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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Carrying an Intelligent Conversation with Chatbots Paul Golata

Technology along with artificial intelligence (AI) have come so far. Nowadays we even have chatbots! A chatbot is a computer with embedded AI that engages in human-to-machine conversation.

Intel makes possible the most amazing experiences of the future, including the future of chatbots. Intel® Atom™ Processors and Intel® RealSense™ Technology are products that allow people to interact with a device in a non-traditional manner and enable them to develop highly interactive applications or solutions.

Have you ever knowingly encountered a chatbot?

Perhaps you have done so in a chat room on a website. You might have gone to a website where a little chat box popped up at the bottom asking if you had any questions. When you type your questions into the box, you receive an instantaneous response, because it is programmed! 

Or maybe you’ve called your favorite entertainment establishment, and it has provided you with automated messages and asked you to say things on the phone like “booking reservations” or “book a party.”

There are so many cool things that chatbots can do. Chatbots are created to provide users with better customer service experiences.

I have four (4) daughters. My oldest daughter is getting married this summer. A few weeks back she called my wife, Dianna, asking her if she could drive her to the airport on a Saturday for a flight at 14:00 to go and visit her fiance who lives in another state. Dianna said sure. On Saturday, my wife and daughter went out first to lunch and then my wife took her to the airport. The loving mom that she is, she did not simply drop off my daughter. She waited to see that all was well and that she would get off safely.

Well, all did not go well. The flight was overbooked. No other flights from that airline were going out that day. However, the airline said they could book my daughter on another flight at 21:00 that evening.

My wife and daughter called me telling me the problem. They asked if they should sit at the airport and wait it out for the next eight (8) hours. I said, “Are you crazy! Drive the 45km back home and hang out. I will take her back and drop her off again after dinner.”

So, my wife and daughter returned to the house. We hang out and eat dinner together. At 19:00, I say. “Let’s go.” We hop in the car and zip off to the airport.

I am not like my wife.

I drop off my daughter and leave the airport. Because really what could go wrong? There is no way they would be overbooked again.

I am less than 5km from home, and my daughter calls crying. She says this flight is overbooked.

“WHAT!”

I immediately U-turn the car and head back to the airport. I am going to kick some serious butt on all human customer service agents that get in my way.

I arrive at the airport.

I park the car.

“SCREEEEEECH!”

Door slammed!

Roll up my sleeves. I walk into the airport.

Some serious yelling is about to happen.

I go in, and the place is deserted.

I could not find one human agent to help.

The check-in area is a ghost town!

It is just me, my daughter, and the custodians.

I grab my daughter’s phone. Call 1-800-AIRLINE(A), so I can yell. 

I get a human agent in Idaho. She books my daughter on an outbound flight on another airline for the next morning, Sunday, at 7:00. I ask the agent for a seat assignment. She says she cannot give me one. I must call the airline that my daughter will be flying out on.

So I call 1-800-AIRLINE(B).

I get the agent.

“Hello, this is Alberto. How may I help you?”

Alberto has a Latin sounding voice. Soothing, Smooth. Suave.

I talk to him and lay it all out. I need to get my daughter from here to there and need to get her a seat assignment on your 07:00 flight tomorrow.

Alberto: “Certainly, for security purposes, I need to get your daughter’s date of birth, social security, and flight details.”

I pass the phone over to my daughter so she can respond. We are now holding the phone so that both of us can hear. She can speak into it giving Alberto the answers, and I can tell my daughter what to ask Alberto for next.

Alberto gets through all the security questions and now starts to work on getting us a seat.

Alberto: “Would you like to pay $59 for an upgraded seat with more legroom?”

My daughter and I in unison, “No.”

Alberto: “Okay, if you do not book an upgrade seat than I cannot give you a seat assignment until tomorrow.”

My daughter, “We do not want to pay for an upgraded seat. We want a regular, no extra charge seat assignment. What is the seat assignment?”

Alberto: “I am sorry. If you do not book an upgrade seat than I cannot give you a seat assignment until tomorrow.”

I grab the phone!

I began yelling at Alberto, “Look, Alberto, we do not want to pay for an upgraded seat. We want a regular, no extra charge seat assignment. What is the seat assignment?”

Alberto: “I am sorry, if you do not book an upgrade seat than I cannot give you a seat assignment until tomorrow.”

I said to Alberto, “Alberto, what are you, a broken record!? I want a seat assignment and do not want to pay for an upgraded seat. As a human being why can’t you hit the button that says seat assignment and give my daughter the seat?”

Alberto: “I am sorry, if you do not book an upgrade seat than I cannot give you a seat assignment until tomorrow.”

I angrily hung up the phone. 

My daughter is looking into my face.

We both say, “What just happened?”

Suddenly, the realization slowly dawns on me.

I was so stressed, but I do admit a slight smile came across my face when I figured it out.

I look at my daughter and say that Alberto is not the man we thought he was.

He is in realityAlberto the AI chatbot.

Alberto had fooled me the whole time!!!

How cool! 

This AI customer service program knew I was talking to it and was answering my questions.

However, when it got to the end of what it could do, it could go no further.

Despite my stress, my technically inclined heart was happy!



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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).


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