Who’d Make The Best Chat Bot?

Who’d Make The Best Chat Bot?


Chatbots are apparently more than 50 years old. It was 1966 when a chap called Joseph Weizenbaum created a language processing computer programme that was designed to mimic human conversations. It’s fair to say that the breakthrough technology has taken a while to catch on but now Siri, Cortana and Alexa are all present in many of our lives.

Certainly replacing us rather than just helping us is the perceived wisdom, even if the demise of the human worker has been greatly exaggerated. But where it will go, who knows? China is, if the internet is to be believed, building a robot army of workers and a robot sex-doll has been voted more popular than the real thing in Austria. Cinema has long depicted stories of robots taking over the earth so it seems they’ve started in the bedroom and will move on from there.

I found out the startling ‘fifty years old’ fact about the history of said robots in an article sub-titled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, referencing the spaghetti western film that came out in the same year as Mr Weizenbaum (or ‘Smart Arse’ as it’s translated in English) was developing his program.

So with the familiar and haunting notes – ‘Whah, whah whah’ – by Ennio Morricone playing in our heads let’s have a look at which bots of the last fifty years would put the good, bad and ugly chat into customer service…


Pros – multi-lingual, polite, does as he’s told, strong at maths

Cons – would want to bring R2, light reflects in customers eyes, might let customers walk all over him

Best Customer Service Line – “I suggest a new strategy. Let the customer be right’

Verdict – Not the chat bot you’re looking for. 7/10



Pros – intelligent, robust, gets straight to the point

Cons – bit of a know it all, can’t climb stairs, rights not owned by BBC

Best Customer Service Line – ‘Affirmative’

Verdict – Contractual issues look like a dog’s breakfast. 5/10



Pros – learns quickly, protective, easily reprogrammed

Cons – arrives naked, goes looking for trouble, might want to take over the world

Best Customer Service Line – ‘Your contract is terminated’

Verdict – Unhappy customers might object to being knee-capped. 6/10



Pros – indestructible, efficient, sticks to the letter of the law

Cons – tendency to go off ‘plan’ when angry,  improper use of public database, impatient (see below)

Best Customer Service Line – ‘You now have fifteen seconds to comply’

Verdict – Some customers might find he rushes them a bit. 6/10


Optimus Prime

Pros – strong morals, flexible, open to change,

Cons – won’t fit into a call centre, customers might think he’s just a truck

Best Customer Service Line – ‘there are mysteries to the Terms and Conditions we were never meant to solve’

Verdict – Extra square footage required makes him impractical. 5/10



Pros – works longer than his colleagues, resourceful, tidy

Cons – prone to falling in love, forgetful, clingy

Best Customer Service Line – “E-va” and er, that’s about it.

Verdict –.the one you’d most rather be stuck in a Holo-Detector Chamber with. 8/10


The Winner

We had to rule out three ‘bots’ in case they killed customers; including tripping over K-9. With Optimus Prime simply too big to fit into most customer service departments that left us with a choice between too much talk from ‘Threepio’ or too little from WALL-E, but as they say ‘recruit for attitude’ and you can train the rest later.

‘Whah, whah whah’




The CSN Blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation.