You’re Asking Too Much of Chat Bots. Just Let Them Grow UpWeb


That’s also what we heard last week from Dan Grover, a product manager for WeChat, the Chinese messaging service that’s already facilitating various commerce tasks, including hailing cars, checking the weather, and browsing subway schedules. The success of WeChat’s commerce engine, he says, isn’t really about conversation. It’s about finding a much simpler way for people to interact with businesses. “Those that actually succeeded in bringing value to users were the ones that peeled back conventions of ‘conversational,’ he says.
The Long Wait

Yes, truly conversational bots will eventually arrive. Using deep neural nets, Google recently built a bot that discusses the meaning of life, and judging from the company’s transcripts, it seems to work pretty well. But it’s hard to know how long we’ll have to wait for something like this to break out of the lab. As good as Google’s chatbot seems, the company hasn’t let anyone outside the company play with it. And training such bots relies on data that’s harder to come by than you might think. Google used old movie dialogue.

But maybe we can afford to wait. Maybe we just want to get things done without too much talking. “Even if the technology is real, it’s not the best consumer experience,” Hadzaad says of conversations with business bots. “Back-and-forth conversations are just inefficient and not natural. People want things as efficient as possible.” In other words, maybe the world doesn’t need conversational commerce. It definitely doesn’t need the hype.

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