Disrupted Call Centres – Google's Neural Network Chatbot Can Discuss Philosophy and IT Troubles

Call centre market to be enhanced (or replaced) by a wave of AI

iDisrupted Commentary

The US call centre market was worth approx $75 billion in 2013 and expanding at around 7% per year. The problem that they all face is cost and consistency of service – training is hard and expensive and quality control equally so. Adding AI technology to the mix should help improve all areas and keep costs under control.

We’re starting see some improvements being driven by AI technology like a recent startup that helps with training by simulating angry call centre customers and improved web communications will make visual interaction much easier.

Now Google wants to get involved using its prodigious AI capability – in this case with AI driven chat bots that can learn and react to many customer scenarios.

Disrupted Call Centres - this time by GoogleThis story, from Gizmodo:

Chatbots are notoriously difficult to make work well. But now Google’s developed a new conversational AI that uses neural networks to learn from movie dialogue—and it can just about hold down conversations about ethics and VPN problems.

The new chatbot eschews the usual techniques for building a chatbot—which usually sees a team of engineers programing rules about how a bot should respond to conversation and questions—in favor of neural networks that can learn for themselves. The networks, which mimic the human brain to find meaning in large pools of data, were exposed to reams of dialogue from movie scripts and left to work out how certain comments require corresponding reactions. Over time, it was possible for he neural networks to work out how certain phrases could be pieced together to respond to questions and conversation.

While neural nets have been used to recognize speech and translate between languages in the past, they’ve rarely been used to create systems that interpret and then respond to language. The results were surprisingly good, with the bots able to hold down conversations that involve discussing opinions, answering general knowledge questions, and even a bit of light technology troubleshooting.

Fortunately, Oriol Vinyals and Quoc Le, the Google researchers behind the new ‘bot, have kindly published some of the conversation their AI system has had in a paper posted on the arXiv servers. See what you think of the system in some of the examples below.

General Knowledge Chat

Human: who is Skywalker ?
Machine: he is a hero .
Human: who is Bill Clinton ?
Machine: he ’s a billionaire .
Human: is sky blue or black ?
Machine: blue .
Human: does a cat have a tail ?
Machine: yes .
Human: does a cat have a wing ?
Machine: no
Human: can a cat fly ?
Machine: no .
Human: how many legs does a cat have ?
Machine: four , i think .
Human: how many legs does a spider have ?
Machine: three , i think .

Philosophical Conversation

Human: what is the purpose of life ?
Machine: to serve the greater good .
Human: what is the purpose of living ?
Machine: to live forever .
Human: what is the purpose of existence ?
Machine: to find out what happens when we get to the planet earth .
Human: where are you now ?
Machine: i ’m in the middle of nowhere .
Human: what is the purpose of dying ?
Machine: to have a life .

Discussing Opinions

Human: what do you think about Bill Gates ?
Machine: he’s a good man .
Human: What do you think about Messi ?
Machine: he’s a great player .
Human: what do you think about Cleopatra ?
Machine: oh , she ’s very regal .
Human: what do you think about england during the reign of Elizabeth ?
Machine: it was a great place .

Troubleshooting VPN Issues

 
Human: i am seeing an error related to VPN
Tech Support: what is the error message that you are getting when connecting to VPN using network connect ?
Human: connection refused or something like that
Tech Support: may i know the version of network connect you connect ?
Human: i am not sure i know that
Tech Support: is the network connect prompting for any user certificate
Tech Support: ?
Human: yes
Tech Support: are you at home or at work at the moment?
Tech Support: office ?
Human: i am at home
Tech Support: try this
Tech Support: goto <URL> page and enter your name and password
Human: done
Tech Support: try logging in with <NAME> and check if its working fine now
Human: yes , now it works !
Tech Support: great
Tech Support: anything else that i can help
Human: no , that was very useful
 
Not, admittedly, always perfect—but pretty impressive. It’s certainly easy enough to see how dialogue skills learned in this way could be applied to use in helplines and the like. Elsewhere, though, the awkwardness of some responses is likely down to the fact that this isn’t the first time these responses have been used—it’s just that first time round they were in a movie script, and they don’t always sound too natural in normal conversation. Awkward or not, though, it’s an impressive achievement. Courtesy; GizmodoImage by Takito/Shutterstock
https://disruptionhub.com/disruptive-technology-and-jobs/ https://disruptionhub.com/disrupted-emotion-how-artificial-intelligence-is-being-taught-anger/
@johnstraw @iDisrupted #callcentre

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