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It is the clumsy, time consuming, non-discoverable, hard to explore nature of the interface that is the heart of the problem.
Making the AI smarter isn’t going to make the interface any more appealing.
And suddenly every tech comm and content strategy conference seems to be about getting your content ready for chatbots. Chatbots are sexy and sex sells, even if the definition of sexy is a grey box with a speaker sitting on the counter.
But chatbots are not the future of technical communication. As Will Knight writes in Tougher Turing Test Exposes Chatbots’ Stupidity in the , current AI does barely better than chance in deciphering the ambiguity in a sentence like: “The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they feared violence.” (Who feared the violence?
By far the easiest medium to do this foraging in is text.
Nothing else lets you speed up and slow down, go straight or turn left with anything like the same ease.
So you have to describe your problem to the chatbot. The primary virtue of an expert is that they can look at what you are doing and spot the flaw that you cannot see. The expert spots the one thing in the hundreds of parts and pieces you have assembled that is on backwards. But even if your chatbot grew up and became a robot with the vision and the common sense and the specialized knowledge and experience to watch you, to examine your work, and to spot the flaw in it the way a human expert would, it still would not be the future of technical communication. Setting aside the fact that if you had a robot with those capabilities you really would not need to learn to do the task yourself, the real problem is that there is only so much that experts can do for us.
In the end, learning is about rearranging our own mental furniture, finding our way through the thickets of our own minds.
But how many people are going to want to stay on line for hours with a chatbot? Sometimes if you are going to ask an expert, you need the expert on site where they can see your work and watch what you are doing. Another limit of the chatbot interface is revealed by the text adventure interface.Here’s why: No, I don’t mean that they are a stupid idea. ) Human do this so easily we rarely even notice that the ambiguity exists. As Brian Bergstein points out in The Great AI Paradox (also AI and computer science at MIT, says it would be more helpful to describe the developments of the past few years as having occurred in “computational statistics” rather than in AI.One of the leading researchers in the field, Yann Le Cun, Facebook’s director of AI, said at a Future of Work conference at MIT in November that machines are far from having “the essence of intelligence.” That includes the ability to understand the physical world well enough to make predictions about basic aspects of it—to observe one thing and then use background knowledge to figure out what other things must also be true. In fact, we have had chatbots you can type at for a long time.But the thing is, talking to tech support is not exactly technical communication nirvana.In fact, tales of tech support are predominantly tales of frustration on both sides of the phone.