The Chatbot Therapist Will See You Now

CHATBOTS ARE TAKING over the world. Over the past few years, virtual help agents have taken on surprisingly sensitive jobs in modern society: counseling Syrian refugees fleeing civil war, creating quiet spaces of contemplation for millions of Chinese living in densely populated cities, and helping Australians access national disability benefits.

It Begins: Bots Are Learning to Chat in Their Own Language | WIRED

IGOR MORDATCH IS working to build machines that can carry on a conversation. That’s something many people are working on – chatbot is now a buzzword. But Mordatch is not a linguist. He doesn’t deal in the AI techniques that typically reach for language. He’s a roboticist who began his career as an animator.

Forget your GP, robots will ‘soon be able to diagnose more accurately than almost any doctor’

Robots will soon be able to diagnose patients “more accurately and faster” than almost any doctor, says the man behind a controversial NHS scheme which will see chatbots employed to assess 111 calls.

A private company with a string of health service contracts is to launch a national scheme which allows patients to receive a full diagnosis by smartphone – without ever having to see a GP.

When life throws you lemons: A New York startup shakes up the insurance business | The Economist

IT IS not typhoons or earthquakes that insurers should fear most, but geeks alert to their businesses’ inefficiencies. Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, tech entrepreneurs with no insurance background, spotted that the industry is huge, distrusted, antiquated and hopelessly unreformed.

Even bots have arguments. Some Wikipedia bots can undo each other for years before settling an edit

Computer scientists from the University of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute in the UK analyzed how both human editors and bots interact on Wikipedia. Anyone can edit an entry on Wikipedia which is why human volunteers and bots specially made to check facts and edits are so important.

Monitor monikers: why what we call our robots matters | The Guardian

Odds are you talked to a robot last month. Artificial intelligence in the form of retail chatbots capped a huge year for e-commerce over the festive season, from supermodel personal shoppers to customer service. What seemed like a fun curio when IBM’s Watson was winning game shows only five years ago is now the “secret sauce” in a massively changing ecosystem.

Starbucks begins testing its AI barista for mobile ordering | ZDNet

The chat-bot invasion has officially reached Starbucks. The coffee and tea purveyor announced the beta launch of the My Starbucks barista, an AI-based virtual assistant that lets customers place their orders via voice command or messaging interface. Starbucks is also launching a skill for the Amazon Alexa platform that will let customers order via voice command from any Alexa-powered device.

The war on ticket bots is unlikely to be won | The Economist

“HAMILTON”, the hip-hop Broadway musical about one of America’s founding fathers, has broken all sorts of box-office records. Demand is high because it is exceptionally good. But this is not the only reason tickets are so scare.

Every time the show’s producers release a new block to sell, they immediately get snapped up by “ticket bots”, high-speed ticket-buying software.

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