Are We Really Ready For Chatbots?

/ September 27, 2017/ Backend

Conversations in user interfaces are very much in. Chat features still works for sales, customer service, and tech support. But a new breed has come in the form of chatbots. These are AI-controlled bots acting as your chat support. The question is: are we at risk of losing our jobs because chatbots can do better? Or is this just a fancy thing for lazy people?

In April 2016, Facebook opened up the world of chatbots to businesses and brands. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has this vision of people communicating via Facebook Messenger booking hotels, sending flowers or gifts, making restaurant reservation, etc. without the need for an app or another website. All of these can be done with a chatbot.

Since then, tech companies are adopting the use of chatbots. Using bots in business is apparently the way to the future although only a few actual case studies were successful. A few reported to have been hits and misses. Techs are trying everything to perfect that AI behind chatbots.

It seems that having chatbots is a good idea in business. It can reduce the call center help desk workload. Chatbots can easily handle FAQs complete with an automatic update back to the end user. The question is: are customers ready for it?

Another possibility is having the IT teams move from email to chat as its primary communication platform. Having a chatbot can help organize the clutter, document historical work processes, and deliver reports. That is, if the IT team would like to remain chat-centric, collaborative, with less emails.

Tech teams are now faced with the question, which platform to use in building chatbots. Of course, programming it entails some security features as well. Also, training the chatbot to understand human language is another challenge. English can be tricky, you know. There are nuances that the chatbot may not be able to get and say, “Sorry, I don’t understand.” Will this be a programming nightmare? This will require a better study of artificial intelligence.

It will be interesting to see if workers of the future will step into a bot-powered workplace. Bots give us the capability to automate routine tasks. It may replace some human roles, though we are not in a hurry to embrace it totally. There will still be a need to talk to someone especially when a subject requires empathy, or making an exception. Bots are still bots and these aren’t good at handling things outside of their “normal”. You can replace the human, but you can’t replace the humanity.

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