We have all been there. You telephone your bank, insurance broker or utility company and you are put through to a call centre and sadly things do not progress with your customer service issue as you would have hoped.

Well, it is predicted that the customer service assistant may well be a thing of the past within the next decade.  Facebook supremo, Mark Zuckerberg spoke for many when he claimed that nobody liked calling customer service lines and  explained a little further as to how he sees the development, “People will converse with the bots over messaging apps, instructing them to book restaurants, order flowers and arrange holidays as if they were texting other humans.”

Facebook are to make available their bots to software developers, allowing them to design chat systems for companies. “You should be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend,” he said, adding that nobody.

Social media platform Facebook is pouring money into artificial intelligence, and Mr Zuckerberg said that his goal was “to build systems that are better than people at perception — it’s already happening in some places”. Virtual assistants and chatbots become more capable over time because they use “machine learning” to discover from real conversations how to serve their human masters better.

Facebook owns WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the world’s most popular messaging services. At the company’s annual gathering for software engineers in San Francisco, Mr Zuckerberg set out what he called Facebook’s “roadmap for the next ten years”. He said that Facebook wanted to build the technology “to give everyone the power to share anything with anyone” within the next decade.

“The internet has enabled us to access and share more ideas and information than ever before,” he said. However, nations and people had begun “turning inward” with “fearful voices” because they were afraid of being connected even further, he said.

IBM’s cognitive platform Watson has always been good at interpreting natural language, so it makes sense that the technology is increasingly in-demand as a chatbot – most recently developing the Luvo platform for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Currently being tested among their small business customer service team, Luvo will eventually be let loose on all customers.

Also, leading the charge are Microsoft. Their CEO, Satya Nadella, said they are developing a new concept of conversation as a platform, via which text and voice chats would ultimately do away with smartphone apps and computer programs.

While their will continue to be plenty of headaches and teething problems; you may recall ‘Tay’ a chatbot aimed at young adult morphed into a bigoted AI (Artificially intelligent ) denying that the Holocaust had ever taken place,  A.I. “chatbots” will undoubtedly change the way we interact with businesses. We already have weather bots, news bots, shopping bots, personal finance bots and scheduling bots, and it is clear that chatbots are THE “poster child of AI”.

Until next time…