What the Heck is a Chatbot?

Ok, so the world will be run by robots by 2025, and you hope to be in retirement by then so you can enjoy the fruits of their labour. The good news is, they will not take every job, but it is clear that we should be on the building end if we want to live above the median income level. As we ease into machines managing our interactions with friends and businesses, let’s take a peak at what these machines can do now for your business.

On the rise right now are Chatbots. These machines come in a lite and heavy version. You can program the machine to respond to only specific questions, called supervised learning, or you can go to the depths of AI, creating unsupervised learning programs that can respond to complex questions. Imagine having a full-out conversation with a robot, where your unexpected string sentences are actually responded to! This takes time, but is possible.

Who can Benefit from a Chatbot Right now?

My favourite presentation of the more complex approach was done by Viv.ai, a Siri-like program that allowed you to ask questions that had very complex language processors built in. This is the soon to be household focus of NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. It is the method bots use to talk to you. The intention of the user must be captured, then inputted into a meaningful response. You cannot do that without understanding all of the synonyms, categories of questions, and variants in which these questions could be asked. A lot of research is being done right now to create these data sets, which would then be used to build machines that can easily communicate.  For example, “what was the weather like 4 Thursday’s ago?” This is not a normal question, yet Viv could map the response. This sort of response capability will only get easier, so we need to dive in now, ensuring that our businesses are at the forefront of these capabilities. Here are a handful of potential applications for a Chatbot right now:

Law Firm Chatbots

If a potential client can explain their case to you, through text and voice, you have a great chance to qualify clients without the need for a lengthy phone call. This could go a few steps further, and even be applied to having similar cases and their results compared to new cases in front of you.

Customer Service Chatbots

Why not allow a robot to engage with your client first? The bot could measure the severity of the situation based on the language the client is using. If the user manuals were uploaded, this bot could even help the client solve the issue. IKEA might be a good place to start! “I am having a very bad BILLY BOOKCASE day!”

Quick Solution Chatbots

If you know that your client will always ask the same questions, you can easily create a supervised chatbot, that would not take too long to develop. The issue is if any other question was asked, the response may come up “blank.” It is important to know the intention of the user when they ask questions. There is potential for aligning a bot with the weather network, giving suggestions for what to wear that day. This is something that could run itself fairly easily.

Sales Training Chatbots

What if you could have your value propositions at the fingertips of your sales’ team? Imagine them being on the phone, and they type in the name of the product, and then the value propositions appear on the screen? This would be very helpful for them, and would certainly bring a level of engagement to their conversations, as they offer insights that the leaders of the organization have been suggesting for a long time. Training is on every call with the use of a chatbot.


Finding the Right People and Problems

There are so many buzzwords out there right now, with millions of people trying to grab onto the knowledge behind them. It is clear that this is the learning stage for AI. Deep Learning has been around for a while, but the applications that can now be used to build robots have never been so available. Right now, you could go to Watson Conversation and create your own Machine! You could do it, but it would take you a very long time to understand it. It is not easy. We need to help educate our youth to take programming on, learning how to improve our lives through the use of code. Currently, Artificial Intelligence is already being used to diagnose cancer. That is a remarkable feat, considering some of the cancerous patients AI helped, were without a diagnosis from a human doctor. In fact, the human doctors could not figure it out.

The foremost thing that we must do is have a problem to solve in order for this to work. Let’s say you want to go the deep learning route, bringing in designers, developers, and algorithm gurus to create a machine that has highly intelligent outputs. The only reason you would ever consider this is to solve a problem. The algorithm guru has no place without a problem. That is a fundamental for mathematical equations. If you want to find new customers, machine learning can help you. If you need to observe current data from clients so that you can build a bot that will speak to them in a language they prefer, you can do so, but it will take time.

Here are 3 potential problems that AI could solve:

  1. Disease – We can now sift through billions of data sets in order to diagnose and heal humans
  2. Political upheaval – Make better decisions as a nation based on previous outcomes
  3. Education – The most effective delivery of education could come from robots, teaching people according to their style of learning, from a robot that is capable of knowing everything in the world. Did someone say Ken VS Watson?

This is a time where the continued conversation is struggling within AI, but very soon, this could change. If we have specific domains, representing a specific user base, we may be able to channel more efficient responses from the robot, so that the work is not as complicated. It would be hard to find a robot right now that did not struggle to carry on a conversation.

John Lilly is a sales and marketing professional, with deep experience in building sales teams while co-ordinating the marketing effort. You can catch up with him on his new project, www.reson8agency.com, where he and a team of creatives are seeking clients that need agility and a partnership. His latest passion project is “Utterly Speechless” on Facebook Live. It is a show dedicated to leadership, marketing, communication, and laughter. You can join us every Friday at 3 PM at http://www.facebook.com/reson8agency

He is also very passionate about building www.streamserveinc.com to becoming a leader in sales advice and sales action for businesses.

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