Buddy Chatbots and the User Experience of Tomorrow

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The more enriched an experience, the more dopamine is released into our brain and more profound is the interactivity associated with it. The feel-good factor or the user experience (UX) of any product, platform or service is the quintessential key to deliver a prolonged and definitive image of the brand in the mind of the customer. But how we create that indelible mark in the user's mind or what technological advancements will lead to enhancing the effect, undoubtedly needs our attention as we progress towards the UX of tomorrow. Can artificial intelligence lead Chatbots distinctly be the buddies in changing the future of UX?

Let me first take you through what is at the heart of past and present UX paradigms, what has made the UX of yesterday and today successful, and what technologies have been employed in realizing it.

Cave drawings, tapestries, and even written manuscripts provided a UX, wherein storytellers, oracles and poets would "hard-code" their messages. These technologies were to take a life of their own through the ages, with abstract content engaging its audience's imagination through reflection and thought. Whether sculpted, drawn or written, its purpose was to convey an intended natural meaning, even when done so artificially in hindsight.

Progressive Advancement in UX

With the advent of modern computing in the 20th century, engineers attempted to "hard-code" computers to interact with users. It was limited and primitive by today's standards, but it was something new! Even when projecting into a fictional future, HAL 9000 from Space Odyssey, the original Robocop, and Star Trek's LCARS voice interface were deliberately designed to sound and feel mechanized. They meant to convey a sense of artificiality to the viewers of the 60's through 90's, and for a good reason. Human-machine interface grabbed the attention of that era's audience simply by the virtue of novelty; it needed to be dichotomized from human-human interaction.
随着20世纪现代计算的出现,工程师们试图"硬编码"计算机与用户进行交互。按照今天的标准,它是有限的和原始的,但它是新的东西!即使投射到虚构的未来,Space Odyssey的HAL 9000,原版Robocop和Star Trek的LCARS语音界面也经过精心设计,让人感觉机械化。它们意味着向60年代到90年代的观众传达一种人为感,这是有充分理由的。人机界面仅仅凭借新颖性就抓住了那个时代观众的注意力;它需要从人与人之间的互动中分离出来。Conversational marketing is the word - Data Driven Investor
Before making a purchase, talk. Marketers who do that will be ahead of the game. That's the premise of what Paul Ince... www.datadriveninvestor.com

However, with the changing times, it is not the same today where the term "AI" is taken for granted. We have moved along in our expectations of what AI should be capable of. Today's chatbots and
然而,随着时代的变迁,今天"AI"这个词被认为是理所当然的并不相同。我们对AI应该具备的能力有所期待。今天的聊天机器人和Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems --- therefore --- are not meant to sound or feel mechanized and boring. They actively engage users by sounding more "human." And it will be far more interesting in the immediate future. That will be the time of ontology in its truest form, where intelligent systems will actively drive the user and not the other way around!

We are soon entering the age of evolved chatbot customer experience that will concurrently span a multitude of modalities --- not (just) text. It will rely on voice interaction, mixed-reality graphics, gestures, and cybernetic interfaces, all topped by AI concurrently performing linguistic and behavioural analyses. Undoubtedly it would be a truly enriched and immersive user experience that will know how to grab the user's attention at will.
我们很快就进入了进化的聊天机器人客户体验的时代,这个体验将同时涵盖多种形式 - 而不是(仅仅)文本。它将依靠语音交互,混合现实图形,手势和控制论界面,所有这些都由AI同时执行语言和行为分析。毫无疑问,这将是一个真正丰富和身临其境的用户体验,将知道如何随意吸引用户的注意力。

A Time of Multimode User Interaction

Now that we are steadily stepping onto the time of ontology, with intelligent systems driving the user to take his/her decisions, it's time to audit and learn how certain existing content presentation techniques might stand the test of time. And the role advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented/Mixed Reality (AR/MR) will play in harnessing their true potential.
现在我们正在稳步迈向本体时代,智能系统驱使用户做出他/她的决定,是时候审核并了解某些现有的内容呈现技术如何经得起时间的考验。人工智能(AI)和增强/混合现实(AR / MR)中的角色进步将发挥其潜力。

Human language, when textualized, is just one mode of communication. Advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have made great strides within this modality. Supervised machine learning techniques, such as Support Vector Machines (SVMs) can now extract relevant information from the text if trained to do so for a given set of contexts (domains.)

