The advancement in artificial intelligence and particularly in machine learning has made today’s chatbots more innovative and efficient. Their complexity may vary from a simple set of questions and answers to conversational AI that interprets and predicts user needs during the chat. A recent event on chatbots in Dublin claimed that chatbots of the future will be used to mark student exams and deliver learning programmes at work.
The conversational software is primarily being used in the retail and consumer service sectors but the event heard that there are huge opportunities for ‘early adopters’ in EdTech, Human Resources, Health, and other sectors.
As noted by Irish Tech News, a panel of experts explored the opportunities and experiences of using chatbots in learning at ‘Chatbots for Workplace Learning’ held recently at co-working space Huckletree in Dublin. The event was organized by The Learnovate Centre, which is one of Europe’s leading research centers in learning technology. Conor Kostick, CMO of SnatchBot, a multinational chatbot building platform, was the keynote speaker at the event.
Conor, who is also the founder of the Irish start-up Chatbot Creations and editor of thechatbot.net, said, “The benefits for the education sector are endless. Chatbots could be used to administer and correct tests — and give instant results. They could also be vital for workplace learning, where entire learning programmes can be delivered by chatbots.” He said that many universities were piloting the use of chatbots but this was generally by individual lecturers rather than at management level.
“It is a bit like when websites were initially created; there were early adopters who were quick to see the Return on Investment when they went online. Now, every business has a website and you couldn’t imagine having a business without one. In ten years’ time, every business will be using chatbots.”
He further added, “An HR department has to devise multiple policies that they need to communicate with each new hire – usually in the form of a large welcome pack. How more interesting, helpful and engaging would it be to put all this information into a chatbot when onboarding new staff as well as when delivering programmes on GDPR and other issues?”
Such conversation software is quite easy to develop and provide instant responses to users seeking information, resources or support. Through the implementation of even basic chatbots, one can reduce costs and increase engagement – freeing up time for busy managers and administrators.
Conor recalled that he often hears fears from people that AI will replace humans. Adding a counter to this fear he said, “It is not about that at all. It is about freeing humans up from doing the monotonous, boring work to do the tasks that AI can’t and the ones that humans are trained and experienced in doing – there are a lot of savings to be made in a lot of industries by doing this.”
He took the reference of the health sector in Finland, where chatbots make appointments and deal with a lot of the admin work with the final step being the actual physical meeting with a human. Conor further added, “This allows the health professionals to spend time doing what they are best at and allowing the chatbots to do the mundane and time-consuming work, saving time and money.”
Peter Hamilton, Interim Director of the Learnovate Centre said, “Chatbots offer the ability to increase engagement with learners providing focused just-in-time information and making course delivery more fun and meaningful for learners.”