Automation is pretty cool. It shields us from mundanity, and gives us back  time and resources we could better spend on more fun or productive things (or perhaps just things that we haven’t figured out how to automate yet).

Because of the allure of automation, bots are sometimes perceived as a threat to humans, particularly their employment. Saving time? Saving money? Objectively, any business should strive towards that. Performing business tasks at a fraction of the cost in less time, that’s practically the definition of efficiency.

The fallacy that bots will replace humans in the workforce surfaces with this question: are we actually automating people?  

We like to make chatbots appear as human as possible — culturally-appropriate names, carefully constructed avatars, colloquial vocabularies, jazzed up dialogs to make users feel like a real conversation is taking place — but bots are not human. Nor are they autonomous. Have you ever seen Blade Runner? Consider it a blessing and a curse.

Forget about free will, and consider this: bots lack real intellect — they know what we teach them, which we must spoon feed them in inevitably limited doses. In fact, because of this, many bots in today’s market aren’t that cost-cutting at all.

Chatbots that rely solely on machine learning, which is almost all of them, require large amounts of utterances and training datasets to be remotely efficient. The high initial investment doesn’t even pay off, because while you still need to train the bot as time goes on, with the passage of time comes the depletion of utterances that your bot can learn from.

Inbenta offers a chatbot that works a little differently, offering 90% accuracy from day 1 with no training or utterances required for launch. Our technology leverages natural language processing for more conversational exchanges with users. This means we make a chatbot that’s better at being an intelligent bot, not one that’s better at being a human being.

Humans have a value that is unparalleled by robots. Our ability to act with both logic and empathy is a feat unsurpassed by bots. Our creativity bleeds through our work in ways that are both subtle and undeniable. We are able to relate to each other because we are each other. We bear the joys and brunt of culture, language, relationships, ethics, and responsibility. Our brains can identify and make connections between things that would take bots years to learn, if at all. We learn on our own, we don’t require supervision, extensive training, or debugging. We can be held accountable for our actions, and know not to run off on discriminatory Twitter tirades. These are all qualities we need in the workforce to be able to work with and for each other, accomplish great things, and do it all in the most efficient way possible. We might not be working 24/7, but those 8 hours a day, five days a week that we are make up for it, and then some.

Bots are sophisticated tools — we build, use, and optimize them that way. Cars didn’t teach themselves how to drive, just like how chatbots didn’t teach themselves how to… chat. Behind every bot is a team working diligently and constantly to make it useful and convincing, and there’s still a lot of work to be done to make this variety of “automation” happen.

 

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