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ABC7 News: The Future of Chatbots and ChatGPT

CEO Jim Kaskade joins ABC 7 Bay Area News anchor Reggie Aqui to talk about buyers' frustrations with run-of-the-mill chatbots and how the rise of Generative AI like ChatGPT can power the future of online customer experience.

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Published 02/10/23
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From ABC 7, breaking news on Midday Live.

Julian Glover

And a local tech CEO weighs in on the chatbot insurgence. Well, we know chatbots can be frustrating, but apparently there might be help on the horizon. One local company says that is the case.

Kristen Sze

Yeah, ABC 7 News anchor Reggie Aqui talked about chatbots with ChatGPT with Jim Kaskade, the CEO of Conversica, a chat company based in Foster City.

Reggie Aqui

All right, so chatbots. We're talking about when you're on a website and you want to talk to a live person, maybe get some questions answered that the website's not providing for you and what you get is a robot, essentially, who is trying to help you. But at least in my case, it always seems like I get these rote responses that don't help at all.

Jim Kaskade

I think most people want to engage quickly, and get the information that they need very fast, but chatbots are just not there. I think all of us have experienced that issue. And you don't get relevant responses, you get recommendations that aren't specific enough.

For most chatbot experiences, they're just pre-programmed. So you just get a list of standard answers, a very few number of questions that they're capable of answering.


So your company has talked to people about that. You've taken surveys to see how people feel about it, and it sounds like it's exactly what you just expressed.

Your challenge and your company's mission is to make it so that it seems like we're getting more custom answers to our questions. But how do you do that?


Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, I think when you think of artificial intelligence, you think of the Matrix where AI systems enslave humans or Ex Machina—Ava's an AI robot.


Which I love. I love that movie by the way.


And there's Megan now, right? The AI adult. So with artificial intelligence, really what that means in our era is we're applying a lot of data from the web into what they call Large Language Models. And you can essentially ask the corpus of information that's being gathered from the web any question, and it'll interactively provide you an answer.

And it's not just a single answer, it's a two-way exchange. It's powerfully human. That really takes chatbots from a pre-scripted, pre-programmed, kinda limited number of paths you can take to an infinite number of paths. And it makes it extremely powerfully human.


That is interesting. And so what you're talking about sounds a lot like ChatGPT, or as you know, Google wants to call it Bard, right? They just announced that they're gonna have their own version of a ChatGPT. So is that essentially what you're talking about? Something like that?


Yeah, something like that. I think the large language models started actually with Google in 2017 from a group there. A lot of innovation coming outta Google, obviously, quietly building applications and technology at scale.

Microsoft and OpenAI created ChatGPT which is extremely powerful. I think a lot of these big companies, webscale companies, are gonna really bring this type of technology to the forefront using cloud infrastructure. Obviously, until now, we haven't had the compute resources to really be able to provide such a human-like experience on a basically infinite amount of information.

So ChatGPT, neat application. You know, I think it gives everybody a feel for what the future could be like. And I think you could envision kind of a concierge working for you in every kind of scenario, right?

As a customer, from the time you engage a brand, to an advocate customer repurchasing from the brands that you prefer—your whole life cycle of engagement with retailers and what have you, can now be kind of like these science fiction movies, where you're drawing upon these large language model technologies to have a powerfully human experience. It's amazing.


So Jim, since you're using technology to make it more like a human response, what is the response from your clients? Are they seeing sales increase? Are they seeing better customer satisfaction?


Well, we're a bit unique in the sense that we've been doing this since 2007, so over 15 years we've embarked on this AI journey and we've focused on Sales.

And so Sales teams out there, over 2000 customers who are really taking advantage of this. The quick answer is yes. I mean, this is powerfully accelerating for sales teams that are performing a lot of mundane tasks, trying to support their end customer prospects and existing customers. So they love it.

But I think now where GPT-like technologies go, you have to worry a little bit because these models are trained on the corpus of the web, and it comes with all of its biases. So you wanna make sure that when somebody asks a question that could be slightly sensitive to your brand, that it's answered appropriately.

And that's where building enterprise-ready types of solutions are gonna be required for these to really become mainstream.

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