Episode Summary: What does the world look like when we can replicate human expertise in an assistant? Are we close to developing human-level chatbots that we can ask about law or medical conditions? We dive into this topic with Founder and CEO of exClone, Dr. Riza Berkan, whose personal assistant and chat-bot company is leveraging day-to-day human conversational templates in machine learning technology in order to better approach the tough task of replicating human expertise through a machine. Berkan talks about the edge layer of his company’s “secret sauce”, and touches on the future applications of what might manifest in this field in 5 to 10 years in medical and other consumer applications.

 

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Expertise: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, business strategy

Brief Recognition: Riza C. Berkan, Ph.D. founded exClone, Inc. in 2011, a company specializing in talking agents (chatbots) that can handle special content, expertise, and persona. Previously, Berkan was founder and CEO of hakia, Inc., as well as CTO of AnswerChase, Inc. From 1990 to 2000, Dr. Berkan worked for the US Government and handled multiple Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and Westinghouse projects. Dr. Berkan holds a B.S. in Physics from Hacettepe University, Turkey and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence.

Current Affiliations: Founder of exClone, Inc.; Chairman of Epoch Wires Ltd.; Contributing Author to project-syndicate.org

Human Level Chatbots - Quote 1

Interview Highlights:

(1:33) How are you approaching building a conversational agent that might be different from other approaches?

(12:10) Five years from now, where do you think chat-bots and conversational interface might have the biggest difference in day-to-day life?

(17:04) It would seem as though, it would scale human expertise in a really broad way (being able to have a conversation with chatbots) – it’s hard to think of an area where you couldn’t apply that technology…

(19:30) Any one or two industries or examples that you might feel most optimistic about or that you really think might have some grand potential (in the chatbots space)?

Human-Level Chatbots - Quote 2

Big Ideas:

1 – Chatbots can have multiple “dimensions” (think of all of the aspects of communication with other humans that we take for granted – historical relationships, social cues, moods, etc.) and a “template” for contextual understanding has been (one of) the major missing pieces in creating a smarter chat bot (a piece that exClone is trying to fill)

2 – An emerging community of chatbots could have a significant influence on the way that we conduct business and interact with computers; a smarter virtual assistant for all will mean more streamlined, more efficient interactions, and more time saved to spend on more creative/strategic tasks (read about how Nuance’s virtual assistant technology is also being used to further this goal)

 

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