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Former Staff
Posts: 7,869
Registered: ‎23-07-2014

Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

Hi guys,


Following our earlier discussion around digital home assistants, I'd love to see some discussion around another interesting type of automation...


Chatbots and Artificial Intellingence. 🤖


Do you generally understand the difference between bots, chatbots, and AI? Here's a quick summary:


  • Bots are simple automated tools, used to make tasks easier; they can only recognise keywords and execute actions based on them. They present you with a list of buttons that you can click to move the interaction along to the next stage.
  • Unlike the above, chatbots can actually interact, but still rely on human programmers. Chatbots have natural language understanding, which means they can understand a broader range of language and interact, to an extent, by asking questions, interpret responses and execute actions. What separates them from AI is that they still require input of programmers to function.
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) can learn from its interactions. An AI uses deep learning to receive data and interpret it, and these interpretations are not determined by programmers. Gartner defines AI as technology that: “appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions [and by] appearing to understand complex content”. It also engages in natural dialogue with people.


Do you know of any examples of the above?

Have you used them? How was the experience?

What situation do you think bots / chatbots / AI would be good for?

Anything you feel you would not use a bot for?


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Posts: 0

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

Sounds a bit like The Terminator to me. Don’t like the thought of tech taking over everything then who knows what might happen good or bad
Posts: 13,405
Topics: 83
Registered: ‎14-01-2014

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

Whilst I'm all for the progression of human technology, I am firmly of the belief, that chatbot use in the customer service field should at best, be used to direct the user to a human who uses human emotion and judgement to deal with a request.
Certain conversations need the human brain to: understand, to empaphise, to gain the right information based on not only questions, but complexity of responses.
No ai can do this yet, and won't for some time to come as our brains are functioning far beyond the reach of sciences full understanding... And abilities.

Posts: 97,048
Topics: 757
Registered: ‎14-01-2013

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

[ Edited ]

I have no experience of any of them @Marjo 


I am interested in AI however, it would be extremely interesting to see how far they can take that.

(I was a great fan of the TV series Humans) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humans_(TV_series)


I still have great reservations about the use of A.I. in medicine though.

Currently A.I. 'could' diagnose simple diseases, though I have great doubts that they could treat patients.

One size does not fit all with treatment programmes.

Everyone is an individual and currently they need human intervention.

Humans can display emotions such as compassion, sympathy and empathy which is part of all treatment.

A.I is unable to show any emotion at all.



*The Game Is On*

Posts: 114,062
Topics: 568
Registered: ‎04-04-2012

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

Not for me thanks.
If I can't talk to a human I'll go elsewhere so I can.
I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
Posts: 13,107
Topics: 309
Registered: ‎13-02-2019

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

I am very wary of technology taking over or even supplimenting human knowledge, experience and inter-reaction.

Such innovations can, at best, only be as good as the information programmed into it. That said, it should also be noted that inter-active services  often respond with "I do not understand". Further none of these applications can show empathy, or provide for the individual needs of the particular person.


In my opinion, we are slowly replacing human skills with dependence on so-called technological advances, but how can these even be considered advances if user becomes the slave to such innovations rather than in control.


Leave the innovators to develop their "toys" for the gamers and let the rest of us have what we know and trust - human beings who know, understand, show compassion, care, and how to treat our personal ailments, diagnosis, and treatments.


Some people see things as they are and ask "Why?"; I dream of things that never were and ask "Why not?"...
Robert Kennedy.

Posts: 10,294
Topics: 83
Kudos: 1,116
Blog Posts: 2
Registered: ‎22-08-2016

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

[ Edited ]

I have no personal knowledge of bots, though I understand they can be useful in specific situations. 


AI I have a bit of knowledge about, through a firm I worked for between 1988-'95. I worked in the IT Division of the firm for 2 years and one of my bosses was working on a proposal for AI which was sent to large organisations like BP. I found it interesting that AI could be programmed to almost think like a human and make decisions. That was, of course, early days and I imagine AI has become even more intuitive now. BUT I don't think it can ever replace human thought or human interaction, and I sincerely hope it never does, or that I'm not around to see it if it does.


