What are AI Mistakes and How Do Virtual Assistants Handle Them?

Ever felt like your virtual assistant’s responses are like a box of chocolates—you never know what you will get? Dive into the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence where these virtual assistants are our trusted sidekicks, equipped to enhance daily interactions with their swift and insightful responses.

Yes, AI makes mistakes. Even these advanced systems have their off days, leading to moments of confusion and frustration for users when the unexpected happens.

In the rapidly evolving realm of automation, AI virtual assistants have revolutionized the landscape of conversational AI, enabling more natural and context-aware interactions. They guide us through complex queries and conundrums with ease. However, like humans, they are not infallible. Occasionally, they deliver incorrect responses that result in unresolved conversations, impacting user experience.

Accuracy in AI responses involves more than just timely information delivery; it requires alignment with the intricate specifics of various domains such as conversational AI in finance companies, conversational AI in healthcare, and legal sectors, each with its own set of regulations and best practices. This article explores how these digital teammates navigate their mistakes—how do they identify errors, learn from them, and prevent future occurrences? Join us as we uncover the secrets behind managing these puzzling moments effectively.

Understanding AI Mistakes and Incorrect Answers

Conversational AI systems, like virtual assistants, rely heavily on natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies to interpret and respond to user inputs. However, despite significant advancements, these systems are susceptible to a range of errors that can impact user satisfaction and effectiveness. Understanding the nature of these errors is crucial for developing more resilient AI systems.

Types of AI Mistakes:

  1. Misinterpretation of Intent: One of the most common sources of errors in artificial intelligence interactions is the misinterpretation of the user’s intent. This can occur due to ambiguities in language, user input that deviates from trained models, or insufficient data training to cover all possible expressions of intent.
  2. Entity Recognition Errors: AI systems might fail to correctly identify and classify entities within a user’s request. For example, misidentifying a place name or a time reference can lead to responses that are irrelevant or incorrect.
  3. Context Handling Failures: Virtual assistants often struggle with maintaining the context of a conversation. A user’s reference to earlier parts of the dialogue might be ignored or misunderstood, leading the assistant to provide answers that seem out of place or disconnected from the ongoing interaction.
  4. AI Hallucination: According to the glossary of AI terms This error occurs when generative AI systems generate plausible but factually incorrect or irrelevant information. It typically stems from the model’s training on large datasets where it inadvertently learns to generate content that, while coherent, does not accurately reflect reality or the specific data it needs to address. This can be particularly challenging to identify and rectify because the information often sounds convincing.

Why Mistakes Occur:

  • Training Data Limitations: AI models are as good as the data they are trained on. If the training data is not diverse, comprehensive, or representative of real-world scenarios, the AI will likely falter under unusual or complex requests.
  • Algorithmic Bias: AI systems can inherit or develop biases based on the data they are trained with. Algorithm biases can skew responses in ways that might not be appropriate or effective.
  • Technological Constraints: Current NLP technologies have inherent limitations in understanding human language in all its complexity, leading to errors when users employ slang, idioms, or highly contextual sentences.

Impact of Mistakes:

  • User Frustration and Disengagement: Frequent or glaring mistakes can lead to user dissatisfaction, reduced trust in the AI system, and ultimately disengagement from the product.
  • Operational Inefficiencies: In contexts like AI customer service, mistakes by AI systems can lead to increased operational costs as more human intervention is required to resolve issues not handled by AI.

Major Categories of Fulfilment in Conversations

Let’s delve into the world of handling incorrect answers or as we like to call it Unresolved Conversations for our Virtual assistants. Before we dive deeper, let’s take a look at two key fulfillment types in the context of an interaction with a virtual assistant.

In interactions, fulfillment encompasses two main types: Knowledge Document retrieval and Action Flows. Knowledge document fulfillment involves extracting relevant information from a pre-defined knowledge base, such as FAQs or product manuals, to directly address user queries.

