The bad side of bots

They’ll be back. Again and again and again…

06 June 2017

What exactly does the internet mean when it talks about ‘bots’? Is it about artificial intelligence (AI) – the bots that can learn from human behaviour and past mistakes to evolve into thinking machines? Is it internet bots – the traffic that hits websites and generates fake impressions, malware and spam? Or is it chatbots – the increasingly clever technology that is taking on the human call centre controller? From the crawlers and the chatters to the scrapers and the impersonators – the answer is all of the above. The real question isn’t what defines a bot, but whether the rise of machine learning and chat bot understanding should raise flags and hackles and cries of, ‘I’ll be back!’.

“There is a big difference between a rule-based bot and an AI-based bot,” says Colin Thornton, CEO of Dial-a-Nerd. “The rule-based bots are relatively harmless and don’t think for themselves. When you ask a chatbot for a pizza with pepperoni, it’s programmed to react in a certain way. If it isn’t pre-programmed to answer, it can’t do anything. Most organisations are using rulebased bots to save money and deliver swift customer responses.”

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