Get a broader view on the customer service and support industry with The Supportive, a monthly series by Mat at Help Scout.

Artificial intelligence and chatbots are a hot topic in 2016, but what is the state of the chatbot industry today?

The chatbots are coming

In The Humans Hiding Behind the Chatbots and Pushing the Boundaries of AI to Talk to the Dead, Ellen Huet at Bloomberg Technology gives us insight into how chatbots are being used to replicate people, in some cases by having people replicating the AI!

Ella Morton at Slate explores The Mechanical Chess Player That Unsettled the World, the classic example of the chess playing robot that was…not.

Once more with feeling

Koko is making bots that can help people in emotional crisis, explored in This Startup Is Teaching Chatbots Real Empathy. If your crisis is of a more legal nature, Dutch technology has got you covered by replacing some of your expensive lawyers with less costly, more accessible software.

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Is it time to switch careers?

Marc Andreesen thinks robots aren’t all that, at least not yet. The technology is rapidly improving, but there’s still a long road ahead before the wide range of customer service interactions could be consistently and effectively handled by software.

The biggest opportunity for bots and AI in high-value customer service is helping to make our human powered support more informed, more responsive, and more efficient. The less time we spend searching past conversations and repeating ourselves, the more time left for human connection.

Or perhaps Bret and Jermaine are correct, and robotic beings will rule the world.

Looking for a chat tool designed to create less work for your team?

Try Beacon 2.0 🎉

Further learning

  • Help Scout CEO Nick Francis outlines how chat figures into the next frontier in customer support.
  • What do you think? Have you had a great experience with a chatbot? Perhaps you’re dating an OS? Leave a comment and let us know!

    Mathew Patterson

    Mathew Patterson

    After running a support team for years, Mat joined the marketing team at Help Scout, where we make excellent customer service achievable for companies of all sizes. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.