AI - Artificial Intelligence: boon or bollocks?

When faced with a chatbot, do you:

  • Close the chatbot and continue using the site?

    Votes: 9 29.0%
  • Close the website and go elsewhere?

    Votes: 5 16.1%
  • Engage with the chatbot and use it to answer your questions?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ask the chatbot what underwear (if any) it is wearing and would it like to engage in procreation?

    Votes: 7 22.6%
  • Give me a human to talk to or I'll burn down your head office!

    Votes: 10 32.3%

  • Total voters
    31
#1
Against all my better judgement, I would like to know your opinion about the use of chatbots/'AI' and other such crap when using websites.

Do you hate them, do you like them, or do you not give a toss? If you like them, please take a moment to say why. Have you come across any decent ones?

Why am I asking this? Because I work in insurance and it appears that insurance companies and brokers are utilising chatbots and what they call 'AI' at an ever increasing rate. When asked, they say it is because it increases customer satisfaction and engagement... I suspect it is more about sacking as many people as possible and replacing them with a piece of shite software and further commoditising insurance (something vehemently denied by every insurer).

I have seen AI used to great effect in medicine: being much more accurate and reliable than the best doctors at identifying cancerous cells, and better predicting the side-effects of new medicines (as just two examples). I have seen it used with zero beneficial effect by companies such as Amazon when trying to sell you crap similar to the other crap you may have already purchased, and its utterly counter-productive use by companies such as Adzuna and other jobsites for matching CVs and jobs (who knew that my ideal job was a lion-taming actuary?).
 
#3
That all sounds a bit newfangled for me. Does it work on VHS or Betamax?
 
#6
Chatbots arent really that intelligent. What they do is take a question and fire it off against a natural language processor so it can work out what you want then it answers the question in a linear fashion. There is nothing cognitive (intelligent) about it - you cant interact with it like you would a person.

Lots of companies playing with them, but they are lipstick on a pig. Until you take a real-time cognitive platform to replicate human thought and decisions, a chatbot barely scratche the surface.

AI platforms that replicate the ability of a person to think and analyse data and interact with data and people are coming VERY fast, and the software will be commodity within about 2 years I'd say.You arent going to see droves of people go though because of the unions. What you will see it temporary workers vanishing and a gradual reduction is headcount over 5-7 years as most organisations have staff churn at between 15-22% per annum (subject to industry sector and role). Implementing this stuff is rock hard and there arent many people around that know:

1. What they are talking about
2. How do it
 
#8
Chat bots pop up just like other pop ups. Mostly when you just get a page open and haven't had a chance to begin reading it for the bits you want. Particularly if you haven't even found yet if the page even has what you're looking for. It might just be a crap page from a dubious search result. Yet right away some bot wants to discuss it with you. Well I think not, the bots and pop ups can feck right off!
 
#9
I remember the early days of the interwebs when we were plagued with pop-ups and pop-unders. A pure annoyance. It was the reason people created pop-up blockers and then with the plague of adverts, ad-blockers.

I run an ad-blocker and occasionally I'll visit a website that detects my ad-blocker and wants me to disable it before letting me read their content, which I won't do. I run an ad-blocker for a reason and if a website won't let me view their site then they can fcuk right off, I'll look for a different website. It's their loss, not mine.

If I visit a website and I can't get away from chatbots, auto-playing video & audio then they are not websites I will readily return to. Local newspaper websites are a prime example of this.
 
#10
Generally when I need to contact a company it's about something relatively complex or unusual which requires a human to deal with it. IME chatbots aren't much use other than glorified interactive FAQ filter - I had an issue recently with a company who were sending mail addressed to my job title rather than my name, however my personal details on the website had my name correct. Trying to sort this was a nightmare as the phone system kept directing me to the website then hanging up however the chatbot wanted to follow the process to change my address - it just couln't understand that the address was correct, my name was correct but the 'name' they were using for postal mail was wrong. Took a message through linkedin to one of their managers to get it sorted.

The current fashion for AI reminds me of the dot com boom of the late 90s with everybody jumping on the bandwagon. I'm sure we'll have an AI bust soon enough then some serious uses for it will develop.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
AI was once defined to me as 'what we haven't done yet'. Chatbots chained to a list of FAQs are bound to fail because people want to ask qns that are not 'frequently asked'. They are a very primitive form of AI. AI has been roaring away very successfully for years for instance in container shipping and container port operation and other applications (and in conjunction with other things like barcode recognition) that the common man just doesn't see. Your smart watch or tablet are doing all sorts of things you know nothing about and care less. You ain't seen nuthin' yet. It will lift current automation to a whole new level.
 
#12
Some of the Chatbots in use are quite primitive, and really only respond using fuzzy logic to match questions against known answers, so are more of a glorified search engine with an avatar than really AI
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#14
Has nobody watched Terminator for Christ's sake?
A week ago an attack on Cloudflare brought down 9% of the internet. Happened again this week. (Cloudflare said unexpected maintenance or something). Yesterday evening we saw Gatwick closed with ATC issues, LNER having problems and a satellite launcher fell out of the sky.

Today I saw Torn glitch at the same time as Fitbit.com.

It's very easy to believe a major player is conducting cyber warfare on an industrial basis.
 
#15
 
#16
A week ago an attack on Cloudflare brought down 9% of the internet. Happened again this week. (Cloudflare said unexpected maintenance or something). Yesterday evening we saw Gatwick closed with ATC issues, LNER having problems and a satellite launcher fell out of the sky.

Today I saw Torn glitch at the same time as Fitbit.com.

It's very easy to believe a major player is conducting cyber warfare on an industrial basis.
I thought that about Cloudflare initially, but they are claiming that it was dodgy regular expression sent through their automated test and deploy system, passed the tests and then was applied globally

Obviously no automated testing system can cover every eventuality, and reg exs are one where really you want some human eyes to double check

So their story at least sounds like it could authentic
 
#17
Some of the Chatbots in use are quite primitive, and really only respond using fuzzy logic to match questions against known answers, so are more of a glorified search engine with an avatar than really AI
Agreed, my firm is constantly selling the idea its AI, when its a bunch of pimply new joiners sat in a dark room trying to guess responses and that isn't AI but a glorified string comparison/pattern matcher.

The real AI is being developed by the big boys and that is very scary.
 
#18
I run a company with various call centres for different tasks. We investigated a bot recently for technical customer service and it was very good. Not quite there yet but soon I think.
 
#19
AI was once defined to me as 'what we haven't done yet'. Chatbots chained to a list of FAQs are bound to fail because people want to ask qns that are not 'frequently asked'. They are a very primitive form of AI. AI has been roaring away very successfully for years for instance in container shipping and container port operation and other applications (and in conjunction with other things like barcode recognition) that the common man just doesn't see. Your smart watch or tablet are doing all sorts of things you know nothing about and care less. You ain't seen nuthin' yet. It will lift current automation to a whole new level.
Its liner processing. You ask one question and if you are lucky you will get an answer to that question. They are very unsophisticated.

Yes - much more scary stuff is coming. I work in the trade.
 

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