There are just some things that require the human touch medicine being the main one as already mentioned by @Cleoriff. AI might be able to diagnose a disease but treatment should always be by a human doctor and nurse. As @Cleoriff quite rightly says, one size doesn't fit all. And while a human can make those decisions based on each individual patient a 'computer' no matter how advanced cannot.


I am concerned sometimes that we are too dependent on tech replacing every aspect of human interaction and thought processes. Nothing can ever come close to the human brain and God help us if a machine is ever created that can. There lies chaos of the worst sort. And it frightens me to think it could happen in the future. 


What was science fiction when I was a child has, in many ways, come to pass. Some very good and some less so. A world run by Bots and AI is to me horrific and the stuff of nightmares. And I'm no technophobe, far from it. But just because we can, doesn't mean we should is a very apt quote when it comes to the possibility of a world run by bots and AI.

Lover of all things Samsung. Currently using Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus 128gb

Former Staff
Posts: 7,869
Registered: ‎23-07-2014

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

[ Edited ]

Cheers for all your comments guys! 👍


By the way I spotted this news today which I think is an interesting example of AI use! Smiley Happy 


Yeah that's the very futuristic view of AI I think @Anonymous , the Terminator. Smiley Very Happy @Cleoriff  I've also watched Humans and thought it an excellent show - some of the concepts are quite scary to think about though and that's what people are debating in general, aren't they, about where things with AI will be heading in the future.


I read that at the moment, everyday things many of us use, such as Spotify's music recommendations feature uses AI, as it learns about your preferences and can recommend more without further input from the programmers.


Couple of examples of chatbots could be e.g. in Facebook messenger - you can use a chatbot functionality through the messenger to order a taxi or takeout food, which can be great if you're in a hurry.



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Posts: 83,176
Topics: 577
Registered: ‎04-01-2009

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

I think we have all experienced bots at one time or another. Simply directing to a useful set of Q&A's works for simple clarification of certain aspects of a query.

My gas and electric are supplied by an online company. There is o email address or phone number. You can't speak to a human. All they have is a bot called Wattbot where, after going all round the houses and continually looping onto the Q&A's page, you finally get to be able to leave a message for those in the office to get back to you.

Now....they don't call you or email you, you have to continually check the app before they leave a message there for you. Truly awful customer service. I have a smart meter which isn't smart enough to send meter readings to the accounts dept. No one, family or carers can read the meter and so for over 12 months my bill has been estimated over and above what I think I should be paying.

Only recently have I been able to lie on the floor to get to the meter and through trial and error, have been able to get the seperate readings. Unlike British Gas where you can text the readings, they have to be sent through the app. Imagine my surprise (not!) when I'm just over £200 in credit.

So I ask Wattbot how to get a refund, err...sorry I don't recognise your question....here's the Q&As page. Aaaagh!!!

The money is better in my account, I can do something with it. Left the message after 10 minsutes of frustration, checked the app a few days later, Good news Mr Jones, we have adjusted your direct debit so you will be paying less per month. In the end I just gave up and am now in the process of changing suppliers!


The Translatortron will prove very useful once implemented by Google. That AI I wholeheartedly welcome although my Bolton accent wouldn't come over in the translation wink



However a read through this article does warn against the danger of advancement in AI in the event of an existential event and could eventually cause such an event.

Have a read and tremble......



Level 32: Blockbuster         
Posts: 6,380
Registered: ‎03-08-2018

Re: Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence

[ Edited ]

Hi @Marjo 

At the moment I would have serious concerns about leaving a Chatbot in charge.

However, I have had extremely amusing experiences with accounts departments

run by humans.

In a house being refurbished the Electricity Company removed the Meter completely

for a while until works were completed, off they went with the meter gave me a receipt

with a reading.  I paid the reading clearing all the bill.   All was well until the next bill cycle

and in came a bill estimated, of course!   

I rang to say I had no meter and no electricity gave details of receipt etc. etc. BUT

Red bills came , threats came I rang the

office time and time again speaking to humans! 

Until one day I threatened them with

going to their offices with a very large stick and smashing their computer ~ that worked.grin


I shudder to think what it would be like with a bot of any kind.rage