The company CB Insights has recently published a document named “Lessons From The Failed Chatbot Revolution”. This ominous title reveals a hard truth: chatbots have not been the revolution we expected.
In 2016 common belief was that chatbots would become an absolutely necessary piece of interaction between any company and their customers (and not only with them). They would be so smart that the human interaction would be reduced to a minimum, bringing a full “robotic process automation” experience to the customer support and many other areas. Yet, this is not what has happened. Chatbots have not fulfilled this promise: they keep growing and maturing, but clearly the word “revolution” does not apply here. What has happened then?
First, the expectations were too high. Many of the tasks that were to be performed by bots were just too hard for current technology. Many times, the human interaction needed to complement chatbots was so significant that it made more sense to have humans do it themselves. And, of course, from the beginning the focus was on algorithms rather not on data, which is clearly absurd since bots had to engage with the complexity of human language.
The revolution has not triumphed, but are chatbots dead? Well, not yet! In fact, the full title of the report was “Lessons From The Failed Chatbot Revolution — And 5 Industries Where The Tech Is Making A Comeback”. This is because chatbots have proved to be still very useful in many specific tasks. We’ll talk about them later on another post the blog. Stay tuned!
- Infographic: Four steps to build a great chatbot (Bitext).
- RPA (Robotic Process Automation): What’s In Store For 2020? (Forbes).
- From Live Chats to Chat Bots (Bitext).