Chatbots are recently gaining traction. They have seen a significant increase and are expected to grow further throughout the coming years. Many businesses deploy and develop chatbots as a frontline form of customer service to increasingly activating consumers’ interaction and encourage human-like conversations.
So what are Chatbots? How do they work exactly? And how are they transforming the legal sector?
From its name, a bot is short for “robot.” It enables the performance of automated repetitive tasks on the Internet. A “chatbot” is a software program that “chats.” It is a sophisticated tool and artificial intelligence (AI) software that stimulates human conversations through voice directions, texts, or both on applications, websites, mobile apps, or through the telephone.
A Chabot has been around for a long time and was among “the first types of automated programs proposed by Alan Turing, the developer of the first computer model and the father of artificial intelligence, in the fifties”(Dreyfus, 2017). The idea behind artificial computing intelligence is to impersonate humans in a real-time conversation sufficiently well that it would be hard to distinguish between the program and a real person.
Because of their interactive nature and capability for machine learning, chatbots are described as one among the most innovative and promising expressions of interaction between humans and machines; they answer keywords with responses that are pre-programmed and pre-inserted into their system, helping save time and effort in the area of customer support.
Furthermore, other than customer support services, chatbots are used for several business tasks, including:
- Collecting information about users and organizing meetings.
- Offering brands with a new exposure window and a new advertising opportunity are more personal than a spam email.
- The provision of low cost or free legal advice and service.
While most chatbots offer a huge potential to improve the customer journey exponentially and expand the business channels, some are considered malware. Chatbots can fill chat rooms with spam or entice people to reveal personal information, such as bank account numbers. However, since most businesses rely on external providers to mature, supply, and update their chatbots solution, they can help mitigate the risk through tailoring the terms on which the suppliers are engaged (ex. License agreement).
In other words, if a separate third-party developer (a contractor) is providing a chatbot solution, the business has to ensure that it clearly states who is providing the service to ensure that proper due diligence is conducted.
Also, as part of the chatbot solution, businesses or the providers on their behalf are most likely going to be exposed and process personal data and other commercial information. Therefore, to protect data, they need to consider GDPR compliance issues: Data controller registrations and privacy policies must be in place to determine where the data is collected and where it will be used.
Hence the need to put in place internal policies that manage, among others:
- The permitted activities
- Data collection and processing
- The Chatbot maintenance
- The possible triggers for human intervention in Chatbots activities
- The complaints or public concerns about Chatbots
In conclusion, implementing chatbots carefully, having the right contractual terms and policies in place, and proper human intervention can be crucial to prevent things from going too far.