Over the last couple of years, chatbots have gone from being gimmicky conversation pieces to useful tools that can help companies to provide round the clock customer service. At the same time, as consumers have started to see an improvement in chatbot performance and have become more comfortable with using them, brands have increasingly turned to chatbots to cater to the demand.
According to recent statistics, 27% of consumers predict that they’d buy a basic item through a chatbot while 40% don’t care whether a chatbot or an actual human helps them, as long as they get the help they need. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions with a brand will happen without human intervention.”
And perhaps that’s no surprise. After all, artificial intelligence technology is coming along in leaps and bounds, and a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing means that today’s chatbots are almost indistinguishable from humans in certain use cases.
The Chatbot Apocalypse
One of the downsides of using chatbots is that they don’t always have the best grasp of the written word. This comes back to natural language processing, the technology that allows them to understand the context of words. The tech is getting better and better as every day passes, but it’s still not perfect. This can lead to misunderstandings that simply wouldn’t happen if a human was on the other end.
Chatbots also often use machine learning technologies to learn as they go. For example, if the same customer service issue keeps coming up, they’ll learn how to identify and solve it more quickly and even be able to flag problems before your human team is aware of them. On the downside, they can learn bad habits as well as good ones. A good example of that is Microsoft’s Tay bot, which had to be taken down after it started spouting racism within 24 hours of going live.
Then there are the warnings from technological futurists, such as the famous claim by Elon Musk that there’s a “one in billions” chance that we’re not living in an AI simulation like The Matrix. Musk has also expressed concerns that a handful of major companies will end up in control of super-powerful AI systems and believes that there’s little chance that humans would be safe from such systems.
The Plus Side
The good news is that we’re nowhere near the point at which this post-apocalyptic scenario could become a reality. Our current AIs and chatbots have no true intelligence and they’re only good at specific tasks. And far from coming to take our jobs, they might be coming to make them better and to improve our overall effectiveness. For example, AI can create unique royalty free background music for YouTube videos, enabling greater creativity and getting rid of the need for expensive licenses for small creators.
AI could even be the tool we need to save the human race, instead of being something that destroys it. In the healthcare industry, for example, chatbots could provide front-line support to help to screen patients in the waiting room, and artificial intelligence could even fill out patients’ medical records. This would save time for physicians and free them up to spend more time in face to face situations with their patients where they can make the biggest difference.
Joe Rogan of australianwritings.net. goes so far as to say, “AI and chatbots could be the saviour of writers from all walks of life. Artificial intelligence is already being used to automate tasks like financial report writing, but it’ll never take over more creative tasks that require the infusion of human emotion. On top of that, companies will only automate tasks that are seen as unimportant, and which they’re unlikely to be paying reasonable prices for. Even if AI takes on more important tasks, it will always need human oversight.”
Ultimately, it seems likely that the debate around chatbots will continue for the months and years to come, potentially until they’ve already become such a part of our daily lives that it’s too late for us to change our minds.
It often seems as though everyone in the world has a different take on whether chatbots are a good idea or not, in part because there are so many pros and cons to using them. It’s easy to see why you’d be against chatbots if they threaten your job and why you might be for them if you run a business and you’re looking to cut your costs.
With a bit of luck, this article has helped to give you an idea of both sides of the argument and it’s put you in a position to make an educated choice of whether you’re for or against the use of chatbots. The only question that’s left is, “Which side of the fence are you on?”
About the Author
Alexandra Reay is an editor and professional writer at BestDissertation.com. She is fond of horse-riding, reading and rock music. Alexandra keeps her spirit in writing fluent articles as well. Meet her at Twitter.