Monday, May 21, 2012

Eliza in 2012

My first year students had to program Eliza, a program to have a conversation with a human being. I just got a taste of what Eliza's capabilities are in 2012. Here is my conversation. I am not impressed! __________________________________________________________________

Please wait while we find an agent to assist you...

You have been connected to !Albert F.

Claire: Hello! I moved to France and want to close my account.

!Albert F: Welcome to T-Mobile live Chat. I’m Albert F and my rep ID is 1450719. I will be happy to asist you today.

Claire: I just moved to France and wish to close my T-mobile account

!Albert F: Hi Claire, I feel so sad to know that you want to close the account. May i know the reason why?

Claire: Because I just moved to France.

!Albert F: I can definitely assist you about your concern.

!Albert F: Let me first review the account and see what I can do for you today.

Claire: Are you a human being or an automated device?

!Albert F: Thank you for waiting.

!Albert F: Requests for cancellation must be processed over the phone to ensure that your concerns are fully addressed. We value your business and have Customer Care Representatives available to discuss your T-Mobile account. Simply Dial 1-800-937-8997 or 611 from your T-Mobile handset

Claire: I cannot call an 800 number from abroad

Claire: And my handset does not work in France, so I cannot do what you suggest.

!Albert F: You may call T-Mobile International Customer Care from a cell phone by dialing +1-505-998-3793, or (IDD Code) 1-505-998-3793 from a landline. It is a free call from a T-Mobile USA handset while roaming in another country but please be aware of international calling costs from a landline provider.

Claire: Ok

!Albert F: Is there anything else?

Claire: No, thank you.

Claire: Bye

!Albert F: You are welcome!

!Albert F: Thank you for choosing T-mobile Chat, We appreciate your business. Have a great day!

Thank you for using our online help. You may now close this window.

Your session has ended. You may now close this window.


  1. You are not impressed? This seems way better than most of my experiences with customer service people.

    Everytime I access my online bank account from a new location, it sends out a one-time-password as a text to my phone, which I have to enter as part of the log-in process. I am currently traveling abroad and I emailed my bank before I left. I wanted to know if there was any provision to access my bank account when I am traveling and wouldn't be able to use my cell phone (with the Indian sim card). The customer service person responded to me like she had never heard of such a scenario. Her attitude was something like, "why would you not pay the extra money to keep your SIM card usable when traveling abroad? Everybody else does."

    With Eliza, one certainly doesn't have to deal with this sort of tude. :-)

  2. No, I am not impressed. I mean, it told me what I wanted to know, but look at how quickly I could tell that it was not human!

  3. It's interesting that you kept writing in complete sentences, instead of just trying to guess the right keywords for it. Also, I imagine that learning you were talking to a computer would help you speak to it in a way that would give you helpful answers faster.

  4. Yes, I do that more and more. When I enter a query in a search engine, I also tend to write a complete sentence in natural language.


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