Why chatbots?

UX has advanced since the teletype. Maybe.

Ken Arnold


March 1, 2023

A powerful interface. You give it text instructions, it responds with text. Impressive, useful text. If you’re knowledgeable, you can tweak the text instructions to engineer even better responses.

That could describe ChatGPT. Or the teletype of the 60s.

Why we think we want chatbots

  • Origins: Turing’s imitation game
  • Digital butler
  • A servant that responds to (most of) our commands
  • A substitute for human companionship

Text is a Limited Modality

When we interact with other humans, we typically have richer interactions.

UI possibilities

Chatbots seem to encourage extreme use

ChatGPT Bing is becoming an unhinged AI nightmare | Digital Trends

This is far from the first. Microsoft’s Tay chatbot

Possibilities for better UX

Broadly, this is the purpose of the ACM IUI conference, and many papers at other conferences like CHI, UIST, and ACL.