Evolution of Chatbots for public services: how to get to the next level?

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Stephan RaimerPeter Weiss

Abstract: Chatbots have been increasingly used in the context of public administration in recent years and months. Using the example of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, it can be shown that chatbots are part of the current overall IT and digitalisation plan as well as the state's AI strategy. At the same time, the use scenarios and the functional scope of the first application examples are still quite limited (i.e. Corona information or information on the Integration Office). We would like to contribute to how the next step can be approached, from a “talking FAQ” to value-adding service systems.The aim of this paper is to present a conceptual framework for the design (and further evolution) of public services supported by chabots. Our conceptual framework draws from three knowledge areas: namely (1) actor engagement and multilevel service systems design, (2) conversational design (for chatbots), and (3) human-centered design.The design and operation of value-adding service systems (configuration of resources, people, etc.) is rooted in the framework of service-dominant logic and thus focus is laid on the aspect of value creation. Generally, Service platforms offer value propositions and maintain as well as operate various public service offerings. Following this consideration, the value proposition (learning about actor needs and requirements) must be placed in the foreground when planning and developing chatbots. We argue service systems design requires a multi-level design approach and framework.Hence, we start with the value proposition and existing institutional settings (i.e. legal basis and organisational constraints, data protection issues etc.) and configurations the actor is used to and guides actor behaviour. Central use case consists of a chatbot to support personalized dialogue and to support the customer along the service process. We will combine two important knowledge areas: systems design knowledge (technical requirements, usability and user requirements) and service systems design (institutional set-up and actor engagement design). Design and implementation comprises the value proposition itself and the technical realization (e.g. service system, engagement platform, service platform). A Use case based design is a valuable approach to design value propositions. In real practice, approaches such as Domain Driven Design (in order to clarify requirements). Digital services are thus identified and designed. Human centred design for interactive systems (cf. ISO 9241-210) then starts with a system vision and runs through the phases “understand & specify context of use”, “specify user requirements”, (iteratively) “produce design solutions to meet user requirements” and “evaluate design against requirements”. In the last step of the process, two evaluation methods are often used: heuristic evaluation and testing. In the paper we want to look in particular at heuristics for chatbot design (in analogy to Nielsens “Heuristics for Interface Design”).Hence, we see two particular design areas for service systems, namely institutional design (macro level) and engagement design (micro level). Design of the engagement platform represents an important next step (meso level), as it addresses mobilization of actors and resources required and resource integration pattern (e.g. business process, or customer process, supporting workflow of a chatbot). We will conclude our contribution with an evaluation as well as an outlook to what extent new research areas arise in the field of chatbots (i.e. chatbots can support identifying actor's intent and resource mobilization and allocation within administrative bodies).

Keywords: Chatbots, SD-Logic, Human-centred design

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100877

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