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The emergence of chatbot reality as the hyped perception starts to fade

Some interesting research from multiple sources are providing lead indicators into why the future of organisations will become a blend of human and chatbot workers. More and more people are using chatbots. Some may not realise they are using chatbots as it is seemingly so “natural” in a digital nice way! This is especially the case through advances in chatbot voice dialogue. For example, the Smart Speaker Market being driven by Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana and chatbots from different industries is expected to reach US$2.7bn by the end of 2018 and is expected to reach more than US12bn by 2024. The Smart Speaker is simply just one channel, as chatbots are designed for omnichannel deployment across all digital touchpoints.   


Sadly, chatbots for the past few years have been over-hyped. Exaggerated claims, especially in Natural Language Processing, have tried to claim that artificial intelligence is all knowing, aka as a singularity. Such hype has led to a period of disillusioned as projects fail to deliver the promise. In banking, for example, some chatbot projects have failed to meet the rigours of compliance. One of the barriers is that machine learning needs to be bounded and controlled in its target area of knowledge, otherwise the learning could distort decisions, often starting in a subtle way until it eventually becomes obviously wrong.


As the reality of chatbot capabilities become better understood and delivered, more and more successes are starting to emerge. A recent study showed that 38% of consumers have had a positive experience with a chatbot. Contrary to many experts, 48% of consumers prefer a chatbot without a personality to address their needs. In the real world, people will use a chatbot if they can get help quickly, easily, accurately and where needed with a full dialogue audit trail.


Chatbots is a broad and deep subject. The emergent pattern is a growing portfolio of chatbot Microservices software that can be picked and mixed to deliver the right type of solution for a specific problem. In other words, like the human world, there will be many types of chatbots, each like a subject matter expert in their own domain that co-exist with people and other chatbots.  The perception that a chatbot can do everything is simply wrong. The reality is that a portfolio of chatbots, each with their own capabilities is emerging as the right approach and will prevail.


The strategic challenge is understanding and shaping the future workforce as a blend of chatbots and people becomes inevitable to deliver value-based evolutionary change in ever decreasing time cycles.  




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Freddie McMahon

Freddie McMahon

Director Strategy and Innovation

DF2020 Ltd

Member since

04 Aug 2017



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