Chatbots, stupid imitators or genius technological innovation?
By joel | Oct 25, 2022
Hi, my name is Joel. Having now worked for INTNT for over a year, I have steadily become immersed in the unavoidable, and ongoing debate surrounding chatbots - both their validity and merits. A lot has and is being said about the intelligence of bots. Or, more specifically, how bots are not intelligent enough. What I’d like to add to the debate is that we also need to talk about the intelligence of users!
The case for chatbots is easy. The overwhelming majority of users ask the same questions over and over. Instead of taking time to reply for the 301st time, intelligent humans can bestow ‘intelligent’ answers to a chatbot’s database, with the expectation that users will receive the same response and be left satisfied. Furthermore, the bot is on 24/7, rain or shine. You would have been moving on from the issue and that employee could have kept being productive, saving expertise for times when there are more complex problems to solve.
My anecdote may be an oversimplification to prove a point, and I am aware there are difficult queries that require more meticulous, or specific responses. But, we can still employ people to do this, just now without all the less so intelligent messages received in between slowing them down.
The ‘intelligent human’ employees respond automatically, in the exact way that chatbots would. This is where the value of chatbots lies. In saving time and at the bottom line - money. So, is the human now stupid, or has the chatbot suddenly become intelligent?
Well, neither. Instead, both now share something in common, and I would describe that as the capability to deal with the problem faced. Whilst maybe not being typically smart in IQ tests or maths class, when done correctly, chatbots can be undeniably useful. But they need a little bit of help from human users.
I am going to show you some examples of the messages a ‘stupid chatbot’ has received from some ‘intelligent humans’, to highlight that sometimes its the people more than the bot itself causing the issues:
"Hell please reply soon"
"cnnbbvccc vbnmm MO moo moo moo moo moo moo moo moo moo"
(Taken from chatbot relating to an insurance company)
Crazy, right? Do people really think they are going to get the response they want?
It’s hard to accept as ‘intelligent humans’, but sometimes the problems may come from us. Yes, it would be nice if artificial intelligence could read our minds and know exactly what we are trying to articulate, but other human beings can’t, so how can we expect that of a chatbot? Ultimately, the humans behind the chatbot are responsible for any shortcomings, and need to be professionally designed, trained and maintained. At the same time, the people interacting with it have a part to play too.
Whether you agree with me or not, chatbots are here to stay. So, next time you are raging at your screen, caps lock on, think if maybe you could help yourself too. Try writing more clearly, limiting the usage of slang and trying to give the bot a chance to help you. We can all be a little less than ‘intelligent’ at times, maybe it’s not always the chatbot to blame… Oh, I nearly forgot to add - Thank you!
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