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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Joking Chatbots Help Learning?

 Brought the below up before, here is more detail. Humor is powerful, but how do we harness it? Need a good way.  Thoughts?  See my Humor link.

Joke-Cracking Chatbots Boost Learning Levels

By Paul Marks, Commissioned by CACM Staff, July 20, 2021

Technology has brought us many wonderful things, but chatbots are not one of them. On banking and e-commerce sites, for instance, where these text-based conversational agents have been pressed into service to replace customer-support staff, even simple requests are often met with baffling arrays of options.

For example, a bank's online chatbot recently asked me which of four types of savings account I was interested in – but it did not explain how they differed from each other. When I typed in "I don't know" the bankbot replied tersely: "That is not an option". It then looped me back to those original options. No wonder some consumer commentators – like this one at Forbes – say such clumsy chatbot implementations are "killing customer service".

So, when I heard researchers in Canada had decided to add a sense of humor to chatbots, I feared the worst. Surely making light of giving people inadequate information would be adding insult to injury? Well, apparently not: the researchers have found that comedy-capable chatbots could have an important role, although in education – not customer support.

Speaking at the virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2021) in May, human-computer interaction researchers led by Jessy Ceha and Ken Jen Lee of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, described how their team set out to investigate whether a particular way of studying a subject, called learning-by-teaching, might be enhanced by a witty chatbot.

In garden variety learning-by-teaching, typically three students research a subject using certain teacher-approved resources like books, Websites, diagrams, and photographs. They then prepare a lesson and teach that subject to another small group of students, the process of lesson-planning having helped them not only improve their own factual recall of the subject at hand, but also, in having to work out how to teach the subject, develop their problem-solving skills.

The Waterloo team wondered, what if the teaching group got to coach a smart chatbot instead of fellow students? Further, they wondered whether a chatbot with a sense of humor, in getting a few laughs out of its teachers, might better motivate them, lower their stress and anxiety levels, and help them learn more?  ... ' 

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