Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Where did all the instant "experts" on chatbots come from?

A few months ago I was writing about the internet of words and was aware of Siri and some efforts underway by Mark Zuckerberg. Now, only a few months later, the use of language interfaces has pole-vaulted into first place in the techworld's discussions of what is cool. What shocks me is to read "Venture Beat" with one article after another about "Chatbots", written by the cool kids who - since they are the authors - seem to think they are experts.

They are experts like grocery store shoppers are experts on canned carrots. I should be pleased that people are beginning to see the internet of words but am a little revolted, as one gets, when personal thoughts get popularized in the mainstream.

I also note with a mixture of fear and skepticism that the highest praise these "experts" have is for chatbots with "... natural language and machine learning features..." and "big data". Fear because deep bullshit is hard to dislodge and skepticism because I am getting closer to launching Narwhal which is a narrow world language processing toolkit, that works with small data and geometry, rather than statistics, as the underlying technology. (I better get that launched asap.)

One last pair of snide comments:
  • narrow worlds are exactly what chatbots are for, and so the deep Bayesian statistics approach is doomed.
  • it is not about individual chatbots but about how a community of chatbots will work together
So far the "experts" have understood neither.

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