Chatbots Are Still Missing the Human Element, Strategy Analytics Finds

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The development of conversational agents or chatbots that can engage in empathetic conversations with real people has long been a goal of artificial intelligence, but most chatbots today are inflexible, prescriptive,and unable to work outside of their scope, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

The inability of chatbots to express emotion, attitude, or opinion, especially if the chatbot cannot solve a customer's problem, leads to user frustration and cessation of use, the firm concluded.

"Despite some successes in the development of empathetic chatbots, human-level intelligence is still not fully understood. Building intelligent social chatbots that can understand humans and their surrounding world requires further advances in AI, particularly as their use diversifies into critical health-related services, such as mental health support systems," said Kevin Nolan, vice president of the UX Innovation Practice at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.

"Research has shown that a customer's emotions have significant influence on their satisfaction with a service chatbot. Consumer reaction to error is significantly influenced by perceived competence and trust. By designing systems that are user-centric and content driven, in addition to preventing recognized non-progress events from occurring, this will provide numerous benefits to the businesses using them," added Diane O'Neill, director of Strategy Analytics' UX Innovation Practice, in a statement.

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