By introducing Neural Networks and Deep Learning techniques, NLP systems can even be made to classify the intent more holistically --- and in a limited fashion can readily uncover the underlying sentiment behind the textualized content as well.
通过引入神经网络和深度学习技术,甚至可以使NLP系统更全面地对意图进行分类 - 并且以有限的方式也可以容易地揭示文本化内容背后的潜在情绪。

Body language, the tone of voice and selective vocal emphasis are still additional modes of communication that need consideration. These added modalities can provide far greater cues into the intent and meaning behind the linguistic expression. Recently, two teams from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, and Instituto Politecnico Nacional de Mexico have independently published research papers validating the
肢体语言,语调和选择性声音强调仍然是需要考虑的其他通信模式。这些增加的方式可以为语言表达背后的意图和意义提供更多的线索。最近,来自新加坡南洋理工大学,美国卡内基梅隆大学和墨西哥国立政治学院的两个团队独立发表了研究论文,证实了methods and practical efficacy of Multimodal Sentiment Analysis (MSA) by adding information from video and audio content along with established NLP techniques. And it is the author's opinion that MSA will gain considerable traction in terms of the practical application of NLP in chatbots.

Furthermore, incorporating physiological biometrics to this analysis (e.g. either
此外,将生理生物测定结合到该分析中(例如,或者non-intrusively or using wearables) can make machine learning systems even more effective and efficient. For instance, adding heart rate, voice fluctuations, and posture can provide substantial information about the user's intent. Adding these subtle modalities can propel an interactive AI much closer to realizing true ontology; to not just do what the user seemingly asked for, but what the user may actually have wanted or needed.

An Era of On-Demand Mixed Reality

Even in current times, people tend to own more than one device and can switch between them part-way through their task.
即使在当前时代,人们也倾向于拥有多个设备,并且可以在他们的任务中间切换。Studies have shown that up to quarter of users can switch to a tablet from their smartphone and more than half switch to a laptop midway through any given activity. With the advent of new and more creative tools, it is only reasonable to expect that omnichannel UX will require absolute consistency in the age of multi-device use-cases.

UX, therefore, will not be limited to a simple "flat 2D screen" interaction but rather involve AR/MR as is the case with devices such as Microsoft's Hololens. AR/MR computing platforms will need to include any given device they identify and interoperate with it at run time. Therefore, such platforms will have the capability to recognize and connect to environmental sensors when entering a room or identify and interact at run time with smart outdoor cameras for enhancing the user's perceptual experience. Individual applications will not need to re-implement any lower-level interfaces and would bring in a fine seamless interaction for the user.
因此,UX不仅限于简单的"平面2D屏幕"交互,而是涉及AR / MR,就像微软的Hololens等设备一样。 AR / MR计算平台将需要包括他们在运行时识别并与之互操作的任何给定设备。因此,这样的平台将具有在进入房间时识别和连接环境传感器的能力,或者在运行时识别和与智能室外相机交互以增强用户的感知体验。单个应用程序不需要重新实现任何低级接口,并且会为用户带来精细的无缝交互。

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However, simply immersing a user into graphically rich, and detailed contextual content may not be enough to keep them engaged in the long haul. Can you quickly recall the mechanized voices of fictional AI's of the 60's-90's? Agreed, they sound boring by today's standards --- but were novel and "hip" during their respective eras. The same may be the eventual aftermath of AR/MR once the "novelty honeymoon" is over. To ensure that the users truly benefit and remain engaged, humanizing the digital experience will be as necessary tomorrow as it is today.
然而,简单地将用户浸入图形丰富且详细的上下文内容可能不足以使他们长期参与。你能快速回忆一下60年代至90年代虚构人工智能的机械化声音吗?同意,他们听起来很无聊的今天的标准---但在他们各自的时代是新颖的和"时髦的"。一旦"新奇的蜜月"结束,AR / MR的最终后果也是如此。为了确保用户真正受益并保持参与,人性化数字体验将在明天像今天一样必要。

Humankind's initial experimentation with the art of myth and storytelling, though synthetic, is in fact the oldest known technique to share experiences through analogy. It is this technique, that remains at the heart of humanizing digital experiences. With the abundance of content existing on the web, being different will continue to be critical. Creating a story around a given product and inviting users to become a part of it might be the easiest way to engage them. Perhaps, in the era of MR/AR, such storytelling will be of vital importance to let the user
人类最初使用神话和讲故事的艺术虽然是合成的,但实际上是通过类比分享经验的最古老的已知技术。正是这种技术仍然是人性化数字体验的核心。随着网络上存在大量内容,不同的内容将继续变得至关重要。围绕给定产品创建故事并邀请用户成为其中的一部分可能是吸引他们的最简单方法。也许,在MR / AR时代,这种讲故事对于让用户来说至关重要immerse into the experience --- thereby staying engaged.

