Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Getting live help on the Internet

08.05.2002


Who has not wound up nowhere in an Internet search for information that should be available about a company, an institution, or an organization? Who has not then longed to have someone to talk to who could answer questions with no hassle or waste of time? Johan Åberg, from the Department of Computer Science at Linköping University, Sweden, has studied what such a human help system might look like.



Automatic help systems with computerized answers already exist. But they seldom work very well unless the field they cover is extremely narrow or unless the number of possible questions is limited. In all other cases, automated help systems often leave the user feeling frustrated rather than satisfied.

In his dissertation, Johan Åberg has tested a human help system at the Website Elfwood (http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se), an international site for fantasy art and literature. For three weeks there were 35 volunteer assistants available there to answer questions in real time.


“The evaluation was highly favorable: users were extremely satisfied,” says Johan Åberg. “Since they had checked a box for a certain subject area before they posed their question, they were automatically referred to a person who had the most knowledge about their subject and could provide the best answer.”

Johan Åberg’s help system was complemented by a computer base where questions and answers were stored, so recurring questions could be answered automatically. The system was also provided with knowledge profiles that were gradually developed for recurrent questions. For example, if someone wanted to know how a certain motif should be painted in water colors, it was useful for the person answering to know whether the questioner was a beginner or not. Those asking questions were informed in advance that these knowledge profiles were being set up.

Human help systems are expensive, of course, and they are therefore most suitable for operations where it is truly vital that users get a good answer. Banks, insurance companies, and e-commerce firms in capital goods could serve as examples. Human help systems can help companies like these to enhance their trustworthiness and thereby increase their sales.

So far, Johan Åberg is largely the only researcher in his field. His results have been reported at the leading international conference on human-computer interaction, and they attracted a great deal of attention.

Ingela Björck | alphagalileo

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The Flexible Grid Involves its Users
27.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Optical fiber transmits one terabit per second – Novel modulation approach
16.09.2016 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development

28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering

Innovate coating extends the life of materials for industrial use

28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market

28.09.2016 | Business and Finance

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>