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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Will Chatbot Ever Rule the World?

Advancement of technology never stops on edging a new dimension to the digital connectivity and thereby furnishing the way of conducting business in this tech-savvy world. Chatbots have evolved significantly in the last few years and thanks to the artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) that empowers them.

Now questions must be rising in your mind like; “what is a chatbot?”, “Can it be implemented in every business irrespective of its nature and conventional division of sectors?”, “Is it going to adversely impact the involvement of human capital in near future?” and so on. In simple terms, Chatbots are computer programs that interact with people in a way that resembles with the approaches of human interaction. The interaction can differ in terms of complexity from simple keyword-driven queries to elaborate conversational systems based on the type of chatbot. This conversational form of user-machine interaction can act as a framework for various types of useful applications. These days’ chatbots are functioning all over the internet in customer support, as virtual assistants like Google Assistant, and in many other roles. They are no longer confined to imitate human conversation through text chats rather they are equipped for voice commands and much more. Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa etc are prime examples of interactive voice-based chatbots whereas XiaoIce from Microsoft’s, Mitsuku, Facebook M etc are classic models of chatbots.

Be it a business process that deals with Banking & Financial Services or Retail or any service sector, chatbot can enrich the customer experience by building natural and rich conversational experiences. Chatbots are promising an exceptional ability to engage their customers in the right place, at the right time, with the right information in a cost-effective manner. Adding chatbots to a conversational platform lets people ask questions, issue commands, and so on without changing context. Also, it helps to streamline the process in the back end by interacting & establishing coordination with other systems. Starting from hotel booking to purchasing in e-commerce platforms, chatbots are providing an excellent framework for various processes, including workflow management, setup and configuration, order generation, search, data collection and thereby simplifying the process in almost every industry.

The chatbots market size is expected to grow from USD 703.3 Million in 2016 to USD 3,172.0 Million by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 35.2% during 2016–2021. This statistical information indicates the significance in the coming decade which further reinforces the ability to provide access to a wide range of resources with a unified cognitive experience. Though the future seems to be aligned with the techno-managerial aspects, it creates speculations regarding the utilization of human capital. But every change in technology opens up a new dimension and new possibilities in the workforce. Businesses can be more productive and plan out the further expansion with the existing human resources by empowering them with proper skills and training. In this rapidly evolving era of technology, chatbots hold a lot of promise and there is still some way to go before they can completely replace humans. The scope is enormous for creating extremely sophisticated and adaptable tools that can help the firms to automate their business processes and its only possible with an effective coordination between man and machine.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author's and not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DoT Club as a whole.