Chatbots in the News

 

The news is below, but first, a note!

When looking at the literature,  remember that the term “chatbot” is almost as broad as the term “book”,  in the sense that it is hard to make sweeping generalizations.     That said,  like most books,   or most computer-assisted educational products,  most chatbots out there are pretty mundane and boring, but that doesn’t mean that the excellent ones are not excellent!

The critical issue is really not how a chatbot performs today,  but what kind of learning curve does it have, and how will it be performing next year at this time?     A well-designed system will improve slightly with each session, and with each user, and get better and better over time. 

Since chatbots are highly “scalable”,  once you have one, it’s pretty trivial technically to have ten thousand simultaneous users, and that can produce significant improvement if learning occurs at any positive rate, since they all “trade notes”.

In that sense, “chatbots” are somewhat like 8 year olds!

There are at least two dozen companies that write something called a “chatbot” or “virtual agent”,   but most are pretty disappointing, as you can tell from talking to the faceless chatbot at your phone or cable company, or bank, or almost any large company you call today for service.

 Caveat emptor! (Buyer beware!)

 

Concept overview in English  (Mostly YouTube videos)

Just for fun

  • Two “CleverBots” talking to each other, with full-body animation.  (YouTube,  run as script then typed into XtraNormal, I think.)
  • Different two chatbots talking to each other ( YouTube, 4.5 minutes ) – made with product “GoAnimate”, which looks like a successor to “XtraNormal”.)
  • An animated body-language generic smart-aleck bot you can talk to. — Elbot.  (requires pop-up window I think)
  • Two chatbots talking to each other ( YouTube, 1.5 minutes )
  • Talk to a generic CleverBot right now  (available on Android devices too , apparently.)

News Items

 

Weblogs devoted to the subject: