Chatbot Evolution To More Private Conversations Adds Complexity


Chatbots are being used in increasingly personal or detailed interview situations, from medical to abuse or hiring situations. Creators need to know the rules and best practices to make sure that the bot does a good job before automating this touchy process.

A couple of recent articles show just how far the humble chatbot has come in a short space of time. One highlights the use of a chatbot as a judgementless recorder when it comes to making allegations of workplace harassment. The other sees a chatbot app now available to talk about people’s mental health.

Both have the obvious benefit of worried people not needing to face another human being when discussing a highly personal subject. And these are just the latest examples, with other offerings providing basic medical or financial advice as chatbots help meet huge customer demand for medical and banking institutions and other areas.

Getting Your Facts & Facets Straight

When it comes to using a chatbot to answer or ask questions of a personal nature, there are three aspects that need to made 100% clear and right.

Firstly, there is the legal element. Does the chatbot give the right terms and conditions, terms of use, legal warnings and so on. Or are these made obvious and available elsewhere on the site or service? Operating a chatbot that does not do so, could put the company in legal jeopardy and line it up for lawsuits from users.

Secondly, there is the privacy aspect. Any data collected when it comes to personal, particularly medical nature, needs to be protected and not shared in any form. Such data protection rules vary by country, but are part and parcel of most financial or medical businesses, but with startups getting involved in a hot new market, they may not be aware of the rules.

Thirdly, there’s the need for completeness. A mission-critical chatbot cannot leave a question unanswered or miss out an option. It has to cover all the bases, dot all the “i”s and so on, whatever the requirements of that particular market are.  Ensuring a well-designed chatbot that is feature complete is essential, this type of bot cannot be updated over time, it needs to work perfectly out of the gate, which is quite different to a customer service or other casual chatbot.

Playing By The Rules

Whatever market and region the chatbot is designed to operate in, the creators need a full and thorough understanding of all the rules that apply. It needs to be well designed and tested before deployment, with suitable data storage and privacy settings enabled to protect data and ensure user privacy. Only then can such a product be considered for rolling out or sale to clients across that market.

Businesses buying from a vendor or developing their chatbot need to ensure those rules are followed, and ensure any legal permissions to operate are sought and approved. All of which, in the wild west of chatbot development can be an easy oversight.

Whatever the function, chatbots remain one of the fastest growing markets in technology with brands large and small placing bots on social media and websites to help improve customer service. With a wide range of creation options, companies can pick from best-in-class solutions, from the free like SnatchBot that recently added Chatbase analytics for free to enterprise players like Salesforce and IBM.

Chris Knight

Chris writes about augmented and virtual reality, chatbots, games and anywhere the miracle of technology will take us next.