skills and procedures in a sequential and logical order.
    • Role in AI: Enables AI systems to learn and perform specific tasks in a logical or sequential order, automating processes that require a sequence of actions and ensuring consistent execution.
  2. Semantic Memory
    • Definition: Semantic memory refers to the ability to recall documented knowledge, facts, and concepts unrelated to personal experiences. It encompasses an understanding of meanings and general knowledge.
    • Role in AI: Helps in understanding and processing human language, providing contextually relevant information, and enhancing customer interactions through a vast repository of documented knowledge gathered from product, service, and support documentation.
  3. Episodic Memory
    • Definition: Episodic memory is a type of long-term memory that involves the recollection of specific events, situations, and experiences from an individual’s life. This memory allows one to remember personal experiences and events with contextual details.
    • Role in AI: In AI, episodic memory can be used to simulate personal experiences or contextual scenarios that enhance the personalization of interactions or to capture tribal knowledge from previous service or support interactions. For instance, an AI system could use episodic memory to learn the best answer to a customer question, the best course of action or service flow to address a challenging issue, or to recall a customer’s past interactions and preferences to tailor responses and recommendations more effectively.

Why This Matters for Enterprise Decision Makers

For enterprise decision-makers and executives, understanding the roles of procedural memorysemantic memory, and episodic memory in AI is crucial for several reasons:

  • Strategic Implementation: Understanding how different types of memory enhance AI capabilities allows for more strategic implementation of AI solutions to improve service efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • AI Vendor or AI Partner Selection: Informed decisions about investing in AI technologies are based on understanding how features like procedural, semantic, and episodic memory can drive value and ROI. For example, an organization that relies heavily on standardized processes may benefit significantly from AI systems with strong procedural memory capabilities.
  • Competitive Advantage: Leveraging AI with robust memory systems can provide a competitive edge by delivering superior customer interactions and personalized experiences.
  • Innovation and Development: Encouraging innovation within the organization by integrating advanced AI features and fostering a culture prioritizing state-of-the-art technology in customer service and experience.


Procedural Memory and semantic and episodic memory play a pivotal role in enhancing AI’s capabilities to improve customer experience and service excellence. AI systems can deliver more accurate, relevant, and personalized interactions by embedding a vast repository of procedural skills, factual knowledge, and simulated personal experiences. For enterprises, harnessing these capabilities means improved service efficiency, better customer satisfaction, and a strategic advantage in the competitive landscape. Understanding and leveraging these types of memory in AI is essential for decision-makers aiming to lead their organizations toward innovative and customer-centric futures.

To learn more about how Sophie AI’s unique, blended memory architecture can benefit your organization, please schedule your complimentary demo today.