Tag Archives: #chatbots

When future is now



My boss recently said that sometimes he doesn’t understand what his kids are saying.

One is fond of football, the other likes memes. When they talk among themselves they use the words and meanings of their peers. In other words, subcultural slang; they give little thought to the effects on our language.

I get it; even more so after reading about Facebook’s AI creating its own unique language.

I often wonder how the globalization and interference of non-human creators will affect the future of language — will we still be able to understand each other in 100 years?

In the Facebook case, while experimenting with language learning, a research algorithm created its own language that humans could not understand to communicate more efficiently between chatbots.

It was functional in that it continued to carry information, but uncontrollable, because researchers had no idea what was being “said.”

The result was intriguing because it showed the algorithm’s capacity for generating its own encoding scheme, but also showed what can happen with unconstrained feedback in an automated social language product.

I think the idea that someday software could be “alive” and “conscious” is an intriguing possibility, but I wonder if humans have the skill and forethought to deal with it.

What do you think?

I’m not a chatbot


My friend in Facebook turned out to be a bot 

I felt just as I would chatting  with a human — but it was a chatbot.

I suddenly remembered Spike Jones’s  futuristic love story Her. It is an exploration into the possibilities of human connection in an environment of disconnectedness and into our evolving definition of what’s real and what’s artificial.  

Are chatbots dangerous? Not yet.

They are artificial intelligence software that can fool a human as Cleverbot and Eugene Goostman (computer program) did.

It was couple of years ago and after a chatbot passed the Turing test that they became a hot topic. With all the hype around AI, it’s sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction for a generation brought up on science fiction films and stories about the interaction of people and machines.


I’ll give it my best try.

Chatbots exist (live?) inside messaging apps like Facebook (M), Apple (Siri), Google (WeChat) and Slack and can do almost everything in virtual world: order your tacos, schedule your meetings, call Uber, even protest your parking tickets (London and NYC for now).

Do they think? No!

They  are just programs that simulate human conversation. To understand that there is no magic and machines are still controlled by humans even If they still seem creepy, review some of the Deep Learning techniques used to build conversational agents.

There is a wave of recent startups working to create new conversation systems between consumers and services. They build consumer apps like Operator or x.ai; bot platforms like Chatfuel and bot libraries, such as Howdy’s Botkit.

Do people prefer to talk to bots instead of human? Sometimes.

Many people, especially those under 35, don’t like calling businesses. In fact, they prefer to avoid conversations whenever possible —  but not all.

In other words, lazy is the new smart and bots are better than friends.

That said, companies that buy into the belief that all their customers, or even a large majority, don’t want good, well-trained, responsive, human customer service are in for a rude awakening. On the other hand, very few companies offer that now.

How many are there? More than you think.

There are certainly plenty of them out there and the number will just keep increasing.

Chatbots have actually existed since the beginning of the internet. But they’re coming back in force now, because there are more channels to use them (various messaging apps) and you can do more stuff with them.

The current jump started last year when large companies began to hint at all the things they’re going to do with the new bots And the biggest “kick-off” arguably happened during the Facebook F8 conference in April 2016.

Do we need to get ready for the chatbot revolution?  

Yes. They are the future of customer engagement, but will not totally replace humans — at least yet. Personalized customer service is harder to create with chatbots and this has created a large resistance to their growing popularity, especially from those like my friend Miki, who has bad hearing and only calls with uncommon problems. The kind that are rarely included in automated menus.

We aren’t to the point of the Rise of the Machines, although they seem smarter and more ironic than some humans.

Clev: What is your aim in life?

To rule the world.

Clev: Then mine is to rule you.

One more thing I want to share with you. 

Starting tomorrow I’m on vacation, but only from NTR.

I’m spending the next two weeks touring with my band (my night job:)

If you are curious, you can see and follow us here. After all, music is music, even if you don’t understand the lyrics. Right? And, again, if you are curious, that’s me up front singing. If I played an instrument no one would listen!

Have lots of summer fun and I’ll be back on August 5th.

Image source: here