Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

All About Eve

Internet shoppers who have no salespeople to question often abandon their shopping carts-a vexing problem for e-tailers. Sunnyvale, Calif., EGain, a specialist in online customer service, hopes to create a completely different user experience with its interactive “chatterbot”-the EGain Assistant. The assistant consists of a conversational interface with an “avatar,” in this case an actress’s face that has been photographed in an array of expressions. If a shopper expresses frustration over an inability to find a product, the avatar, “Eve,” appears sympathetic and leads the confounded surfer to the information desired. If she can’t understand a request, Eve looks puzzled and asks questions until she figures out what the user wants-or determines that she can’t provide the answer. When she deems it necessary, Eve turns questions over to human customer service. EGain is developing assistants for several online merchants.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.