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【VOA】 更多的大学使用聊天机器人进行在线交流

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千缘 发表于 2019-11-23 02:44:39 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


More Colleges Use Chatbots to Communicate Online

更多的大学使用聊天机器人进行在线交流

Imagine you are about to complete high school and are thinking about attending a college or university.

想象一下你即将完成高中学业,正在考虑上大学。

After doing some research, you find a school youwould like toattend, but have questions about the admissions process. So you go to the school's website in hopes of finding a few answers.

在做了一些调查之后,你找到一所想就读的学校,但你对入学过程存在疑问。所以,你去学校的网站希望能找到一些答案。

Time goes by and you still do not have the answers. You almost feel like giving up. But then a message appears on your computer or personal electronic device. It says something like: "How can I help?"

时间一点点过去了,但你仍然没有答案。你几乎想放弃了,但随后一条信息出现在你的电脑或个人电子设备上。上面写着:“我能帮上什么忙吗?”

Writing back to the website, you try to explain your problem. You possibly get a few questions in response to clarify what your concerns are. Then, almost immediately, the person with whom you arein contactprovides the information you are seeking.

给网站回复消息,你试图解释自己的问题。你可能会得到一些问题的回答,以澄清你所关心的事情。然后,你联系的人几乎立刻给你提供了正在寻找的信息。

Except, you are not actually communicating with a school official. You are not even dealing with a human being. You are in contact with a computer program, or chatbot. It is using artificial intelligence, AIfor short, to understand and communicate with you.

不过,你并不是在和学校官员交流,你甚至没和人打交道。您正在与计算机程序或聊天机器人沟通。它利用人工智能来理解你说的话,并和你沟通。

This might sound strange. But chances are this would not be the first time you have communicated with a computer program without knowing it. In recent years, chatbots have become a common tool for banks and large companies around the world.

这听起来很奇怪,但这可能不是你第一次在不知情的情况下与计算机程序沟通。近年来,聊天机器人已经成为世界各地银行和大公司的常用工具。

Having human beings available to answer people's questions and complaints can be costly, requiring many workers. And in most cases, employees can only work a set number of hours in a day, increasing the amount of time customers wait for a response.

安排人来回答人们提出的问题和抱怨是很昂贵的,这需要很多员工。而且在大多数情况下,员工一天只能工作一定的时间,增加了客户等待回复的时间。

So not just companies, but a growing number of colleges and universities have also begun using chatbot technology, says Keith Rajecki. He is with Oracle Higher Education, a computer software company that serves these institutions.

因此,不仅是公司,越来越多的院校也开始使用聊天机器人技术,基思拉杰基说。他在甲骨文高等教育机构工作,这是一家为这些机构提供服务的计算机软件公司。

Oracle offers several software tools now in use at hundreds of schools in the United States, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. These tools help with almost everything, from academic record keeping to employee services, and most include a chatbot in their programming.

甲骨文高等教育机构提供了一些软件工具,目前美国、阿拉伯联合酋长国和其他国家的数百所学校正在使用这些工具。它们几乎可以为所有事情提供帮助,从学术记录保存到员工服务,大多数工具在编程中都包括聊天机器人。

Rajecki notes that reducing costs and response times is one of the main reasons schools and companies are turning to this technology. However, the goal of many colleges and universities is to find ways to better serve students.

拉杰基指出,降低成本和回复时间是学校和公司使用这项技术的主要原因之一。然而,许多院校的目标是找到更好地为学生服务的方法。

Part of that relates to the fact that the current generation of college students are used to communicating online, said Rajecki. They already talk with their friends and family members through social media messaging service like Facebook and WeChat.

拉杰基表示,这其中一部分与当代大学生习惯在线交流有关。他们已经通过脸书和微信等社交媒体信息服务与朋友和家人交谈。

But most importantly, he said, students want support outside of the hours when it is normally available.

但最重要的是,他说,学生们希望在通常的服务时间以外也可以得到支持。

"Yes, traditional students are in the class at set hours. But the reality is, a lot of the work that they do and continued interaction with the institution … takes place outside of the classroom, online … day and night," Rajecki told VOA.

“是的,过去的学生在规定时间来上课。但是事实上,他们所做的很多工作以及与学校的持续互动一整天都在课堂外、网络上进行着,”拉杰基告诉美国之音。

Australia's University of Adelaide noted major improvements in its service to students after deploying an Oracle chatbot to deal with admissions questions in 2018. It said that students received responses 13 times faster, and students' approval of the quality of service increased by 60 percent

澳大利亚阿德莱德大学在让甲骨文聊天机器人处理2018年的招生问题后,注意到该校在学生服务方面表现出重大改进。报告说,学生们收到回复的速度快了13倍,学生们对服务质量的认可度提高了60%。

Now Oracle is offering one program for all areas of support services that colleges or universities provide to their students and employees. This includes a chatbot that can do everything from helping students register for classes to helping professors request time off.

