Why is everyone talking about chatbots?

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How will Facebook's Messenger Platform change the way we interact with each other?
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Why is everyone talking about chatbots?

The tech world seems obsessed with chatbots at the moment, especially with Facebook’s F8 conference, which kicked off today in San Francisco. But what are chatbots, and should we be concerned that they could soon be a big part of our lives?

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence soon to become embedded into Facebook Messenger. And if you want it straight from the horse’s mouth, this is what a chatbot will tell you it is…

“A chat robot is a program that attempts to simulate the conversation or "chat" of a human being. The chat robot "Eliza" was a well-known early attempt at creating programs that could at least temporarily fool a real human being into thinking they were talking to another person. It is a kind of artificial intelligence.”

It’s thought this kind of tech could replace free-to-call numbers, allowing companies to deal with more customers at once for a lot less money.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, demonstrated the power of the chatbot on stage at announcement, by ordering a bunch of flowers from 1-800-Flowers without picking up the phone.

Unfortunately, this kind of artificial intelligence isn’t easy or cheap to create, so companies without the resource could be looking to the likes of Facebook to create chatbots for them.

Changing how we interact

In the video above, Facebook shows off a beta version of its reinvention of Facebook Messenger, called Messenger Platform, which could revolutionise how we interact with each other. This is called conversational commerce - the idea behind it being that we’ll be able to use messaging services, like Facebook’s Messenger or WhatsApp, to do everything from ordering a pizza to checking our bank accounts.

Streamlining the mobile experience so we don’t have to use as many apps is the future, and Facebook is taking the bull by the horns with its most recent announcement.

Source: Facebook Newsroom

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