Many of us are familiar with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now, and applications that perform automated tasks. These so-called ” Bots” have gotten a lot of attention. They have evolved from a simple chatbot to a bot that automates a lot of things. Nowdays bots can helps us order food, shop for clothes, save money and find restaurants. Let’s dive deep into this Conversational Commerce Chatbots world today to discover its reality and perspectives for the future.
A web robot, or simply bot, has been around for more than 50 years and it is a software application that runs automated scripts or tasks over the Internet. Bots perform tasks that are repetitive and simple such as setting an alarm, telling you the weather, searching online, get customized notifications and news and chatting with you. The most common form of bots are chatbots which simulate conversations. They often live inside messaging apps and are designed to appear like you are chatting with a human. There are bots in Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Telegram and in many more networks and tools. Let’s look at most famous messaging apps and what bots they offer.
Facebook Messenger Bot
In April 2016 Facebook Messenger launched a Messenger Platform service, which allows developers to create bot accounts that can interact with Facebook users. More than 11,000 “chatbots” have been created, and over 23,000 developers have signed up for the platform’s bot engine.
Bots on the platform can perform a range of functions, everything from tracking NBA sports games, to ordering clothes, and managing personal finance apps. Also, Facebook added a new, always visible menu tab to manage threads. This eliminates the need for users to remember text commands and has also also enables bots to send users GIFs, audio, video and others files.
The biggest advantage of searching in Messenger instead of searching in a browser is that it’s a lot easier to type a question on Facebook Messenger than to go to a browser or a bank app. In addition, a user will always have easy access to previous inquires through Facebook Messenger.
For information on how to discover a FB bot and set it up click here
A Twitter bot is a software program that sends out automated posts on Twitter.
Most Twitter bots work simply, sending out tweets periodically or automatically responding to specific phrases in user messages. More sophisticated Twitter bots perform various tasks, such as mining and analyzing tweets in real time. A few examples of tweet bots are
- @choose_this that sends at-replies to Twitter users who tweet about making a choice between a wide variety of things.
- @CongressEdits and @parliamentedits posts whenever someone makes edits to Wikipedia from the US Congress and UK Parliament IP addresses, respectively.
- @DearAssistant sends auto-reply tweets responding to complex queries in simple English by utilizing Wolfram Alpha.
- @EarthquakesSF tweets about earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area as they happen using real-time seismographic information from the USGS and many more.
Social bots incorporate artificial intelligence and sophisticated linguistic software to convincingly replicate human interaction. There are bots designed to promote products, brands, political candidates and of course there are a lot of spam bots. According research on average, only 35% of the followers of any Twitter account are actual people. Which makes the remaining 65% Twitter bots.
How to set up a Twitter bot can be found here
Slack is a very useful cloud-based team communication tool that fully embraces SlackBots and has a great API. Slackbot users, which have grown to 2 million daily usersare controlled programmatically via a bot user token that accesses one or more of Slack’s APIs and have their profile photos, names, and bios. Basically, they exist in the team directory and can be direct messaged or mentioned, they can post messages and upload files, and they can be invited to and kicked out of channels and private groups.
Bot users can’t “log in,” they don’t have a password, and they only have access to a subset of all of the API methods available to regular users. Within a Slack channel, bot users can do nearly anything you can program them to do.
Slack has two kinds of bot users: Custom bots and App bots.
- Custom bot users are great for when you want to build something custom for your own team, like sending out a survey link to your team members.
- App Bot users are useful if you need to distribute something to other Slack teams. This makes it much easier for teams to install via the Slack Button.
Uses of Slackbot :
Here are ways that Slackbot can help you and your business:
- Completing an account profile and adding new apps. Slackbot will help you fill out your profile on any Slack team you join. It will also pop up whenever you set up a new app or service, like the first time you paste a Google Drive link into a channel or interact with an Asana task through the /asana command.
- Getting quick answers to questions about Slack. If you have a question about Slack, Slackbot will do its best to answer those questions. If Slackbot doesn’t know the answer, it will suggest some articles from the Help Center.
- Adding customized, automatic responses. You can add unique words or phrases that Slackbot will use to respond to your team members.
- Forwarding personal emails to Slackbot. Team members can forward their emails to Slack, so you can stop monitoring your inbox.
