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Last Week Online #21 – Chatbots sell

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Replacing big tech CEOs with chatbots might give customers more sophisticated responses.

Chatbots estimated to drive $112 billion in retail sales by 2023

With improved natural language processing and AI technology, chatbots are forecasted to move sales from other marketing channels and drive significant savings for retailers, according to a recent study by Juniper Networks examining retail brands.

The study estimates that retail sales from chatbots will almost double annually, and reach $112 billion by 2023. "Retailers can expect to cut costs by $439 billion a year in 2023, up from $7 billion this year, as AI-powered chatbots get more sophisticated at responding to customers," Juniper said.

Additionally, the study suggests that as more brands shift to chatbot technology, more consumers will feel comfortable interacting with chatbots to make purchases and resolve customer service issues. A survey by marketing firm Uberall showed that 20% of consumers were "very interested" in chatbot experiences from brands. 80% reported that their interactions with chatbots were "generally positive".

Amazon had a rough week

Apart from admitting to having been hit by "extensive" fraud, Amazon also got federal discrimination complaints from three Muslim workers and was accused of violating child privacy laws through brightly coloured Echo Dot Kids.

Last year, the tech giant launched the device as a simple way for kids to converse with Alexa and get access to age-appropriate apps. But recent research by two different advocacy groups found that the smart speaker also enabled children to disclose their names, home addresses, Social Security numbers and other private information to Alexa. Also, the researchers reported that Amazon made it cumbersome for parents to delete their child's details from the system.

Amazon also believes it was the victim of multiple online attacks by hackers who broke into about 100 seller accounts and moved cash from loans or sales into their bank accounts, according to a British legal document. And three women from Somalia working for Amazon in Minneapolis have accused the company of creating a hostile environment for Muslim workers. And, according to a filing submitted this week to federal regulators, the company retaliated against them when they protested about their work conditions.

Facebook gets questioned by co-founder

On Thursday morning, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, where says the company is so big and powerful that it threatens democracy. Hughes argued that the social media giant should be subject to extensive government oversight and separated into multiple companies – first of all by spinning off Instagram and WhatsApp.

Chris Huges co-founded the company with Mark Zuckerberg 15 years ago when they were both undergraduates at Harvard. He left the company to work with the Obama campaign in 2007 and has lately focused on the issue of income inequality. In the essay, Hughes repeatedly say that Zuckerberg is a good, kind person but has too much power for any one individual.

Facebook pushed back. "Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president for global affairs and communication, wrote in a statement.

Tool of the week: Keen

Keen is an analytics database that you can use to record event data from anywhere in your business — your app, website, payment system, backend servers, or whatever. They give you a cloud database explicitly built to store event data — i.e. the data that will tell you what activities are happening in your app, how engaged your users are, and how well your business is doing.

They also have an analytics API so that you can run counts, sums, averages, segmentation and more, with simple queries. And you can use their visualization tools allow you to draw and chart your data and display it in a dashboard, or your app or white labelled for your customers.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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