Have you ever used Siri, Alexa or OK Google? What about chatting with a customer support that has the answers right away? Chances are, you’ve come across these conversaional AIs—either a chatbot or an AI virtual assistant (jobs that used to be filled up by real humans). They are preinstalled on some of the devices we use everyday, or are integrated as part of the customer service of a business.
They pass off as quite smart because they are able to hold a conversation with humans. But are they a hit or a miss? Are they still considered being in the developmental phase in this era?
Conversational AIs are programs that use artificial intelligence techniques such as natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, and machine learning. They rely on speech, text or image-based query or input and intelligently analyze them so they can provide helpful output or reply to such queries.
Conversational AIs can emulate human conversation through the predefined commands or they ‘learn’ what reply to return as they come across a string of words.
Of Chatbots and AI Virtual Assistants
A chatbot is a bit different from a virtual assistant; jobs description is their main difference. An acceptable chatbot definition is it is a type of API (application programming interface) that has ready-made answers to the mostly asked questions or requests. Because of this, it is also known as a FAQ bot. Most business websites integrated this type of API because it saves time in answering the same queries and the manpower can be used elsewhere.
Meanwhile, an AI virtual assistant is included in a device, like a smartphone, that can serve the user on a more personal level. They can act as a personal assistant to their owner, able to be commanded of trivial or important things such as repurchasing items in an e-marketplace, getting a meeting reminder, or finding a specialty restaurant nearby.
Advantages of Using Conversational AIs
Intelligent conversational agents are multifunctional. They can do all sorts of stuff like an alarm clock, reminder, GPS and house helper all in one with just voice, image or text command from you. They can even personalize an mp3 playlist from your music history or suggest what music to play if you ask one.
They can do what humans cannot do at a short span of time. Because they run on a powered up microprocessor and have a big memory to parse data with, they can locate the nearest gas station or ATM within your area quicker than asking other people for directions along the way.
Using conversational AIs saves up on time, money, and manpower, like in a FAQ chatbot (definition is previously explained), where they use the flowchart framework to retort to frequently asked questions from a customer. Chatbots use less time, money and little to no human intervention to work but they are quite effective to be included in business models nowadays.
Artificial intelligence VAs and chatbots are available 24/7 or as long as their power source is working. In a world needing something instant, they can be reliable in the middle of night or by early morning, and even on a very busy day, where human capability cannot immediately fulfill such requests.
Disadvantages of Using Conversational AIs
Conversational AIs have limited working capacity, and they can only work when the network and their power source is running OK. They can command your smart appliances to function and do their job, but they themselves are lacking a full physical humanoid body. Still, without a ‘body,’ they are still dependable.
They make us lazy, to an extent. We have habitual routines in our daily life, and they can be automated and done by just one simple voice command. Smart machines can either essentially help with our routines, or enable us to become couch potatoes, according to how we use them.
They can have privacy and security issues, especially if we use them on a personal level. AI virtual assistants can be infiltrated by malicious means and sensitive information about a person could be used for malicious intent. We should be wary what we info we put into our devices and up our network security in order to counteract this dilemma.
They do not work 100% of the time, or they fail to satisfy our queries. Both chatbot and AI virtual assistant jobs or objectives can fail, and miserably. Just look at social media and you will see a ton of posts of hilarious memes where Siri, Alexa or OK Google misheard their owner’s request or replied in a nonsense fashion.
Helpful vs Annoying
We have proven the use of conversational AIs, that they can be one heck of a working horse as a personal assistant, and, by the chatbot definition, how they can cut down unnecessary efforts and digitally automate it for our own benefits.
Not only their benefits, but also their capacity to help us with things that we cannot do, without complaining and asking for any favor.
Still, there is much room for their improvement, as they do not 100% accurately work for their intended purposes. This facet of their unreliability can be annoying at times, especially if you need them for important matters and they spew out gibberish or the same stuff over again.
Therefore, conversational AIs can be both helpful and annoying, and it is up to us users how we handle them, use them, and view them. They are like a double-edge sword that is mighty and powerful but has the tendency to also bring us harm if used incorrectly.
Perhaps, as they become more highly developed in the future, they will be redefined not as a laughing stock, but an innovation that will revolutionize the world of artificial intelligence. Who knows, society might even take very seriously and rightfully acknowledge AI technology because of conversational AIs.
Conversational AIs is unnoticeably part of our daily lives these days. They are integrated in digital business models and preinstalled in our smart devices. Their use might have offset their disadvantages, but they can be annoying at times when they do not work as intended. Hence, we can say they are annoying but helpful indeed.
We should know the risk in using them for us to properly optimize their purpose, without coming into harm or frustration. And as long as we view them as mere assistants, to assist us and not to fully satisfy our needs and wants at every whim, we can tolerate their shortcomings.