Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Automated Email-based CHAT-FAQ ExpertSystem
I think you're right, that sounds like an excellent place to start,
on the technology side. Now if I can just figure out a path to
get the effort funded. I need someone in a large company who
understands the value of such a system, and will take up my
contract. Or I need to find an entrepreneur who understands
the value, and start developing the business plan! (01)
Jack Park wrote: (02)
> I just spent the last couple of days hooking up a relational database to
> KnownSpace http://www.knownspace.org and got it working, sortof. Couple
> dozen bugs left, but hey, what the heck.
> KnownSpace has an email client. It also has lots of little agents that do
> things when events are generated, like when a new email is received. It
> includes a Latent Semantic Analysis agent that can play nice with
> keywords. I am thinking that KnownSpace (Java, Apache license) would make
> a great starting place. BTW: as of this morning, there exists
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/knownspace although since it just went up
> today, nothing is there yet.
> At 03:10 PM 1/2/2002 -0800, Eric Armstrong wrote:
> >This message encasulates a recent email exchange in which
> >I thought out more of the concepts involved in an automated,
> >interactive FAQ system:
> >Doug wrote:
> > > I'm always happy to answer questions directly, if it will save people
> > > I'm glad you asked.
> >Yeah. It is amazing how what's on the top of your head for one person is
> >miles away for someone else. Like Eric Raymond wrote on the subject of
> >open source software: "With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow."
> >I would absolutely LOVE to work on a system that monitored email
> >traffic, storing responses to questions, and which made it possible for
> >people to discover answers through automated queries.
> >I figure that such a system would make a best try at finding an answer,
> >but that people would always be involved to interpret the question,
> >answer it, and make the system smarter.
> >There is some ontology work using topic maps and the like that would
> >be spectacularly useful for such an undertaking. My dream job. Good
> >for a year or two, at least.
> >Doug wrote:
> > > Sounds great.
> >It would be a great project to work on. I'd set it up as a filter
> >on the company mailing list, with a companion screen that
> >people could use to modify the ontological underpinnings of the
> >That way, the automated system could take a stab at replying
> >whenever it could, saving people from having to repeat themselves
> >too often. (That would be the idea, at least.)
> >Clearly, the system has a lot of potential benefit. Who do we know
> >that would want to fund such a thing?
> >Doug wrote:
> > > Nobody else has attempted to solve this problem already?
> > > I'd love to dump my tips into a system that everyone could
> > > update/contribute to.
> >That would be a great place to start building a database of
> >answerable questions.
> >This is a problem that is poised on the cusp of becoming solvable. There
> >have been some attempts at intelligent customer service systems, but so
> >far they have fallen rather flat.
> >The tack I recommend -- an integrated email conversation with an
> >answerbot sitting in and being educated, has never really been tried.
> >It is an approach I have been recommending for most of my professional
> >career -- that an integrated man/machine systems will always outperform
> >either one by itself.
> >Then, too, the recent work on ontologies has a tremendous capability
> >for expediting such a system. For example, if a user asks:
> > "I put floppy #2 in the drive, but I need to back up and put in #1
> > How do I do that?"
> >With a keyword-driven system, the machine sees "floppy" and
> >"back up", and gives the user instructions for copying files. Not very
> >But an ontology-based system potentially has the capacity to recognize
> >the context as "floppy in drive" and the "back up" as meaning "go back
> >to previous step". It can then deduce that the instructions are:
> > * put the computer where you can see it
> > * turn on the lights
> > * find the slot where you put the floppy in
> > * press the button on the slot to eject the floppy
> > * find the floppy labeled "#1"
> > * insert it
> >Doug Lenat's cyc system, for example, has enough "common sense" to
> >know that "back up" means eject, in this case. Even so, capturing the
> >ontology-information necessary to recognize and successfully answer
> >a query like that is no easy task. And trying to anticipate every
> >possible question in advance is both prohibitively expensive and
> >The system I propose would have 4 components:
> > * Users
> > who make queries via email
> > * The AnswerBot
> > which listens to queries, and which attempts to answer
> > when it can
> > * Experts
> > who answer them when the AnswerBot can't,
> > or who correct the AnswerBot's misguided attempts
> > (and who act as users in other areas)
> > * Ontology Librarians
> > who add ontology-information that make it possible for the
> > system to find information it already has, but didn't know
> > how to relate to the specific query.
> > One way to do that is by importing the topic map versions of
> > the stuff Lenat has released. (Some material is free. More
> > can be purchased.) Another way is by adding additional
> > ontological structure: For example the fact that "back up"
> > can mean "go back a step" as well as "copy files", depending
> > on context.
> > Note:
> > Ideally, Experts will answer with pointers into an indexed FAQ,
> > which will make it easy for the ontology librarians to recognize
> > that the information already exists. Otherwise, they can capture
> > the information as a new nugget for the FAQ.
> > [Purple numbers, anyone?]
> > In addition to maintaining the ontology library, these folks use
> > their human intelligence to recognize which reponses were
> > helpful, and create new info tidbits (nuggets/tips) for the system.
> > So in a way they are documentation / customer support /
> > expert-system-administration gurus. (03)