Conversational Slack Bots 101

Following up on the VentureBeat article, here is a short tutorial on how to create a Slack bot at API.AI.

Millions of Slack users chat with each other and bots every day. Bots are the best, because you can integrate them with lots of useful services and apps. They provide you with information, deliver notifications, and offer a myriad of other handy features. You can simply talk to the bot naturally and it understands the context to respond intelligently. And now with the API.AI-Slack integration, you can train your bots, so they can have real conversations with users to perform their duties better. Read more...

What are contexts and how are they used?

A context is a powerful tool that can help to create sophisticated voice interaction scenarios. In this post we’ll look at how you can use contexts to build dialogs.

When a dialog is created, it’s usually the case that many branches of conversation are possible. Therefore, intents in an agent should be designed so that they follow each other in the correct order during a conversation.

The best way to demonstrate how this works is to build a conversation together, step-by-step. As an example, we’re going to create an agent for a floral shop. You can download it here and try the instructions in your account. Read more...

Introducing Slot Filling – the easiest way to build a dialog

We are super excited to introduce the slot filling in API.AI! It greatly simplifies building dialogs. In fact, you can build a simple parameter collection dialog within a single intent if you’d like!

Let’s say we want to create an agent for sending messages. We’ll need to collect values for the following parameters: “text” and “name”. We’ll also want to make sure that we’ve matched all the values correctly, and to give users an opportunity to edit the values.

Here’s an example of this type of dialog structure.

Could You Fall In Love With a Robot? API.AI Exclusive

In the 2013 film Her, the lead character falls in love with his virtual assistant, a charming, operating system voiced by the actress Scarlett Johansson. Rather than the Skynet-style omnipotent and destructive artificial intelligence imagined by films that look past the singularity – like The Terminator – Her shows a plausible, if fictional, a glimpse at a near future where our relationships with computers are much more human.

Artificial Intelligence, and virtual assistants, in particular, already perform dozens of tasks for hundreds of millions of people every day, but we now see that they also offer people emotional support, friendship and even more.

Our first-ever Virtual Assistant Survey reveals that more complex human - computer relationships are far closer than right around the corner. In fact, just two short years after Her hit theaters, we’re already there.

With data from 12,000+ users, the Virtual Assistant Survey offers a wealth of insights into the numerous ways virtual assistants are changing the way we live, commute, shop, search and communicate.

What’s clear is that there is no aspect of our lives that has not been touched by the rise of virtual assistants and, believe it or not, smartphones are just the beginning.

Soon our cars, homes, and offices will be filled with connected devices – and not just watches, phones and computers. Fridges, desks, coffee pots, jackets, and every other physical object you can imagine will soon be connected devices. Voice-powered virtual assistants will be how we communicate, control and benefit from our connected future.

We may not all fall in love with our virtual assistants, but sooner than later, we’ll forget how we ever lived without them.

Better Than the Best Customer Service

Jerry Gregoire of Dell once said, “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” The bottom line: exceptional customer service skills are crucial for building a company’s brand and reputation. With competitive quality and pricing no longer an issue for most products and services, it’s the customer service jobs that win over sales, good PR, and loyalty. With that being said, the ideal customer service scenario involves a knowledgeable customer working with an eager-to-help human. Guess how often that happens – not often. Larger companies can invest the time and resources to train anyone and motivate them to keep the customer happy. However, these same companies are offering increasingly complex products just so that they can remain competitive. This in turn results in a huge influx of confused customers calling in to get their questions answered (since, of course, they had no luck on the company’s website or forums). Therefore, organizations waste millions of dollars and thousands of hours answering simple questions - repeatedly. Not only is this inefficient, but it is extremely expensive. That’s why companies, large and small, have added automated customer service to their tier system. Ever find yourself screaming and swearing at an automated virtual receptionist after they misunderstood what you were asking for?

Us neither… But it can be tempting.

The strategy and technology behind those virtual assistant services leaves a lot to be desired right now, but that doesn’t mean something better doesn’t already exist.

By leveraging the platform, we can help companies automate their customer service through human-like conversations that understand natural language with conversational virtual assistants. This technology understands a customer’s problem and is capable of answering questions as well as resolving issues in real time. Therefore, customer service representatives can focus on more complex problems and other value-adding activities.

Of course, this technology can be deployed across all of your digital channels including text, voice, web, mobile and 3rd party API integrations. Multi-channel support empowers customers to seamlessly receive consistent service regardless of the platform. But it doesn’t stop there! Check out Forbes’ article on how integrated with Twilio, adds all new insight to communication here.