I have a bad feeling about this

by Volker Weber


Everybody is talking about conversations and bots. The industry has found out that people like to chat. Snapchat and WhatsApp are big, so is Slack. And old enterprise vendors like IBM and Microsoft want to get in on the action. And since they start to understand human language, they want to build or help others build bots.

Bots are pefectly normal in US businesses. They are still carbon-based though. Try this, when entering a car rental agency. "Hello, my name is Volker Weber, I have a reservation with #ABC123 and no, I do not want any extras or insurance." Now watch the bot.

Today, my first action in Windows 10 is to switch off Cortana. Tomorrow, there will be a lot more bots to shut down. When Marketing gets ahold of bots, I may eventually need to shut everything down and you can come visit if you want to chat.


You don't have to go to the US to meet this kind of bot actually. Just try any place where there is a large throughput of orders with certain possible customizations, e.g. a fast food store. :)

I think I never enabled Cortana on my desktop Windows 10 in the first place. I don't see what benefit it could bring to me.

Daniel Haferkorn, 2016-03-31

I share your view.

I have a feeling they will become like the self service tills in supermarkets with their own equivalent of "Unexpected item in the packing area".

However - I am sure the youngsters will understand and like them.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-03-31

It's the same crap as with service hotlines. They keep telling that now it's "easier" and "nicer" because you "don't have to remember complicated numbers" - WTF???

When I talk I want to talk to a human. If there's a machine on the other end I'm perfectly happy to press 4, 6, 8 when I'm prompted to do so. There's no way to get misunderstood if you do it like this.

When I'm confronted with talk-bots in such cases I usually use my full repertoire of German or Ukrainian swear words until this thing finally puts me through to a human because it is unable to figure out what I want.

Martin Dietze, 2016-03-31

I am concerned about hate groups using the bot APIs to amplify the poison they spill into the intertubes.

Frank Quednau, 2016-03-31

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