Few days back I happened to watch my daughter compile her thoughts on what Pandemic had made to her lifestyle. She compiled something like this.

Audio – Lasya

I thought of spending more time and bought her Amazon Echo Dot so that she can listen to her favourite songs and other educational content. Within days of purchasing she politely returned it to me stating that it lacked emotions. It made me thought what is that we are missing in all sorts of automation going around. We have virtual sessions, dedicated video libraries and educational videos at our fingertips. We hear stories of how ServiceBots are virtually replacing humans in hospitality, education sectors. However, one thing which is missing in that implementation is the human touch. This brings to long debated topic of how we can build empathy into ServiceBots, which is requisite for the success of the organizations. We all hear customer stories about how they interacted with ServiceBots while browsing the net or while doing banking and complain about missing human touch while interacting with those tools. Some of the studies on ServiceBots in hospitality like hotels clearly highlighted the need for a human side in those tools.

little girl taking online classes
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

You can debate when a personalized Education videos are curated for a student, your sole aim to ensure student goes through the content and evaluation of student performance via series of questions & answers. Sometimes based on the success of the questions further content is recommended. However, what students require are not a reading machines but machines with empathy on their way of managing their time and their emotional status. So how to go about implementing the empathy into ServiceBots design. There are many studies who have attempted to address this topic. There are many research papers published on the topic of Service Bots and how those are performing with examples from hospitality sector, financial sectors and allied industries like Henn-na hotel. Details about the same can be found elsewhere in peer reviewed journals like those by Joao Reis et.al., or dedicated books on this topic like AI in Marketing and Sales and Service by Peter Gentsch.

Now coming to the general topic of implementation of bots in different sectors, many tend to follow scenario with the aim of simply automating the process. Such approach involves identifying the required process, identification of set of questions and answers which required to be provided. Like for example what is the weather today – the bot simply identifies a search engine and reads the city of interest and notifies the users. A complex bot can go further in the activity of identifying the calendar and reads the meeting invites, schedules them as requires or for example Cortana, it automatically suggests the focus time when there is a time availability in the calendar. A more complex Bot includes integrating all the requirements and processing the commands, content extraction, analysis of the content and providing the output. There are many papers published also on the topic of integrating human psychology into the Bot behavior.

Bot development needed to follow an hybrid approach of identifying the processes which can be managed by humans and those by Bot. A framework for identification of processes amenable for Bot development needs to consider many factors including empathy, logic, reasoning, past experience and other psychological factors. Now coming to the topic bots for online education, what are the factors which needed to be changed, how the curated content from firms which provide online educational content to be complimented with in person sessions is a topic of substantial interest. Similarly, educational firms should allow students to be on the call to get into individual breakout zones so that they can still feel the way they group / regroup in their classrooms. Students are also allowed to participate in the online classes by making them part of the sessions with question / answers.

Before concluding, I would like to leave you with this topic of how your children thriving this online classroom sessions. What is that which is going well and what is that which is giving you concern. What is the content provided by schools or educational tools to supplement in their course content and interaction with students. How you can create Bots with empathy.

Thanks

Jayakumar

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