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Chatbots are Evolving, Sounding More Like Humans: Study

Robots answering customer calls in contact centers are increasingly sounding more like humans, a confirmation that artificial intelligence and natural language processing systems are evolving at a rapid pace, a new study has found.

Considering a study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida, many callers are failing to figure out if they spoke with a chatbot or a human agent.

That is because callers now increasingly perceive some “humanness” in their conversation with bots.

As part of the study, researchers made 172 volunteers have a chat with bots or human agents from companies including Express, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Interestingly, 62 of them admitted that they could not identify whether they were interacting with a human or a machine.

Analysts say it is very important for companies to employ robots that sound more like humans.

“If people felt like if it was human — either with really good AI or with a real person — then they felt like the organization was investing in the relationship. They’ll say, ‘Okay, this company is actually trying. They’ve put some time or resources into this, and therefore I trust the organization,’” says Tom Kelleher, an advertising professor in the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

Despite the fact that bots are evolving, businesses should decide where and when to deploy robots.

Healthcare providers using bots may lose their customers if the callers ever come to know that they were interacting with a machine, warn some analysts.

“As the metaverse evolves, understanding when to employ AI and when to employ real people will be an increasingly important business decision,” Kelleher said.

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“If I’m just trying to get an insurance quote, I would almost rather put something into an app then have to make small talk about the weather. But later on, if my house floods, I’m going to want to talk to a real person.”

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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