March 28, 2023
Talking with ChatGPT over the phone is cool. But we can also make it useful.
In the past few months tech people worldwide have been talking almost exclusively about Open AI’s ChatGPT. It’s the first large language model chatbot to make a splash, and what a splash! It landed with the energy of the Chicxulub asteroid – the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million-odd years ago in the Yucatan sea. That asteroid generated a mile-high tsunami, almost as high as ChatGPT’s. One should go slow with the metaphors though: are ChatGPT and its peers going t kill …[gasp]… us? As an incorrigible optimist and I don’t think so, but the jury is out according to much of the press.
But as we all know, even if a device could cause the end of the world as we know it, if it’s new and shiny people will use it. So, after using ChatGPT to write poems about pickleball or essays on Tibetan literature, the tech community is trying to understand what it can do for real business.
For instance, we at Interactive Media have integrated ChatGPT with PhoneMyBot, our service to provide voice channels to chatbots with a no-code, ready to roll approach. Through PhoneMyBot it is now possible to make a phone call to ChatGPT, ask questions and listen to its answers. This is still only a demo, but in the process we have developed some useful ideas on whether and how ChatGPT may work for what we do normally, which is providing tools to companies to service their customers.
Let’s say it immediately: without personalization, ChatGPT is not sufficient to implement a customer service voicebot. The domain is too wide: it is literally the whole Internet. This means that ChatGPT cannot use its normal language model to answer pointed questions on – say – your bank balance today.
To be sure, in customer service there is sometimes a need for general-purpose conversation. In our experience, users sometimes go out on a tangent and ask bots all sorts of questions. For instance: where do you live? how old are you? can I see you? how much are you paid?… ChatGPT certainly has good answers for all these questions, and it would be useful in side conversations. ChatGPT is also language-independent: in essence it can tell what language a user is speaking and answer in the same language. This is a stunning capability and it makes it so much easier to use ChatGPT.
However, it is possible to “fine-tune” ChatGPT for specific domains, adding dozens, hundreds or thousands of examples of specialized prompt-completion pairs that define a separate domain, identified by its own name and id. This domain goes to augment the general-purpose model and allows the chatbot to answer pointed questions. At Interactive Media, we are experimenting with fine-tuning one of the available general purposes models and we can certify that it works: if ChatGPT has the necessary information, not only it answers to precise questions about the specific domain effectively, but also in a pleasant and precise way.
Often, however, customers’ questions may be ambiguous and hard to characterize. In this case ChatGPT can’t be allowed to answer immediately as what it says would be vague or incorrect. But Interactive Media’s conversational AI platform, MIND, placed in front of ChatGPT, can easily be configured to deal with these cases. MIND can identify the real intent of the caller through an initial dialog, and only after that forward the “real” question to ChatGPT. This makes a huge difference in the conversation outcome.
There’s another snag though, because to be useful you also need to access actual data related to the people’s requests. ChatGPT of course does not perform the appropriate database queries into company databases or CRMs. To counter this at Interactive Media we have developed a generalized method to access database data and to insert this data into ChatGPT’s answers. Of course, depending on the data this has to be done on a case-by=case basis, so call us to discuss!
Please go ahead and try PhoneMyBot’s connection with ChatGPT: contact Interactive Media at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below.
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