Chatbots: The Simple Software That Could Remove Office Tedium
The saying in coding goes: if you have to do a job more than once, automate the task. Bots will one day unburden you from these tasks.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
The saying in coding goes: if you have to do a job more than once, automate the task. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to automate answers to questions, like “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” and “Who’s the head of marketing?” Those questions typically come through via email. But bots will one day unburden you from having to answer these common office questions.
It’s the hope that one day, bots will liberate us from meaningless tasks, allowing us to concentrate on the tough questions.
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has openly stated, he wants people to get out of work early. Work hard when you're in the office and leave once you're done. "The most productive employees from my experience are those who go home at 5:30p.m., but are hyperfocused at work," Butterfield said at a press gathering last week. "People can only think really hard for six to eight hours a day."
He believes giving bots the gift of artificial intelligence will save us from meaningless workday hours lost because of busywork and often-asked questions. He isn’t the first person to point out how unbeatable humans become when paired with a robot and visa-versa.
Pentagon official Paul Scharre pointed out in a report that when a human-AI team was pitted against just human or just AI opponents in chess, the human-AI team was unstoppable.
“The AIs can analyze possible moves and identify vulnerabilities or opportunities the human player might have missed, resulting in blunder-free games,” Scharre explains. “The human player can manage strategy, prune AI searches to focus on the most promising areas, and manage differences between multiple Ais. The chess AI, or multiple AIs, gives feedback to the human player, who then decides what move to make.”
Scharre was speaking more to human-AI teams on the battlefield. However, we may begin to see “conversational user interfaces” being built and offered through apps, like Slack. "It's an opportunity for us, where Slack becomes the browser and the command line for the enterprise," he says.
Slack has already integrated many enterprise apps into this chat-base service. So, it’s possible we’ll be sending reports and receiving analytics through one command line on one screen.
The only issue that’s standing in the way is human language. Bots still have a tough time understanding conversational language, which is why many chatbots employ either button-based choice responses or have their own command language.
However, artificial intelligence and neural networks may help improve a system’s language to the point where it can answer basic, frequently asked questions, says Noah Weiss, Slack’s head of search:
"Workers spend about 20 percent of their time looking for information, or looking for a person who has the information they need," Weiss told Recode. "And we've found that a lot of the questions people have are asked over and over again."
In time, though, Slack hopes one day it’s app will be able to predict your role in a company, automate tasks you do everyday, and eventually become something like an assistant.
Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.
- The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
- It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
- On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.
- Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
- Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
- Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.