I for one am not holding my breath to better hear the wit of these robot overlords.
Nor does it sound like people are falling over themselves to spend lots of time conversing with robots.
Messaging app Telegram, for example, which has had its chatbot platform live since last June, is already trying to remove friction from the chat process by reducing how much people have to type in order to interact with these robots. It is also trying to incentivise devs to build “useful” chatbots.
So it’s not exactly sounding like an emergent AI intelligence is about to spring forth and transform human-machine interactions quite yet.
And then there are basic algorithms doing what algorithms do best (and do better than humans): which is to say sifting large volumes of data and quickly retrieving specific results. These algorithms are of course going to continue to be useful.
And if you want to describe a search box that can be addressed inline within a messaging thread as a ‘chatbot’ then sure, such ‘chatbots’ may well thrive — although really it’s just another way to perform a search.
Yes, even Mark Zuckerberg, the tech world’s poster boy developer-turned-platform-king himself, isn’t confident enough to let his advanced AI try his users’ patience on its own.
Move fast and break things clearly has limits when it comes to sparkling conversation.
And the early interest looks to be sparked by developers rushing in — because they’re being told bots might be the next big thing…But perhaps the greater incentive for platforms when it comes to chatbots is they hold out the promise of being able to generate more conversation than might have otherwise occurred between the humans. While the primer scenario could work on a dating platform, say, with bots delivering potted ice-breakers to get conversation flowing between strangers.Point is, conversation is already stilted and artificial on a dating platform so a little extra robot isn’t going to seem any more awkward.Really, then, chatbots’ mission statement, if they had one, should be something along the lines of: ‘Keep the humans talking to each other for longer’. So to which list do the impending wave of chatbots belong? Purely human-powered ‘chatbots’ (if I can stretch the term for a moment) which make it super simple for a human to have a question/complaint thoughtfully addressed by another human are certainly going to be appreciated.And in case it’s not clear, I’m talking about Twitter here, where a short form text-based platform is utilized as a very efficient layer for fielding and managing customer service complaints (yes, far better than websites, email, even phone calls given the typical waits involved — at least it is for now, with (presumably) a lower volume of queries being addressed by lots of enthusiastic, human employees.Like a keyboard shortcut is useful to the people who bother to figure out which keys they need to press.Although it’s arguably also a bit weird to start chatting with a robot in the middle of talking to an/other human being/s.That’s hype doing its devilish work, not evidence of consumer demand.Sure, if you want to do something super simple like, say, find a You Tube URL (so you can share it with another human in an existing chat) then an embedded algorithm that lets you @it in the same messaging thread — to trigger a search and deliver the results back to you — be useful.There is also an educational challenge worth noting here, given that people won’t necessarily know how to command search in this more chatty guise.So even here, it’s not necessarily plain sailing for these info-retrieval ‘chatbots’.