Think Leaders

thinkLeaders podcast: How human should a chatbot be?

Share this post:

iTunes | Spotify | Overcast | Pocket Casts |

How human should a chatbot be? In this episode of thinkPod, we are joined by chatbot experts Clara de Soto and John Keefe. Clara is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Reply.ai, and John is the technical director for bots and machine learning at Quartz. We talk to Clara and John about the types of personalities chatbots should have, bot transparency, why liberal arts majors may now have jobs as conversational designers, and delicate balance brands face when crafting a chatbot. We also hear about creating a Westworld chatbot for superfans, the danger of having a chatbot make suggestions for pregnant women, and whether our pumpkin spice latte should chat with us.

Some of the questions we deal with include:

  • Does it make sense to have chatbots and AI have names and their own personalities?
  • Do companies think through their brand identity when creating a bot?
  • When is it appropriate to use a bot versus when do people want to have that actual human conversation?
  • How will the rise of chatbots impact the job outlook for customer service agents?
  • How important is explainability?

Key quotes from the podcast include:

“You know, it’s almost like liberal arts majors everywhere can rejoice in having a career path as conversation designers.” – Clara de Soto

“Actually more challenging turns out to be, ‘how does this bot fit into the cannon of the storyline that exists already?’ And that actually turns out to be quite a challenge because suddenly the bot is speaking for the brand or the show and hardcore fans are going to be like, okay, what does this reveal about the existing characters? How does this fit in? And so that’s stuff that we have to work through.” – John Keefe

“In that case it had an average conversation length of three minutes [for the Kia Niro bot]. I will never forget this one dude in Texas talked to it for 42 minutes. A car.” – Clara de Soto

“It’s not just spitting out results onto the web page, right? It’s humans looking at it, reporters looking at it, questioning it, and then figuring it out. Being able to explain it is part of being able to be transparent and be truthful.” – John Keefe, discussing the explainability needed for bots

“I like to think that bots give those people [customer service agents] super powers. Because the bot will never be able to fully take over what a human being is capable of answering, especially when you get into more complexity. So it’s more just like making them more efficient and better.” – Clara de Soto

Connect with the John, Clara, and IBM thinkLeaders:
John Keefe @jkeefe
Clara de Soto @Claradactyl
thinkLeaders @IBMthinkLeaders

For the full transcript of the podcast, please click here.

Demand Generation Leader, IBM Watson

Caitlin Leddy

Product Marketing, IBM Watson

More Think Leaders stories
April 16, 2019

Can AI Help Us Find Love? A Podcast Discussion with Ryan Matzner & Rori Sassoon

Can we use AI to help us find love? In this episode of thinkPod, we are joined by Rori Sassoon (co-founder of Platinum Poire and author of The Art of the Date) and Ryan Matzner (founder of Fueled). We discuss and debate whether AI is an effective and efficient matchmaker, how AI may be able to know us better than we do, the amount of data a dating platform needs, and the prospect of using visual recognition technology to find a match that looks like your favorite celebrity.

Continue reading

April 9, 2019

Product design, ethics and human-centric digital transformation

In this episode of thinkPod, we dig into the news regarding Stanford’s newly-announced Institute for Human Centered Artificial Intelligence, whether ethics has a central role in product design, and the intersecting roles of consumers, government, and companies.

Continue reading

April 1, 2019

How human should a chatbot be?

When a brand thinks about implementing chatbots, one of the first conversations is usually about voice. What will this AI sound like? Will it be like a professional concierge, a chummy pal, or a quirky robot friend that admits up front that it’s a robot?

Continue reading