We’ve spent a lot of time explaining the reasons why our intelligent virtual agent, Amelia, is more valuable than the chatbots that are used by some companies for service-related tasks. Thankfully, Information Age has done an excellent job communicating this message for us. In an article entitled “The Digital Colleague is Here…Say Hello to Your New Co-Worker,” the author makes the case that agents such as Amelia offer a “personalized service that is not presumptive, and responds to the needs of the client.”

In the piece, Johan Toll, Executive Director of Transformations at IPsoft, provides commentary on the technical differences and extreme limitations of chatbots compared to more intelligent systems. “I can read an HR policy but it’s not until I understood it and transform it into knowledge that I can actually make use of it and provide something which helps a client,” Toll says. “And chatbots are usually a question-answering technology, but with a digital colleague you can actually do complex business processes and change between them: go back and forth and still figure out everything that came into the conversation.”

The author makes another excellent point: Humans are unpredictable and prone to changing their minds, making mistakes, and speaking in disjointed words and phrases. “It’s very important for the technology that forms the foundation of the digital colleague to be able to have a human-like conversation and be able to respond to the nuances of the imperfect human,” he writes.

Someone with little-to-no familiarity with chatbots or digital colleagues could be forgiven if they still had lingering questions about the differences between the two technologies. The author sums it up best: “[A] really capable chatbot solution or virtual assistant that really understands the concept of self-awareness and has the ability to empathise, understand the client, be able to understand the context and really behave in a human-like manner” should be classified as a digital colleague.

To learn more, be sure to check out Toll’s second interview with Information Age, in which he discusses the benefits of natural language processing for digital processes.

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