On the other hand, action flows guide users through interactive processes to complete tasks, such as resetting a user’s password or troubleshooting computer issues.

In knowledge document fulfillment, the bot parses retrieved content and generates coherent responses based on user queries. In action flows, the virtual assistant prompts users for input, processes their selections, executes tasks, and provides feedback or confirmation upon task completion. Both fulfillments are vital for virtual assistants to effectively assist users by providing accurate information and enabling seamless task completion.

Auto-Categories of Issue Buckets Affecting Resolution of Conversations

Now that we have briefly touched upon the main fulfillment types, let’s list down all potential issue buckets affecting the resolution of conversations and their corresponding definitions:

1. Correct Answer: The Gold Standard

A correct answer is the holy grail for chatbots as it signifies a successful interaction and ensures user satisfaction. But what exactly constitutes a “correctly answered” query? It’s when the fulfillment process smoothly concludes with positive feedback from the user, or when the large language models affirm that the fulfillment served is relevant to the request. Additionally, if the action flow reaches its conclusion or end node without any negative feedback from the end user, it’s deemed a success.

2. Incorrect Answer: Navigating the Pitfalls

When things go awry, and an incorrect answer is provided, chatbots have to navigate through various scenarios:

– Irrelevant KB or Negative Feedback: If the knowledge base served is deemed irrelevant or receives negative feedback, it’s marked as an incorrect answer, even if the language model suggests otherwise since a user’s feedback is weighed much higher.

– Incorrect Intent or Abandoned Flow: If the chatbot identifies an incorrect intent or if the user abandons the flow, it flags the answer as incorrect.

3. Update Annotation and Ontology: Refining the Knowledge

When an incorrect answer is identified, chatbots may need to update annotations or ontologies. This occurs when the correct intent exists but isn’t identified, or when entities within the request aren’t recognized by the system.

Data annotation refers to metadata associated with pieces of text or code, often used to label intents, entities, or other linguistic features. In the context of updating annotations, the digital assistants need to revise the labels associated with the user’s input to reflect the correct intent or entities.

Ontologies are structured representations of knowledge that define the concepts and relationships within a domain. Refining the ontology involves updating these representations to better capture the semantics of the user’s query or the system’s response. LLMs can contribute to ontology refinement by analyzing the user’s input and identifying concepts or relationships that were not previously recognized. This could involve expanding the ontology to include new entities or updating existing relationships based on the context of the conversation.

4. Bridging the Knowledge Gaps

“KB Gap” denotes deficiencies within the Knowledge Base (KB) that hinder accurate responses to user queries. These gaps may arise due to missing, outdated, or inaccurate information in the KB, leading to subpar user experiences. Detecting KB Gaps involves monitoring user feedback, particularly negative responses indicating shortcomings in the system’s knowledge coverage.

Addressing these gaps requires integrating feedback mechanisms and enriching the KB with updated and relevant data. Additionally, automated learning algorithms help digital assistants adapt and improve over time based on user interactions.

5. Bridging the Flow Gaps

AI Workflows is a conversational automation platform that orchestrates complex user requests by integrating human and machine tasks in an end-to-end flow. It extends beyond single-task automation, encompassing entire business processes and interactions across multiple applications, ultimately reducing resolution times, and boosting user satisfaction. They can be called sequences of steps guiding interactions.

A “Flow Gap” denotes interruptions in conversation due to input ambiguity or lack of information. A “Terminal Node” signifies the end of a conversation branch. “Negative Feedback at the end of the flow” indicates user dissatisfaction post-resolution. If the “KB served” is deemed irrelevant by the LLM, the workplace assistant’s decision-making is impacted and the conversation results in a Flow Gap. A “Non-Terminal Node” gap is encountered when the end user drops off in the middle of the workflow, meaning ” Abandonment of the flow” occurs when chatbots terminate without reaching a conclusion. These elements collectively shape the digital assistants’ dialogue flow, ensuring relevance and user satisfaction while adapting to input nuances and end-user engagement during the conversation.

