back to article Chatbots: A load of hype or fancy lifehack for the lazy IT person?

It's the age of the chatbot. The chatbot revolution is coming. Unless it isn't. Conversational User Interfaces are still very much on the Innovation Trigger rising curve of Gartner's hype cycle. And the people who are the most hyped up about chatbots seem to be the people that sell platforms to build them on. As chatbots seep …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh God no...

    This will be a complete omnishambles. Companies like BT will be (or are already) all over this technology, as it's even cheaper than the phalanxes of embarrassingly low-paid, barely understandable, script following offshore support staff they have right now. These companies will put their chatbots live way before they're ready - because of course they'll 'learn' through interaction - and customer morale will plummet. BT will of course be one of the first with their chatbot, and their CEO and CIO will be so sickeningly proud of themselves, despite having done nothing to aid the implementation.

    There will be YouTube videos of people getting Betty (which of course is what BT will call their chatbot, given how moronic most marketers are) to express the sort of views that even Donald Trump might hesitate to utter in public. Or Betty telling people to go and fuck themselves. Or Betty crashing like a drunk. Or getting stuck and spewing forth like a witless 90s rapper: 'Reboot Your Hu-hu-hu-hu-hu-hub! Re-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-boot your hu-hu-hu-hu-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-hub!'. If Betty doesn't understand what you're saying or typing (and she won't unless she's been fully primed with Roger's Profanisaurus), she'll just cut you off. Back to the end of the queue you go, mortal!

    Getting support for a broadband problem or indeed any sort of problem will be impossible when your broadband is down because Betty will be running on the same terrible BT infrastructure that's not serving you. Or worse than that - she'll be running on your Home Hub.

    Chatbots are a terrible idea. Please don't encourage their development.

    1. DNTP

      Re: Oh God no...

      Your predictions are likely spot on except for one thing: The companies deploying these customer service travesties will abuse the legal system to keep the videos and recordings off Youtube.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh God no...

        Yep. Take-downs are meant for this. More worryingly in my section of the universe, doing any sort of security research on them will net you the CFAA in violation of the DMCA if past practices continue. I understand there's a similar gaping trap over in the UK for same.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge


    I can foresee telemarketers using these to robo-call you...

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Turing convergence

    It's not that computers will become indistinguishable from humans. In too many support centres the scripted humans are already indistinguishable from computers. Turning the job over to the computer is just the next logical step and will be undetectable to the hapless customer.

  4. Captain DaFt

    Chatbots are the new wave of AI!

    At least that's what they said in the 1980s.

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    cunning linguists

    Will have fun by switching language each sentence they deal with the chat bots, or just trying obscure languages. At what point is it not financially worth the company producing a chatbot "fluent" in a language?

    in UK (i.e. trade off of "training" in the language vs peopel using that language to interact)

    Welsh - given some of the equal language laws in Wales, depending how interpreted, they would probably have to support this, which could cause them hassle.

    Gaeleic - fun, as a whole set of variants, Manx Gaelic bot anyone?

    Cornish - on the rise, but low numbers of really fluent speakers

    .. but general slang / bad use of English will be awkward enough for bots (to/too there/their etc misuse (or often people not bothered on spelling as know the context is understood by a meatbag) as careless typing takes a lot more contextual analysis

  6. handleoclast

    Look on the bright side

    These chatbots will have to deal with people like bombastic bob. And amanfrommars.

    In fact, these chatbots will regularly have to deal with people who make those two look sane.

    Hmmmmm. The chatbots will have to hand over to a human in cases like that.

    Which means, if you want to deal with a human...

    I'm off to dig through bob's posts so I can learn to emulate him.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did a chatbot with our STATES portal that is suppose to help with all agencies.

    ME: Where Can I pay my taxes?

    Chat bot: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question..

    ME: YOUR Fucking stupid, you know !

    Chat Bot: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

    Was the best laff I had all day.

    Eliza was far better than this POS ...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > ME: YOU'RE Fucking stupid, you know !


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