Chatbots with Social Skills Will Convince You to Buy Something

Will Knight, CC BY, Oct 26, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

What happens when the chatbot we think is there to help us is actually a skilled sales agent? This adds a different flavour to the use of such applications to, say, support students or provide advice. We might think that's what they're doing, but in fact they may be more interested in persuading us to buy some software or to sign up for the advanced tutorial. Or they may be programmed by some company to recommend their staff and affiliates as experts within a domian. If there's no truth in advertising, what will we then say about adbots? This article discusses Sara, an unreasonably persuasive chatbot was developed by Justine Cassell at Carnegie Mellon University.

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