Deep Learning and AI are the new drivers that are fuelling the tech industry in a new direction. And with these have arrived the ‘Chatbots’, the self-replying deep learning chat windows which have been around for quite some time but have picked up of late with advanced technologies.
If you have no idea about chatbots or virtual assistants, as they are styled lately as, think of Siri or the latest to enter the fray, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. But apart from being virtual assistants, there are endless possibilities to chatbots which have come a long way from mid-1960s, when computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum first invented computer program Eliza.
It was designed to simulate a conversation by using pattern matching and substitution methodology to give the illusion that the program understood what the person was asking.
The future of chatbots.
Not only as a virtual assistant on your phones, slowly these chatbots are being integrated into various systems which can interact on behalf of the human who owns and do the job without having the human to intervene. With the new chatbots being worked upon in the recent times, it is only a few years away when we have an all integrated environment around us.
The bigwigs of Silicon Valley are on to it and Amazon’s Echo has been the first mover which allows customer access to play music and pay their credit card bills among other things. Facebook too has recently integrated chatbots to its Messenger app which allows businesses to create interactions for customers and show ads accordingly. Pizza outlet Dominos too allows customers to order pizza through social media.
With more and more implementation of chatbots in diverse areas, new and innovative use cases will be seen where the chatbots are used to better serve the consumers and ease the work of customer service jobs in different domains.
Soon, you will be able to talk to your refrigerator, your car or maybe the entire house. When there is a need to water the lawns, the bots will send a command to the sprinkler. Refrigerators will order groceries for us; if you intend to travel, bots will plan your travel for you and the places to see. As a result, many of our daily chores will be handled automatically.
But, the real question is that whether these chatbots be able to live up to the expectations or not, and convince a user that they are not chatting with a human but a computer program.
The challenges for chatbots.
One of the biggest challenges that chatbots could face is that people simply wouldn’t want to share and interact their problems with a computer and would expect a human to provide a solution. Also, today’s languages and the words have a lot of ambiguity. A single word can have a lot of different meanings. It is to be seen how an A.I. chatbot handles such situations wherein people send in the same query with different sentence structure or words. How do they steer a broader audience to the correct solution?
With the use of large data sets, we will begin to see chatbots more closely replicating the human conversations, with a better understanding (and anticipation) of language and situational vocabulary. Trying to teach a chatbot to have the same ebb and flow found in our everyday conversations is extremely challenging. From a computational perspective, it is quite a complication.
However, to achieve this, we must first tackle the deep learning conundrum of building massive data sets, which requires some way to accumulate that data. Some A.I. algorithms currently address pieces of this problem. For example, the A.I. community has done a good job of language assessment for chatbots integrated into search engines. Think about what happens when you Google a topic by asking a question; even if you aren’t 100 percent correct in how you phrase the question, it is very likely that you will still find the correct answer in the top results.
Another big worry is that all these chatbots will replace the human jobs (and that’s from one side of lens) and according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum, over five million jobs could be wiped out globally in the next five years due to the rise of robots. The jobs most at risk appear to be office or administrative positions—roles in which chatbots seemingly may excel.
But a lot of experts have come out to say that rather than stealing the jobs, chatbots will work alongside the humans to simplify the administrative jobs wherein the simpler tasks will be handled by chatbots and harder ones will still be operated by humans.
The introduction of chatbots is not only a huge step for further automating the lives but also how the world is about to get a whole lot interactive with these bots and start a new technological era. A new introduction in the tech industry has always met with criticism at first but there has always been more to its positive side than negative.
An IT graduate and a journalist by profession who loves coffee, humans and computers. Global affairs, tech and music are some of the topics that get me talking. In my free time, you will find me either with a book or a guitar.