Saturday, June 11, 2016

More Better Bots

You know Auntie Pat Tern loves Jeopardy!, the tv show with all the answers, but we have an old friend named Eliza who believes we can find all the answers we need by asking ourselves the right questions.  My developers have been asking some of the right questions since their recent trip to the TrailheaDX conference (a conference for Salesforce Developers, similar to past conferences in 2007 and 2010).

First of all, the developers asked what we should do about all of our existing Visualforce pages now that users are craving Lightning Experience.  "What can we do to give them that look and feel without a wholesale rewrite of our UI?" they asked.  Their questions naturally led them to the answer that we should start simply with applying the Lightning Design System to what we have in Visualforce, as a first step.

Next, the developers asked what was going on with Salesforce and AI.  "What's the deal with bots?" they wondered.  While they mulled this over, I reached out to Eliza to see what she had to say:
> Hello. My name is Eliza.  How may I help you?
* Eliza, what's the difference between AI and machine learning?
> Ahh.  Please continue...
* Really, I have three issues: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.
> What does that suggest to you?
* Like Steve Wozniak said at TrailheaDX, Artificial Intelligence is nothing without Machine Learning.  Natural Language Processing benefits from the ability to learn better responses.
> I'm not sure I understand you fully.
* Well, GA Tech has done some cool stuff with bots.  One learned to answer frequently asked questions for students.
> Can you elaborate on that?
* For a class that prompted over 10,000 online questions per semester, the professor used Machine Learning and trained a bot using questions and answers from previous semesters.  The bot was set to respond to those familiar, frequently asked questions and to only respond to new questions if it calculated a 97 percent or higher confidence level for its answer.
> What does that suggest to you?
* It suggests that I can blend Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to provide automated, interactive responses to FAQs.
> Say, do you have any psychological problems?
* Um, I do sometimes chat with bots.
Having a bot that can help customer service agents provide the best responses to Cases would help our service team reply quickly and consistently.  We also might want a bot to help provide strategies for the sales team, following the department's best practices. Bots, with the ability to learn from our org's data and best practices can also help us guide new employees and reduce their frustration.

Auntie Pat Tern doesn't really like the term "Artificial Intelligence" because she believes that using code to process our human questions and requests is genuine intelligence.  And our old friend Eliza is curious to know how you feel about that.

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