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Giving Human Touch to Alexa or Siri May Not Be A Good Idea

In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots.

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Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users. Pixabay

An Indian American researcher-led team has found that giving human touch to chat bots like Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa may actually disappoint users.

Just giving a chat bot human name or adding human-like features to its avatar might not be enough to win over a user if the device fails to maintain a conversational back-and-forth with that person, according to S. Shyam Sundar, Co-director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.

“People are pleasantly surprised when a chat bot with fewer human cues has higher interactivity,” said Sundar.

“But when there are high human cues, it may set up your expectations for high interactivity – and when the chat bot doesn’t deliver that – it may leave you disappointed,” he added.

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The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction. Pixabay

In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots.

During the study, Sundar found that chat bots that had human features — such as a human avatar — but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it.

However, people responded better to a less-interactive chat bot that did not have human-like cues.

High interactivity is marked by swift responses that match a user’s queries and feature a threaded exchange that can be followed easily.

According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive.

Because there is an expectation that people may be leery of interacting with a machine, developers typically add human names to their chat bots — for example, Apple’s Siri — or programme a human-like avatar to appear when the chat bot responds to a user.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction.

For the study, the researchers recruited 141 participants through Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowd-sourced site that allows people to get paid to participate in studies.

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According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive. Pixabay

Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users.

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“There’s a big push in the industry for chat bots,” said Sundar.

“They’re low-cost and easy-to-use, which makes the technology attractive to companies for use in customer service, online tutoring and even cognitive therapy — but we also know that chat bots have limitations,” he added. (IANS)

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Amazon Announces Launch of New Fulfilment Centre in Maharashtra

With this, amazon.in now has storage capacity of more than 6 million cubic feet across 14 fulfilment centres in Maharashtra, the company said

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Amazon, Fulfilment Centre, Maharashtra
The new fulfilment centre has added over 1.5 million cubic feet storage space and will enable faster deliveries of customer orders within the region and neighbouring states. Pixabay

Expanding its infrastructure footprint in Maharashtra, e-commerce major Amazon announced the launch of new fulfilment centre near Bhiwandi, here on Tuesday.

“The new fulfilment centre has added over 1.5 million cubic feet storage space and will enable faster deliveries of customer orders within the region and neighbouring states. With this, amazon.in now has storage capacity of more than 6 million cubic feet across 14 fulfilment centres in Maharashtra,” the company said in a statement.

Amazon, Fulfilment Centre, Maharashtra
Expanding its infrastructure footprint in Maharashtra, e-commerce major Amazon announced the launch of new fulfilment centre near Bhiwandi, here on Tuesday. Flickr

Amazon India plans to have more than 50 fulfilment centres in 13 states with a combined storage space of around 25 million cubic feet by the end of 2019.

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The new fulfilment centre will cater to customer demand for products like smartphones, consumer electronics, appliances, fashion and FMCG products. (IANS)