Chatbots of the future will be used to mark student exams and deliver learning programmes at work, our event on chatbots in Dublin was told today.
Chatbot technology can vary in complexity from a simple set of questions and answers to conversational AI that interprets and predicts user needs during the chat.
It is primarily being used in the retail and consumer service sectors but today’s event heard that there are huge opportunities for ‘early adopters’ in the EdTech, Human Resources, Health and other sectors.
A panel of experts explored the opportunities and experiences of using chatbots in learning at ‘Chatbots for Workplace Learning’ held on Thursday 6 February at co-working space Huckletree in Dublin 2. This was one of our ‘Rise & Learn’ series of breakfast events.
Keynote speaker was Conor Kostick, CMO of SnatchBot, a multinational chatbot building platform.
“The benefits for the education sector are endless. Chatbots could be used to administer and correct tests — and give instant results. They could also be vital for workplace learning, where entire learning programmes can be delivered by chatbots,” said Conor, who is also founder of the Irish start-up Chatbot Creations and editor of thechatbot.net.
He said that many universities were piloting the use of chatbots but this was generally by individual lecturers rather than at management level.
“It is a bit like when websites were initially created; there were early adopters who were quick to see the Return on Investment when they went online. Now, every business has a website and you couldn’t imagine having a business without one. In ten years’ time, every business will be using chatbots.
“A HR department has to devise multiple policies that they need to communicate with each new hire – usually in the form of a large welcome pack. How more interesting, helpful and engaging would it be to put all this information into a chatbot when onboarding new staff as well as when delivering programmes on GDPR and other issues?”
Chatbots are surprisingly easy to develop and provide instant responses to users seeking information, resources or support. Implementing even basic chatbots can reduce costs and increase engagement – freeing up time for busy managers and administrators.
Conor said he often hears fears from people that artificial intelligence will replace humans.
“It is not about that at all. It is about freeing humans up from doing the monotonous, boring work to do the tasks that AI can’t and the ones that humans are trained and experienced in doing – there are a lot of savings to be made in a lot of industries by doing this.”
He referenced the health sector in Finland, where chatbots make appointments and deal with a lot of the admin work with the final step being the actual physical meeting with a human.
“This allows the health professionals to spend time doing what they are best at and allowing the chatbots to do the mundane and time-consuming work, saving time and money.”
Peter Hamilton, Interim Director of The Learnovate Centre said:
“Chatbots offer the ability to increase engagement with learners providing focused just-in-time information and making course delivery more fun and meaningful for learners”
At the event, Conor Kostick was joined on a panel, chaired by Keith Myers of JPMorgan Chase & Co., by other industry experts including: David Curran of Open Jaw Technologies, Emer Gilmartin of ADAPT, Trinity College Dublin and Shona D’Arcy of Kids Speech Labs.