Highlights of the week of January 15-21

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Фото: Wonderlane, Unsplash

Фото: Wonderlane, Unsplash

Some retailers are dropping self-service checkouts, a UK user drove a chatbot to hysteria, and veterinarians carried out a unique surgery on a six-legged dog.

I'm a useless bot

That was the confession an AI bot made to Ashley Beauchamp when he tried to track down a missing parcel. He contacted DPD support, where he was met by an AI-based assistant.

According to Ashley, the dialog with the robot went nowhere: the user could not solve the problem, get information about the lost package, or even reach the contact center. So he took his anger out on the artificial intelligence.

After a brief argument and some clever wording, Ashley got the bot to call itself useless, tell a few jokes, and then criticize the company it works for, calling it unreliable and irresponsible.

Screenshots of the conversation quickly went viral, and DPD was forced to disable the bot due to a bug and subsequent update, but now we know the real reason.

Six-legged Ariel

The British spaniel was named after a cartoon character for a reason: she had two extra hind legs that looked vaguely like a mermaid's tail. Sadly, the puppy was abandoned in a supermarket parking lot in Pembrokeshire last September.

The 11-week-old puppy was taken in by vets, and concerned people from all over the world (including the USA and Australia) raised £15,000 for the dog's treatment. She faced a complex and unique operation to remove her rudimentary limbs. The case was complicated by the fact that, due to a mutation, Ariel had only one kidney but two hip joints.

The spaniel's treatment required the efforts of several doctors at once: radiologists, surgeons, orthopedists, and radiologists. The dog had to have an extra hip joint and possibly one of its hind legs removed because its musculoskeletal system had not formed properly. However, the surgery went much better than the doctors expected and the puppy kept all 4 legs and is active and happy.

The puppy will soon be sent to a foster home to be cared for, and after a course of physiotherapy, she will be able to find permanent owners.

Self-service checkouts are a fiasco

This technology, which only recently began to be used on a large scale in the retail sector, is on the verge of disappearing. There are several reasons for this.

The first, and one of the most important, is that self-service terminal technologies are not advanced enough to eliminate the need for live store associates. They cannot confirm a customer's age when buying certain items, they cannot self-diagnose or recover from an error: all this requires the presence of a salesperson in the checkout area.

The second reason is the queues. Not only are they still there, but they are getting longer: not all customers can get used to the terminal quickly and punch the right items the first time. Of course, other customers are always waiting, sadly looking at the familiar but locked checkout counters.

And third on the list is theft. Research has shown that theft losses are twice as high at chains that use self-service checkouts as at competitors with live cashiers. The problem is not so much that customers scan the wrong items, but that they "forget" to pay for this or that item because they lack the professionalism of experienced cashiers who can quickly go through the entire cart and make sure prices are displayed correctly.

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We took photos from these sources: Wonderlane на Unsplash

Authors: Aleksandr, Kadriia

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