5 ways chatbots need to evolve before they go mainstream

It’s hard to swing a $400 juicer in Silicon Valley these days without hitting a chatbot. Advances in artificial intelligence have enabled these talkative assistants to become a reality, and they’re now cropping up in many different forms. Facebook has greatly improved its chatbot game in Messenger, and everyone from Mastercard to Maroon 5 are climbing on board. In a way, voice-controlled chatbots drive personal assistants like Siri on our phones and Amazon Echo in our living rooms. It’s enough to make you believe the bots are taking over. Except they’re not, at least not yet. The technologies that drive chatbots, and those related to machine learning and AI in particular, need to advance before “conversation” becomes a standard interface. Just this week, Google recognized this with its People + AI Research Initiative, whose goal is to advance the development of “people-centric” AI systems. Computers need to understand humans better, in terms of language, emotion and intent. Big brands are testing the waters with chatbots to ensure they don’t get left behind, but AI must evolve in several important areas before they have a chance of being widely used. Some of the needs are obvious, like improved speech recognition, while others are more…


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