现在,甲骨文高等教育机构为各所学院向其学生和员工提供的所有支持服务领域提供了一项方案,这项方案中包含一个聊天机器人,它可以做从帮助学生注册课程到协助教授请假等各种事宜。

Oracle is not the only company working on this kind of technology. Businesses like AdmitHub and Ivy.ai are involved in similar efforts. Several schools have also created their own systems.

甲骨文高等教育机构并不是唯一一家致力于这种技术的公司,像爱美仕和艾薇这样的公司也参与到类似的工作之中。一些学校还建立起自己的系统。

Western Governors University, or WGU, operates completely online, meaning it has no actual grounds or physical campus. In 2018, the school's non-profit research agency, WGU Labs, received a $750,000 award from the National Science Foundation to experiment with a new kind of chatbot.

西部州长大学完全在网上运行,这意味着它没有实际的场地或校园。2018年,该校的非盈利研究机构西部州长大学实验室获得了国家科学基金会授予的75万美元的奖金,用一种新型的聊天机器人做实验。

"We're not trying to create a bot that answers simple questions … or anything like that," said Jason Leven, the executive director of WGU Labs. "We're really trying to create an agent that can help … decision making for students."

西部州长大学实验室的执行董事杰森·莱文表示:“我们并不是要创建一个能回答简单问题的机器人,或者类似的东西。我们真的在努力创建一个能够帮助学生做出决策的智能体。”

Like Oracle, WGU's chatbot software will use machine learning to study past interactions between students and other chatbots, Leven said. This will enable the program's artificial intelligence to continuously learn and improve its communication skills.

莱文说,和甲骨文高等教育机构一样,西部州长大学的聊天机器人软件使用机器学习来研究学生和其他聊天机器人之间以往进行的互动,这将使该计划的人工智能不断学习,并提高其沟通技巧。

But additionally, he noted, the goal is to collect information about the school's students. This includes expectations on how much time they can commit to their studies, how long they think a study program should take to complete and what kind of career they want.

但他也指出,另外一个目标是收集有关该校学生的信息。这包括对他们能投入多少时间来学习的期望值,他们认为完成一项学习计划需要多长时间,以及他们想从事的职业。

Then when a student who is unsure of the program or field of study they are interested in visits the WGU website they can interact with the chatbot. This chatbot can then help the student find the program that best meets their needs. It may even suggest they are too busy to seek higher education at that time, to ensure they do not try and fail, said Levin.

如果学生对自己感兴趣的课程或学习领域感到不太确定,他们可以访问西部州长大学网站,与聊天机器人沟通。这个聊天机器人可以帮助学生找到最符合他们需要的课程。莱文说,它甚至可能建议,学生们当时太忙,无法寻求高等教育,以确保他们不会在尝试后惨遭失败。

However, not everyone is ready to consider the possibilities this kind of technology presents.

然而,并不是每个人都愿意考虑使用这种技术。

Ian Jacobs is with the market research company Forrester. He suggests that technology like chatbots can work well if it is able to do what users ask of it. Jacobs says the problem is when cost cutting becomes an important reason for deploying the technology. This means schools and companies are more likely to try using chatbots for things they are not yet able to do.

伊恩·雅各布斯是佛瑞斯特市场调研公司的一员。他建议,如果聊天机器人等技术能够按照用户的要求进行操作,那么它就能很好地工作。雅各布斯说,问题在于削减成本何时会成为使用该技术的一个重要原因。这意味着学校和公司更有可能尝试使用聊天机器人从事他们还不能做的事情。

AI programs are not yet able to fully interact in the way humans do, he notes. For one thing, there are hundreds of ways to word even simple requests. When chatbots make mistakes in especially difficult situations, this can result in really problematic user experiences.

他指出,人工智能程序还不能像人类那样进行完全式交互。首先,即使是简单的请求,也有成百上千种表达方法。当聊天机器人在特别困难的情况下犯错误时,可能会导致出现造成困难的用户体验。

"What happens when…a parent dies and the student has to renegotiate financial aid. That is an incredibly emotional experience…You wouldn't want to automate that...And I think,right now, higher education is not really good at figuring out where human beings need to be involved," said Jacobs.

“当一位家长去世,学生不得不重新协商经济援助,此时会发生什么事呢?这是一种令人情绪激动的经历,你不想让它自动化。而且我认为,高等教育现在并不善于找出需要人类参与的地方,”雅各布斯说。

I'm Dorothy Gundy. And I'm Pete Musto.

我是多萝西·甘迪,我是皮特·穆斯托。



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