Conversational interfaces may also prove invaluable in engaging the user to intuitively access content and assist in decision making. Currently, such interfaces --- though effective --- are limited to text- or voice-based chatbots. However, conversational interaction for AR/MR will be fundamentally different due to the enriched content rendered within an arbitrary 3D space. Free from the confines of a 2D "flatland," UX of the future will demand digital content to be more than what is currently accessed over the web. UX designers and engineers alike will need to prepare AI for verbal, as well as cues to interact with the users; not just by displaying audible or visual content, but by introducing key micro-interactions through evolutionary storyboarding that trigger the user's active thought process.
对话界面在使用户直观地访问内容和协助决策方面也可能是非常宝贵的。目前,这种接口---虽然有效 - 仅限于基于文本或语音的聊天机器人。然而,由于在任意3D空间内呈现的丰富内容,AR / MR的会话交互将根本不同。不受2D"平地"的限制,未来的用户体验将要求数字内容超过目前通过网络访问的内容。用户体验设计师和工程师都需要为口头准备人工智能,以及与用户互动的线索;不仅仅是通过显示声音或视觉内容,而是通过演化故事板引入关键的微交互,触发用户的积极思考过程。

Combining conversational paradigms and on-demand storytelling will require an abundance of information processing power and storage capacity, whether onboard an AR/MR device or distributed across a network of devices and appliances. And certainly, it will require substantial content generated at run-time in addition to existing pre-processed and raw data. The key demand for businesses and social networks of the future will be in how to restructure and optimize their content so that it is served readily through AR/MR interfaces. It will not just be flat UI, image and text on a website; but disparate content and metadata that can be rendered on-demand in the form of virtual objects within an augmented voxel space as part of a storytelling experience.
结合会话范例和按需讲故事将需要大量的信息处理能力和存储容量,无论是在AR / MR设备上还是分布在设备和设备的网络上。当然,除了现有的预处理和原始数据之外,还需要在运行时生成大量内容。未来企业和社交网络的关键需求将是如何重组和优化其内容,以便通过AR / MR接口轻松提供服务。它不仅仅是网站上的平面UI,图像和文字;但是,作为讲故事体验的一部分,可以在增强的体素空间内以虚拟对象的形式按需呈现的不同内容和元数据。

Artificial Intelligence Personified

Let's take a closer look how content and data served through various AI led technologies will change the perspective of designers, budding technology entrepreneurs as well as mature technology professional's understanding of the UX and its future. We have already witnessed the explosion of chatbots and smart machines within the market due to their versatile applicability in implementing conversational AI.
让我们仔细研究一下,通过各种人工智能技术提供的内容和数据将如何改变设计师,新兴技术企业家以及成熟技术专业人员对用户体验及其未来的理解。我们已经目睹了市场中聊天机器人和智能机器的爆炸性增长,因为它们在实现会话AI方面具有多种适用性。App fatigue may further fuel the growth of chatbot assistants --- so as to delegate sifting through apps and content based on their utility for a user's specific personality, needs, and habits. Additional drivers in favour of chatbots are top
可能会进一步促进聊天机器人助理的增长 - 以便根据用户的特定个性,需求和习惯,根据应用和内容委托筛选。支持聊天机器人的其他驱动程序是最重要的brands who are directly integrating them into their
谁直接将他们融入他们的customer experience channels starting from direct marketing through customer service and support, to direct sales --- thereby increasing efficiency.
渠道从直接营销到客户服务和支持,直接销售 - 从而提高效率。

