Let’s start with the good stuff: all the big players — Facebook, Slack, Kik, WeChat — are getting in on the bot action, which must mean that everyone believes there’s something there worth investing in. Bots are being touted as a replacement for apps, and with good reason.
Apps can be cumbersome, frustrating and sometimes a waste of precious phone space. Bots are a quick and easy solution to that problem, allowing a comfortable customer experience that’s intuitive and immediate.
There is no learning curve and no advanced skills are required — just plain and simple conversation. What seems like a shift in perception now is actually just going back to the basics.
We all know how to talk to each other — we do it all the time. And with a smartphone in almost everyone’s pocket, texting is almost second nature. It only stands to reason that a text-based interface would be the most comfortable way to adopt a new technology.
A big plus of getting a bot for yourself is that it’s currently the hippest thing around. It’s new, it’s mysterious, it’s different. What better way to stand out from the crowd and the noise than by being a trendsetter? This is currently the coolest way to stay ahead of the curve.
Another feature we’ve talked about is the ease of use, compared to traditional apps. How many of us can really afford to hire an app developer to make us an app? And, realistically, who’s going to download yet another app? What’s a regular Joe to do? Bots are the magic-wand solution. Consider the appeal of sending a quick text to your newest customer or fan via your uber-trendy bot. Immediate bonus points!
This sounds amazing, but what’s the catch? Well, as with any new technology, there are going to be a few hurdles to cross before it’s seamless enough to be a total pleasure.
The biggest glitch at this point seems to be that the technology isn’t quite what we think it is. Computers still run on code, and code is made by humans. We’ve spent all our lives learning to interpret language, but in human-terms, computers are still toddlers.
It’s easy enough for a computer to understand individual words, but understanding nuances like tone, sarcasm, colloquialisms and slang are another ballgame entirely. That’s what makes a conversation seem natural, and, sadly, artificial intelligence just isn’t that smart. Yet.
The upside is that AI is the new buzzword, and EVERYONE wants to get there. We’re seeing amazing developments, and it won’t be long before it reaches a stage where we actually enjoy talking to machine. For now, though, we’ll just have to accept that a computer (or a bot) is going to respond like a computer, and not like a human.
Another drawback is the geeky stuff. How are you supposed to build a bot if you don’t know a single line of code? Up until this point, messenger platforms allowed you to build your own bots and use their services. And there are tons of companies that promise an easy solution to your coding worries. But what if it could be even easier?
Our BOTTR platform is meant for people who want the ease of a bot without any of the work! We all love the idea of our own personal robots. The idea that a “bot” can turn your hot water on, send that e-card to your great aunt Hester, or order your favorite Starbucks coffee while you’re on your way there is the ultimate dream at this point.
Are we there yet? Not entirely. Will we get there? Yes, and in the very near future! Amazon, Google and Apple are doing amazing things with their voice-based assistants, and it’s not long before bots catch up.
Technology tends to grow alarmingly fast, and this is one area where everyone seems to want to outdo the others. This can only mean good things for you and me — the more people we have working on it, the better and faster it gets. Who knows where we’ll be in a few short months!
A bot should be as much a part of your identity as your social networks — maybe even more. We see a future where a bot collates all your social data, and shares it with your friends for you. We see a future where everyone has a bot, just like everyone has a smartphone, or everyone has a Facebook account. We see a future where we collect everything about you into one little bot — a bot that talks like you, a bot that talks for you, a bot that talks about you.
We may not get there immediately, but this is the future we plan to build. A world where everyone is connected, where getting anything you want is as easy as asking a question, and ultimately, where your world is simplified.
This post appeared originally at Chatbots Magazine.