Intern Diary: Digging into Conversational AI

Happy Monday!

Andrea, the Artificial Solutions marketing intern, is proud to say I’m still out here kicking!

I made it through week one of two of finals, we’ll see how this one goes. I confess that my room right now is a mess of papers thrown around everywhere, meticulously divided into different sections to determine what I have gone over and what I haven’t, and I can happily say that the “studied” pile is finally larger than the “to study” pile! Finally!

I have a small confession to make this week, actually.

And that is that when I first started looking into Artificial Solutions for this job, I had no idea what Conversational AI was.

I know! How dare I! But honestly, I had been highly disconnected from the world of Artificial Intelligence throughout my life, with most of these big emerging technologies being too fleeting or too abstract for me to take the time to truly understand them.

The world of Conversational AI is one that I never saw myself going into or learning about, but now I can’t stop looking at the small chatbots that are available in almost any website, and I have realized what a widespread and important technology it has become.

I’ve fought with my share of chatbots online, just like anyone else, just arguing with a chatbot that absolutely refuses to understand whatever it is that you’re trying to say, fully ignoring the point, and just resending the same useless message. I guess I had grown slightly resentful of both chatbots and voice bots who would be in conversation with me when I was trying to fix an issue. I confess that when I’m on the phone with a bot I actively try to make it not understand so that I’m redirected to an actual human.

I guess I am Conversational AI’s worst nightmare as a customer.

And I guess that most of the conversational AI solutions that are available in the market are like that, because now that I (slightly) know about the technology I am still annoyed whenever I have to make use of most of them.

They don’t truly adapt to the conversation that is actually going on, and I knew that if the conversational solutions built by Teneo were anything like those I would have to definitely pretend to like the platform. So, I’m just glad that Teneo is more complex, and therefore builds more complex conversations.  

I guess, overall, I was just surprised at the fact that this huge industry had just been flying over my head this entire time, with a widespread adoption in fields that I had never thought of.

My mom talked to me about it last week (hi mom!), mentioning that there was an initiative that she saw on the news where a chatbot was created so that victims of domestic violence were able to get information, guidance, and call out for help, all without the fear of being judged by another person at other side of the conversation.

She thought that it was a good idea and was happy to hear that the company I worked in was building a technology that had so much untapped potential for good and that could have such a positive impact on the lives of individuals, and that slowly as an industry we are getting there.  

I’m actually off to go to a talk on Conversational AI!

Tune in next week to see if I make it out of my undergrad in one piece!