6. Flow Execution & Other Internal Errors: Tackling Technical Hurdles

Sometimes, virtual assistants encounter execution failures due to high technical error rates like null pointer exceptions or inevitable server issues. These errors need to be addressed promptly to ensure a smooth user experience. Other internal errors can be messages from the server indicating issues beyond the agent’s control. These errors require investigation and resolution to maintain system functionality by the engineering and product teams.

7. Not Understood: The Void of Fulfillment

When a query remains unfulfilled due to a lack of appropriate responses, it falls under the “not understood” category by the chatbot. This prompts bot developers to enhance the system’s capabilities for better understanding and addressing user queries.

This signifies unaddressed user queries due to the digital assistant’s inability to provide suitable responses, highlighting gaps in its comprehension. Developers and customer engineers analyze such instances to enhance the virtual assistant’s NLP algorithms, intent recognition, and knowledge base coverage. Strategies include expanding predefined intents, improving entity recognition, understanding context, and augmenting datasets. Addressing this category iteratively refines the virtual assistant’s capabilities, boosting user satisfaction, its ability to answer a user’s query, and overall effectiveness.

Possible AI Errors Remediation Techniques

As AI virtual assistants evolve to become more integral in customer interactions, understanding and effectively resolving the diverse issue buckets become paramount. Correctly addressing user queries not only hinges on providing accurate responses but also entails refining underlying mechanisms such as annotations and ontologies. By leveraging automated learning algorithms and integrating feedback mechanisms, chatbots can adapt and improve over time, ensuring relevance and user satisfaction.

Moreover, the identification and mitigation of knowledge and flow gaps play a crucial role in enhancing dialogue flow and user engagement. Integrating conversational automation platforms like AI Workflows facilitates seamless orchestration of complex user requests, ultimately driving efficiency and satisfaction. Additionally, proactive measures to tackle technical errors and continual enhancement of NLP algorithms contribute to the enterprise chatbots’ effectiveness in addressing user queries and delivering tangible business outcomes.

In essence, the journey towards achieving optimal conversation resolution involves a multifaceted approach, encompassing technical refinement, knowledge enrichment, and user-centric design principles. As organizations strive to harness the transformative potential of virtual assistants, addressing the myriad issue buckets outlined here will be instrumental in driving meaningful customer interactions and unlocking new avenues for growth.

Now that we’ve looked upon major categories of issues affecting conversations, let’s dive into possible remediations for incorrect responses. To address unresolved conversations, here are some strategies and solutions that can be followed:

1. Real-Time Feedback Loop Integration:

– Implement a real-time feedback mechanism where users can provide immediate feedback on the relevance and accuracy of responses, right after a conversation ends. For instance- Not Helpful/ thumbs down for a not-so-satisfactory response and thumbs up for an expected and accurate response.

– Integrate this feedback from the user into the virtual assistant’s learning process to identify and rectify incorrect answers promptly and improve response accuracy over time.

2. Fallback Responses with Agent Handoff:

– Develop fallback responses for scenarios where the AI Chatbot is unable to provide a satisfactory answer.

– Offer a seamless handoff to a human agent or expert within the domain to address complex queries or unresolved conversations effectively.

3. Contextual Understanding Enhancement:

– Enhance the virtual assistant’s ability to understand contextual cues within conversations to better tailor responses to user queries.

– Utilize Natural Language Understanding (NLU) techniques to parse and interpret user intent more accurately, and serve appropriate fulfillments, reducing the occurrence of unresolved conversations.

4. Dynamic Knowledge Base Updates:

– Implement a system for dynamically updating the digital assistant’s knowledge base with the latest information, industry regulations, best practices, and updates from the customers.

– Regularly audit and validate the accuracy and relevance of the knowledge sources to ensure that the digital assistant’s responses remain up-to-date and reliable.