More on slackbot users and set up process can be found here
Telegram that was created by N. Durov, also known for creating Russia’s largest social network VK, is a free app and is similar to WhatsApp. However, unlike its predecessor, Telegram has a unique built in feature that lets you start a “secret chat” which has a self-destruct option. Pretty good, isn’t it? Putting aside all the security features, lets see what they’ve got for Bots.
The company launched their bots in summer of 2015 and they do have a number of them:
- @ImageBot – send this bot a keyword and it’ll provide you with a relevant picture.
- @TriviaBot – test your trivia knowledge or add to groups to compete with friends.
- @PollBot – add this one to group chats to create polls.
- @RateStickerBot – discover and rate new stickers.
- @AlertBot – set a time and this bot will send you a reminder for anything you like.
- @HotOrBot – find friends with this Tinder-like dating bot.
- @GithubBot – track GitHub updates.
- @StoreBot – find new bots and rate them.
Also, there is a bot to create a bot. It is called The BotFather. All you have to do is to follow a few steps and once you’ve created a bot and received your authorization token, you can check out Bot API manual to see what you can teach your bot to do.
Basically, Bots in Telegram look different from human users: their chat and profile screens have a slightly different UI and they don’t have access to all messages by default when added to groups.
Other examples of bots are:
Shopbot, a program that shops around the Web on your behalf and locates the best price for a product you’re looking for. There are alo bots such as Open Sesame that observe a user’s patterns in navigating a Web site and customize the site for that user.
A more recent example of renovated bot is TacoBot. Not long ago Taco Bell released a bot that allows you to order and pay for tacos through an automated chat conversation. TacoBot can also provide recommendations, answer questions, and organize group office orders.
Kasisto has MyKai, a smart bot that can help you manage money, track expenses, and make payments, all from within whichever messaging app you like best, Facebook Messenger, SMS, or Slack. It shows balances and search transactions across accounts, makes payments with your Venmo account, tells you how much you’ve spent either in a category or for the month. It is simple and easy to operate.
BOTS – Are the Next Big Form of Communication
Clearly the prevalence of Conversational Commerce Chatbots has been increasing for the past several years. Is there a potential for Bots to help with customer service? Bots already are smart enough to solve basic issues, gather information for communication and understand what a consumer wants. Since bots do all these tasks for us, will there be a future for customer service bots?
Bots have been around a long time — phone systems ask you to speak your account number, say what you’re calling about or push a digit corresponding to what you want. Facebook’s Messenger platform, for example, is just one of many future platforms where you’ll be able to handle customer service issues. Using customer service bots can bring faster results, better customer service and it simply can be easier for consumers to communicate with.
All these sounds great, however, let’s not forget about the threat to the job market that can be caused by chatbots taking most administrative positions. According to a recent report from the World Economic Forum, over five million jobs could be wiped out globally in the next five years due to the rise of robots.
The future of this is very close as we are already seeing a rise of bots all around the world. Technology will continue to progress at a faster pace.
Below you can find a list of conferences on AI and Bots:
- October 19th, 2016 O’Reilly Bot Day at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. At Bot Day, you’ll:
- hear from experts on the medium- and long-term future of bots
- hear a comparison of the different bot platforms
- get insight into the ways that users have reacted to bots, and hear advice on creating positive interactions
- delve into high-level bot strategy
- learn when to develop your own AI algorithms and when to make use of artificial-intelligence-as-a-service
- November 7-9, 2016 AI World Expo San Francisco The industry’s largest conference and expo focused on how your business can harness the power of AI and Machine Learning Today.
- MobileBeat 2016 which held its 9th annual conference on July 12-13th in San Francisco. Organized by VentureBeat, an online technology news platform that has access to a terrific network throughout Silicon Valley, MobileBeat’s agenda was focused on exploring:
- Leading cases of where apps or other publishers are triumphing on chat platforms
- The impact on businesses of trends like the opening up of Messenger and WhatsApp
- How payments and mobile commerce conversion strategies are emerging here
- Lessons learned from the revolution that WeChat has sparked in China
- Other messaging feeds and notification strategies brands need to be aware of to engage users properly
- Besides Facebook’s chat platforms, how the other platform players – Snapchat, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Pinterest, Kik, Apple, Line, etc – fit in