Passing the Turing Test, what now?

In 1950, Alan Turing anticipated the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with his “Turing Test”, which imagined a conversation between a computer and a human and declared that if the human couldn’t tell if they were talking to a computer then it must be exhibiting intelligent behavior. In 2014 the Turing test was finally declared “passed for the first time”. This has been made possible by the rise in popularity of chat and instant messaging – Simon Cadbury, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Intelligent Environments . about 2.5 billion of us have at least one messaging app installed on our smartphone and it is becoming an increasingly popular forum for businesses to deliver their customer service.SwissCognitive Logo

Bots as business opportunities

Intelligent Environments has seen this opportunity emerge as increasing numbers of their clients have come to  to discuss how to capitalize on chat and instant messaging to improve their customer service offering. Live chat now delivers the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel at nearly 75% . The next few years is likely to see a boom in the use of chat bots in commerce and Gartner predicts that by 2020 autonomous software agents will participate in 5% of all economic transactions. While bots are starting to find a role for themselves, they are not the panacea, just yet. Bots can still frustrate customers by failing to set expectations or by acting in unexpected ways. As Forrester analyst Peter Wannemacher notes that’s not a problem if you’re just ordering a taco but “the stakes are too high when it comes to actions and advice related to people’s money”. There is also the question of emotion, for all its intelligence AI still can’t emphasize or understand emotions – bots can’t hear a customer’s frustration.

Challenges bots pose

Tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have all opened up their platforms to third-party chat bot services and bots are already at the core of some companies’ business models. However, there are still challenges with bots. Research by Wired magazine concluded that during the recent US presidential election about 20% of tweets were generated by bots that were spreading “rumo
rs, conspiracy theories or misinformation…and having their tweets retweeted by thousands of humans”. Their output could easily have been mistaken for grass roots support and may even have influenced voted turn out in some areas […]