The immature and fledgling bot market was hardly appeared from sci-fi speculations when a vast variety of two-bit experts have started nagging about the lack of humanity and intelligence everybody expected from bots. In contrast to machines, they say, we humans possess persuasive and reasoning abilities, we can become frustrated, we empathize, and we after all have intuition to foresee events that could happen.
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Reviewing the available bots, those experts are probably losing sight of the basic demand of the actual business. Implementing bots for advanced brands and organizations is about adding value to their products and services as well as about efficiency improvement and cost reduction.
This is not about passing Turing Test or getting philosophical with universal human topics.
Steering onto the path
Such attempts to diminish the apparent breakthrough in conversational interface look like a sleazy tactic. The leading IT giants bet on artificial intelligence along with the bot technology. Do all those excellent developers of Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook delude themselves regarding the feasibility of bots? Unbelievable!
The technologically inept sentimental romantics who keep standing against bots should better climb down from the high horse and investigate the applied prosaic approaches enabling bots to bring benefits to contemporary business. Bot technology is booming and it is worth consideration in order to obtain a higher level of communication between customers and businesses in particular and between humans and machines in general.
Although prediction and edification from afar seem thankless job, Indeema is getting up the courage to estimate some use cases of bots’ implementation with regard to further development for better commercialization ability. Take the following cases as our outreach of IT development, throwing daylight upon that gray area where potentialities of bots yet reside.
Case #1: face-recognizing voice-controlled bot
The idea came from Lukas Biewald who built an autonomous, voice-controlled face-recognizing drone for only $200. He reprogrammed a hackable Parrot AR drone applying Microsoft Cognitive Service APLs enabling it to recognize human faces. Being a professional coder, Lukas combined his self-made bot with a serial drone in his garage for rather experimental purposes. The technological execution is great as well as the fresh approach to extension of bot’s abilities.
However, the commercial application remains unclear. Who may need the face-recognizing drones? Unless the police or other law enforcement applying them for identifying civil disobedience demonstrators. Smell like Orwell’s Big Brother, doesn’t it?
“Aloha, Mr. Smith…”
Nevertheless, thanking to Lukas we assume a similar solution, which would have a certain commercial demand. What if a serial vending machine were equipped with a face-recognizing bot able to chat with customers in addition? The cashless payment and screen-less voice-driven interface would be present for granted. Imagine that after first primary initialization, each time when a regular customer reaches the kind of vending machines the chatbot delivers something like following: “Aloha, Mr. Smith! Nice to meet you again. As usually? A big cappuccino without sugar? Or something new to try this time?..”
Imagine that Mr. Smith could get such salutation from each machine of that brand regardless a city he visits because the brand owning a chain of the machines all over the State would cover all units with this service via the Internet. Assume a cross-selling ability of the bot-driven vending machines able to show or tell about some by-products offered while chatting. Imagine the extent of brand awareness and customer retention of such a solution.
Case #2: Resume as a chatbot
In contrast to previous case, this solution does not need any modifications. Both the design and commercial application are ready to use. Besides, the solution is tried and true having been implemented by its creator Esther Crawford in practice. The idea was to arrange a personal resume in the form of a simple chatbot making it act as an interactive gizmo able to answer numerous recruiters’ typical questions.
Besides there is a lot of additional context in it (photos, videos, samples of stuff etc.) describing a job seeker in terms of personality.
An ordinary resume cannot contain such information, but the bot can. Taking into account that LinkedIn is prohibited officially in some countries, the bot can introduce a person via other social media. The ability of such a personal bot being recognized by Google on search requests in itself enough to be worthwhile.
Can this solution kill employment agencies and labor exchanges by means of providing the direct HR manager – job seeker communication? Quite the opposite, in fact! The extension and modification of the idea implies involving recruitment agencies together with IT developers to launch the personal resume bots in mass production.
The development of the solution may soon reach an industrial level due to its ultimate effectiveness. Adding contextual creativity along with endless technological improvement could turn such pedestrian and highly specialized document as a resume to the extremely effective and amazing tool of the profound communication. The process efficiency and content inclusiveness of a bot-like resume could represent a job seeker as a Person-as-a-Service or even as Individuality-as-an-Event.
Case #3: semi-case of an invisible app
Preventing possible complaints of app developers unfamiliar with botmaking, this idea offers to use a traditional mobile app as a bot. Although there are more than enough bot-making platforms available now, a guinea pig in the form of an invisible on mobile screen app delivering notifications in style of a messenger could attract many developers. As we have not met a particular sample of such an app, the case should be considered as a raw material or even a semi-idea for those developers who were still hesitating about bots. In spite of both parts of this article seemed to prove feasibility of the bot approach, some prudent developer could perform a trial project of the “dubious” bot technology using good old app development.
This could be reasonable for news, articles, reviews, promotions and other spheres where push notifications seem feasible without linking to actual messengers. Such visual interface-free applications could be offered together with their traditional “visible” twin versions to extent customer’s choice in the sense of favoring. This is just a technique, which could be applied by app developers before digging deep into botmaking.
Case #4: mega-case for various chatbots
Illustrating different chatbot scenarios for the variety of industries is redundant because even in these early days of chatbots their number exceeds thousands of possible applications. Let’s assume instead a solution able to encompass some particular chatbot pool acting like an ecosystem or a basic platform for various chatbots.
The idea is based on the current technological constraints of the time. Even the most smart and sophisticated AI-driven bots are too young to hold meaningful communication regardless the context. By the way, this is a reason of the frequent frustration of users who face the bots’ inability of keeping conversation beyond their prescribed scenarios. In order to avoid such a sorrowful experience botmakers should distinguish the specialized tasks and abilities of bots distributing them among different bots combined in a joint bot pool.
Climbing bot stepladder
It may looks as if a dispatcher bot entering into a primary communication with users redirects them afterward to other specific bots in accordance with the ongoing subjects and options. The solution could comprise a multi directional step-by-step route of users moving through a net of interconnected bots without a need to start all over again or to be vanished out of the bot’s area.
The last stage of such a stairway of bots could be a human operator who interferes into the process in case of all available bots fail. Insurance, healthcare, e-commerce and many other business segments implying call centers and FAQ in their practice would increase both the quality and scope of their customer care and support by means of using the described bot pools. Besides, those bored and lonely individuals who are looking for communication or entertainment could be covered with the effective chatbot pools able to relieve anxiety and stress offering incidentally some by-products or services.
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Bottom line of this bottomless botness (pardon the pun) is hardly achievable this very moment; much still remains to be done. Hesitations, overthinking, fear of failure regarding the bot implementation all lead indecisive business owners to only procrastination and slippage in following the most progressive trends. In this regard, the prominent business coach Ash Ambirge is worth citing: “…it’s a way of protecting yourself from criticism, and, ironically, from the very people you want to reach”.