Chatbots of the Future

Date Published: 
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How human can chatbots become?  “Very”, said Assistant Professor, Samira Shaikh, Ph.D., in the College of Computing and Informatics’ Department of Computer Science.  Part of her ongoing research is to make chatbots as human-like as possible.

“One of my research areas is artificial intelligence and artificial agents,” said Dr. Shaikh.  “I created a chatbot that can really engage individuals in chat room conversations.  Not only can it carry out a conversation, but it can persuade people to change their minds.”

Dr. Shaikh said her research has two main goals.  “One is to imbue social competency and conversational skills in these intelligent agents—think Amazon Echo.  The other goal is to understand the effects of human-machine interaction on human behavior.  For instance, we do not know enough about how differently human-machine social networks behave when compared to human-only networks.”

“The role of social bots in spreading ‘fake news’ and propaganda on the internet, particularly during the last presidential election, has been well-documented,” said Dr. Shaikh.  “Part of our research will help determine how social bots affect human behavior, which is no easy task.”

Dr. Shaikh’s research has certainly gained the attention of researchers across the country.  She was recently featured in Digital Trends, “Future Chatbots Will Be Able To Argue With You Enough To Help Change Your Mind,” and Motherboard Magazine, “To Truly Fake Intelligence, Chatbots Need To Be Able To Change Your Mind.”  She was also recently interviewed by Machine Minds podcast.  The podcast will be published early this fall.

About the College of Computing and Informatics
The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) is the largest and most comprehensive technology program in North Carolina, and one of the largest in the nation, offering scale and critical mass in cutting-edge research and innovation. CCI is a national leader in interdisciplinary partnerships, bridging fundamental research with critical scientific, societal, and national defense challenges. It is also the home to leading research centers and institutes, including the Cyber Defense and Network Assurability (CyberDNA) Center, the Bioinformatics Research Center, the Charlotte Visualization Center, the Complex Systems Institute, and the Center for Education Innovation.  Active research awards currently total $38 Million.  @UNCC_CCI

About the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. It is the fourth largest campus among the seventeen institutions of the University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Current enrollment exceeds 28,000 students, including 5,000 graduate students.


# # #

Media Contact:  Clark G. Curtis, 704-687-7983,