Business and social websites too publish their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) collectively. Yet they also include chatbots to fetch the underlying content from a single source on demand structured data repository within a Content Management System (CMS). However, such hard-coded content may not necessarily connect with users in a way that a natural dialogue would. In an age, where we are rapidly advancing towards conversational commerce, businesses and individuals alike will need to ensure that they are ahead of the game in capturing their audience. This can only be achieved if they can repurpose abstract information to generate responses from raw data --- not such that AI chatbots create their own language --- but that they are capable of dialogue with their audience to connect at a personal level.
商业和社交网站也集体发布他们的常见问题(FAQ)。然而,它们还包括聊天机器人,以从内容管理系统(CMS)内的单个源点播结构化数据存储库中获取底层内容。然而,这种硬编码的内容可能不一定以自然对话的方式与用户连接。在一个我们正在迅速向会话式商业发展的时代,企业和个人都需要确保他们在捕捉受众方面领先于游戏。只有当他们可以重新利用抽象信息来生成原始数据的响应时才能实现这一点 - 不是AI聊天机器人创建他们自己的语言 - 而是他们能够与他们的受众进行对话以便在个人层面进行连接。

However, such chatbots --- might always be tainted with the perception of bias towards the business they are designed to generate. Instead of succumbing to the business of bots, users of tomorrow will demand independent aggregator assistant bots not linked to a single platform, but capable of automatically analyzing the user's needs, all available products, and services, their price and value, and act as an advisory assistant without vendor bias. Development and productizing of such "untethered" buddy chatbots are the next big opportunity for the start-ups and businesses of today.

Enhancement of the resulting UX can be exponential if additional modalities are included within the user interaction. Consider that upcoming trends for UX point to the
如果在用户交互中包括其他模态,则所得UX的增强可以是指数级的。考虑到即将到来的UX趋势指向proliferation of AR/MR in the immediate future.

Putting it all Together

In the pursuit of advancement, we forget sometimes what really drives the technological continuum. As social beings, we do not really embrace technology for technology's sake. We do so to enrich our interactivity and enhance our experiences. It is no secret therefore, that the more targeted and emotionally uplifting the UX, the more rewarding is its perception by the human brain. Only then is it able to capture a user's attention and imagination --- irrespective of technology.
在追求进步的过程中,我们有时会忘记真正推动技术连续性的因素。作为社会人士,我们并不真正为技术而拥抱技术。我们这样做是为了丰富我们的互动性并增强我们的体验。因此,用户体验越具有针对性和情感上的提升,人类大脑的感知就越有价值,这已不是什么秘密。只有这样才能吸引用户的注意力和想象力 - 无论技术如何。

In the coming years, it will become even more important for product and UX designers to include the "human" element. In the next few years, conversations are the next layer of UX and user interaction. Chatbots in their current state might not be able to handle the required complexities arising from the expectations of today's users. Advances in machine learning have certainly improved the adaptability of current chatbots. But the art of storytelling dependent heavily on contextual nuances and creativity are still very much beyond the scope of current technology. In the age of conversational commerce, it will become crucial to consider the dynamics of natural conversational dialogue, and impartiality of presented information to truly capture the attention of the user.

The future of UX will indeed be extremely interesting for those of us who witness it in full swing. With a rich plethora of immersive content and customized experiences available on-demand and with additional advances in human-machine interfaces to
对于我们这些全面见证它的人来说,UX的未来确实非常有趣。拥有丰富的沉浸式内容和按需提供的定制体验,以及人机界面的额外进步directly link the human brain to information access peripherals, such interactions can eventually become part of the user's active thought process. But until a time, humans practically become cyborgs, "un-tethered" buddy chatbots rendered as human-like guides within AR/MR environments may act as the user's "inner voice" so as to assist in decision-making --- via conversational discourse as well as through micro-interactions. Perhaps taking the form of the user's own "mirror image" to look and sound familiar, or that of the user's idol so as to be more convincing, such personifications of AI may be key to the UX of tomorrow.
对于信息访问外围设备,这种交互最终可以成为用户主动思考过程的一部分。但直到有一段时间,人类几乎成为了机器人,在AR / MR环境中呈现为类似人类的指南的"无系绳"伙伴聊天机器人可能充当用户的"内心声音",从而有助于决策 - 通过对话话语以及微观互动。也许采用用户自己的"镜像"的形式来看起来和听起来熟悉,或者用户偶像的形式以便更具说服力,AI的这种人格化可能是未来用户体验的关键。

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