“A Chatbot Should Have A Personality,” Says Magnus Revang, Gartner

Gartner Inc’s Mumbai Summit held a session on chatbots and virtual assistants with Magnus Revang, VP Analyst at Gartner as a speaker. Below is an exclusive interview tracing the future of automation and digital workspaces.

In an exclusive interview with Express Computer’s Radhika Udas, Magnus Revang ( VP Analyst at Gartner) speaks about the factors to consider before deploying a chatbot, establishing a connection with virtual assistants and describing the digital workspace. 

Magnus Revang, VP Analyst, Gartner

At the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit, Magnus Revang held a session titled- “ Chatbots and Virtual Assistants, Past, Present, and Future” that explored the use cases of chatbots in areas such as customer service, employee productivity, marketing, HR and boardroom decision making. The session then moved on to explain the factors affecting the sophistication of a chatbot and the level of expertise required to develop it. 

As per a report by Gartner, 69% of the workforce will be automated by 2024, which is only 4 years away. When asked about how organizations should prepare for this, Revang answered saying, “You need a small center of excellence for AI where you try to combine AI engineers, traditional data scientists together with AI architects, who are from the AI team because AI connected to business processes, learning loops and various AI services.” He further added that the business needs to be evolved along with the AI projects undertaken by the organisation. 

Since his session dwelled particularly on chatbots, he was asked about what factors should an organization consider before deploying a chatbot, he said,“ It has to serve a purpose. The most popular use case of chatbots is customer service followed closely by HR and IT Helpdesk. An organization should need to find use cases where new technology can be tried and target the right level of sophistication from the beginning. It’s easier to think you can start small and make it complex later. That just doesn’t work.

He also suggested considering language as a key factor when picking the right vendor because at times a local vendor would be the correct fit rather than a big company since he provides language that’s applicable for that particular area. 

This brings into light the concept of ‘personalizing’ a chatbot. In his session, he mentioned how a chatbot should have a personality because there is no such thing as ‘no personality.’ He says that most chatbots are scripted interactions but ones that are employee-facing installations need contextual information. So, it really depends on the situation you are in and the case you are working on to get an answer from a chatbot. 

“In the end, it’s not really about chatbots, its really about a new computing paradigm where instead of instructing computers, you are stating to go,” expresses Magnus Revang, VP Analyst at Gartner Inc. 

Treading on the prediction of Virtual Assistants dominating the workspace, we asked Magnus- “How does an individual establish good communication with the assistant despite feeling the lack of personal connection or empathy?”

He replies- This is funny because you don’t know how to communicate without making empathy. He then cites the example of how most people name their robotic devices and establish an emotional bond with them depending on their cultures. “We have these ways of understanding technology because we have reached a tipping point where a lot of things we have around us are no longer predictable. You have to design a personality for the assistant. For the foreseeable future, we have to be culturally aware when we design personalities,” he says. 

Lastly, Express Computer asked him to describe a digital workspace to which he stated- “A digital workspace is built around how I work and not how management wants me to work or what management believes work should look like. The key factor when we say modern workplace apps are bringing in their own apps because they don’t want to use the things provided to them by the company.”

The employee would rather pay money out of his own pocket to document data than use the enterprise’s application because it requires him to fill two pages of metadata. The workplace apps are empowering you to work better, more productive, deliver better quality. We have to support people, not try to automate things that are not automatable.”

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