Customer Service Combining Human Operators and Virtual Agents: A Call for Multidisciplinary AI Research

Sarit Kraus, Yaniv Oshrat, Yonatan Aumann, Tal Hollander, Oleg Maksimov, Anita Ostroumov, Natali Shechtman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The use of virtual agents (bots) has become essential for providing online assistance to customers. However, even though a lot of effort has been dedicated to the research, development, and deployment of such virtual agents, customers are frequently frustrated with the interaction with the virtual agent and require a human instead. We suggest that a holistic approach, combining virtual agents and human operators working together, is the path to providing satisfactory service. However, implementing such a holistic customer service system will not, and cannot, be achieved using any single AI technology or branch. Rather, such a system will inevitably require the integration of multiple and diverse AI technologies, including natural language processing, multi-agent systems, machine learning, reinforcement learning, and behavioral cloning; in addition to integration with other disciplines such as psychology, business, sociology, economics, operation research, informatics, computer-human interaction, and more. As such, we believe this customer service application offers a rich domain for experimentation and application of multidisciplinary AI. In this paper, we introduce the holistic customer service application and discuss the key AI technologies and disciplines required for a successful AI solution for this setting. For each of these AI technologies, we outline the key scientific questions and research avenues stemming from this setting. We demonstrate that integrating technologies from different fields can lead to a cost-effective successful customer service center. The challenge is that there is a need for several communities, each with its own language and modeling techniques, different problem-solving methods, and different evaluation methodologies, all of which need to work together. Real cooperation will require the formation of joint methodologies and techniques that could improve the service to customers, but, more importantly, open new directions in cooperation of diverse communities toward solving joint difficult tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI-23 Special Programs, IAAI-23, EAAI-23, Student Papers and Demonstrations
EditorsBrian Williams, Yiling Chen, Jennifer Neville
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781577358800
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2023
Event37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023 - Washington, United States
Duration: 7 Feb 202314 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023


Conference37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence


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