Put A Leash On That Bot!

As any dog lover will tell you, leashes are much more for the dog’s benefit than yours. Of course, a leash will help you keep keep strangers safe in his presence. But more than that, leashes keep your best friend safe in unfamiliar situations; your judgement is normally better than his.   The older your dog gets, the more trained and the less energetic he’ll be, but even then, a leash is a sign of love.

Just like our furry friends, today’s conversational bots have a lot to learn before they should be allowed off leash.  As artificial intelligence and conversational commerce technology is introduced in the market, their “puppy-ness” is obvious for all to see.  As reported recently by the Motley Fool:

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly scaling back its chatbot efforts on Messenger after the programs failed to fulfill 70% of users’ requests. The Information reports that those requests couldn’t be handled without human agents, and bots built by outside developers “had issues” because the “technology to understand human requests wasn’t developed enough.”

Other than difficulties in determining intent, bots also have challenges in understanding emotional subtleties such as sarcasm and humor.  To spur innovation in this challenging area of artificial intelligence, Amazon has established a yearly Alexa Prize  to the best design for “the grand challenge of building a socialbot that can converse coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics for 20 minutes.” Although it’s clear we will one day surmount this challenge, it also is clear how far we are from solving it, never mind at scale.

Finally, even though texting is widely preferred in many, growing demographics, the Pew Research Center reports that 19% of Americans still do not text regularly.  For the 81% that do text regularly, some percentage of them do not want to interact with automation.  Bots, although a breakthrough for efficiency, are still not human, and sometimes only a human will do.

If you are planning the text enablement of your company, we’d love to see your thumbs in action: text our humans at 888-512-8398 (TEXT).

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