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Chatbots are not the future of Technical Communication

And suddenly every tech comm and content strategy conference seems to be about getting your content ready for chatbots. Makes sense if you are a conference organizer. Chatbots are sexy and sex sell…

Source: Chatbots are not the future of Technical Communication

I’ve had the chance to meet Mark Baker and chat with him, and Mark is not a guy known for mincing words. That said, as I read this article, I was feeling a bit relieved that, while I didn’t have the depth of knowledge on the topic as he’s outlined here, I didn’t think chatbots were really that much of a tech comm thing either. I mean, yes, I understand where many are coming from in respects to thinking that it is, but in the near future, I really don’t see it happening. It doesn’t make sense. My gut says that we are still figuring out how to apply single-sourcing to a variety of instances, even at large global corporations, so we’re not even close to getting into chatbot and AI and machine language translations that can understand the nuances of spoken language. We’re not even close–not really. My Amazon Echo doesn’t understand most of what I ask “Alexa”, and it’s not because of my New Jersey accent.

I have fallen into the trap of following some of the trends that Mark describes as being the new thing hyped at conferences and such, and finding that a) it wasn’t for me, and b) it’s something that certain industries aren’t looking for.  Marketing departments don’t want technical communicators as their content marketing strategists. They want marketers. So who’s to say that those in AI want technical communicators to figure out chatbots? I have to agree with Mark–I don’t think this is a good match.

What do you think? Include your comments below.



Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

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