It's one thing when companies that exist entirely online—like Facebook and Instagram—use chatbots and emails instead of a real person as a customer service solution. That's annoying, but understandable. It's another when business like appliance vendors, airlines and shipping companies have no way to connect a customer with a problem to an actual human who can help them.
But this trend has been gathering steam for years now, and the problems it creates are worth examining. What happens when business-customer exchanges are entirely impersonal? What's the cost-benefit decision the company is making here? How does an actual human voice change tense interactions? And what happens when more and more companies turn this stuff over to artificial intelligence?
GUEST: Emily Stewart, business and economics reporter at Vox