by Lily Bradic
If your only experience with chat bots is Microsoft’s teen AI — the misogynistic, Holocaust-denying, pot-smoking Tay — you’d be forgiven for dismissing them as a waste of time and technology. But there’s another type of chat bot on the scene — and it’s being heralded as the next big thing in tech.
What’s a bot?
Chat bots are computer programs that allow users to initiate and complete tasks from within a messenger application.
At the F8 Developer Conference next week, Facebook is set to announce the launch of its bot store, allowing publishers to develop Messenger bots that help users interact with brands in a seamless, integrated way — from right within their Messenger app.
With most major Messenger apps working on something similar — including Kik, who launched their bot store a couple of days ago — it’s clear that the tech industry’s key players are expecting big things from bots.
What will these messenger bots be capable of?
The potential of messenger bots is vast, and will only grow as the technology is developed and refined. In addition to providing a super-streamlined user experience bots will also reduce the load placed on community managers and customer care departments by automating responses to common questions — like tracking orders and checking product availability.
So far, bots have been mentioned in association with the following activities:
What does this mean for brands?
To engage with consumers, brands must provide a personal and tailored experience that integrates smoothly into consumers’ lives (particularly on mobile). This is exactly what bots intend to deliver. Rather than downloading a native app for each of their favourite brands, or navigating a website full of content they don’t need to see, users can open their favorite messaging app and get results directly.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming bot invasion? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit: MaitreYoda