Chat bots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people by using artificial intelligence. A chat bot is typically seen as an engaging software entity which humans can talk or write to. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has their own chat bot, Emma, on its website, who is now communicating in writing in Spanish.
There are a wide range of businesses and organizations using chat bots. Thanks to improved computers and artificial intelligence software, they are seen as a way to give and obtain information in a cheaper, faster way than using a call center. Chat bots may act as the interface with your computer or smartphone, help you book a trip or send a message to a colleague through a conversation instead of a mouse click or finger tap.
USCIS’ chat bot “Emma” is who you see in the upper right-hand corner of a USCIS webpage.
- This computerized virtual assistant can at least try to answer your questions and direct you to what should be a more helpful location on their website.
- The name Emma comes from Emma Lazarus, author of the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty about helping immigrants (“The New Colossus”).
- To use Emma click the “Ask a Question” link in the upper right corner of the page or the “Need Help” icon.
- Emma works on computers and mobile devices.
Emma uses English and Spanish and comes up with answers to queries along with related information. The Emma feature can read out its English responses, but not those made in Spanish. The fact Emma is bilingual makes sense:
- There are more than 37 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., making it by far the most spoken non-English language in the country among those ages five and older, according to the Pew Research Center.
- Spanish is also one of the fastest-growing languages in the U.S. The number of speakers has increased 233% since 1980, when there were 11 million Spanish speakers.
- The number of Spanish speakers is expected to rise through 2020 to somewhere between 39 million and 43 million people, depending on the number of new Spanish speaking immigrants in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau research.
- Three-quarters of all Hispanics five and older speak Spanish, but that share is expected to fall to about two-thirds in 2020 as more Hispanics are born, raised and educated in the U.S.
Emma is a work in progress:
- USCIS’ development team is working on increasing her knowledge to improve her interactions with people.
- If you’ve tried Emma and want to send your feedback or ask for technical support, you can use firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Emma can’t help you with questions about the status of your particular issue with the USCIS. Your case status can be checked online or by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283.
If you are an immigrant living in Kentucky, call CF Abogados today at (859) 971-0060 or fill out the online contact form if you have any questions about the immigration process and to learn more about what you can do to obtain legal immigration status or U.S. citizenship.
Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton
Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]