5. Error Analysis and Root Cause Identification:

– Conduct comprehensive error analysis to identify recurring patterns and root causes of unresolved conversations.

– Utilize techniques such as intent classification and sentiment analysis to categorize unresolved conversations and prioritize remediation efforts.

6. Continuous Model Evaluation and Improvement:

– Establish rigorous evaluation metrics and pre-built/ out-of-the-box analytics to assess the performance of the virtual assistant in handling unresolved conversations.

– Continuously monitor and analyze user interactions to identify areas for improvement and refine the virtual assistant’s capabilities through iterative model updates and retraining.

7.  User Education and Expectation Management:

– Educate users and customers about the capabilities and limitations of the AI assistants to manage and set the right expectations regarding their ability to resolve all queries accurately.

– Provide proactive guidance and assistance to users in formulating clear and concise queries to improve the chances of successful resolution.


Navigating mistakes in AI-powered bot and digital assistant responses is a dynamic and multifaceted process. From identifying incorrect answers to implementing remediation strategies, enterprise AI bot developers and engineers play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless user experience.

By leveraging real-time feedback loops, enhancing contextual understanding, and continuously improving model performance, AI-powered bots can evolve to better meet user needs and expectations.

As we continue to push the boundaries of generative artificial intelligence technology, the future holds promise for even more sophisticated digital assistants capable of handling complex queries with precision and accuracy. By embracing a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, we can unlock the full potential of chatbots as indispensable tools for enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction in the digital age.

So the next time your virtual assistant serves up an unexpected response, remember that behind the scenes, a world of innovation, research, and problem-solving is at work to ensure a smooth and fulfilling user experience.

The sophistication of these systems lies not just in avoiding errors but in their ability to learn and adapt from each interaction. We invite you to experience the power of Aisera’s Enterprise AI Copilot firsthand by Booking a custom AI demo today.

Conversational AI Errors FAQs

What is an example of an Artificial Intelligence mistake?

An example provided in the article involves AI hallucination, where AI systems generate plausible but factually incorrect or irrelevant information. This happens due to the AI learning from large datasets and occasionally generating content that doesn’t align with reality, such as misinterpreting user intent or misclassifying a person or entities in a conversation.

What are the 5 biggest AI fails?

The article doesn't list the "biggest AI fails" explicitly, but it describes categories of common errors that could be considered significant AI failures:
  1. Misinterpretation of Intent: When AI fails to correctly understand the user’s intended meaning.
  2. Entity Recognition Errors: Incorrectly identifying key elements in user input.
  3. AI Hallucination: Generating incorrect but plausible-sounding responses.
  4. Context Handling Failures: Losing track of the conversation's context, leading to inappropriate or disjointed responses
  5. Knowledge and Flow Gaps: Inaccuracies or inefficiencies in handling queries due to outdated or incomplete knowledge bases or disrupted conversational flows.

Has AI made any mistakes?

Yes, as discussed in the article, AI makes various mistakes. These include providing incorrect answers, misunderstanding user intents, failing to maintain context in conversations, and more. Such mistakes can lead to user dissatisfaction and operational inefficiencies.

What are AI errors called?

AI errors can be referred to by specific types, such as "AI hallucination" for plausible but incorrect information, or more generally as "misinterpretations," "entity recognition errors," and "context handling failures." The article details these under the broad umbrella of AI mistakes or errors in conversational AI systems.

What are the problems with Conversational AI?

The article highlights several problems with conversational AI, including:
  • Handling complex user interactions: Difficulty in managing nuanced or ambiguous user inputs.
  • Dependency on quality training data: Limited effectiveness when trained with inadequate or biased data sets.
  • Maintaining conversation context: Challenges in retaining relevant details from earlier conversations to use in subsequent responses.
  • User experience inconsistencies: Generating responses that may not always meet user expectations or align with user needs.
  • Technical limitations and errors: Inherent technological constraints that lead to failures in understanding or processing user inputs accurately.

Additional Resources