In the world of technology, nothing is permanent. The world is dominated by apps right now, but they might become extinct very soon, all because chatbots are slowly making their foray and are on the march.
“Bots are the new apps”, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during a keynote address last month.
And he might be onto something because chatbots are the future, as right now they are emerging to be the hot new things in tech.
So, what are chatbots?
Putting it simply, chatbots are basically software that can conduct human-like conversation and can become your very own helpful assistant which texts you and answers your queries.
Why are we calling it a big thing?
Take a quick look at your phone and you will see it is inundated with numerous apps. Just imagine if there was a replacement for all of the apps you have downloaded. Now no need to imagine, here is your answer- a chatbot!
For instance: Instead of opening the cab app to book a cab, you can just ask the bot and it will do it for you. Similarly, instead of opening the weather app to see the temperature, you can just ask a bot and it will tell you the weather.
Depending on what the bot is made for, it could book restaurants or flights, make appointments, send emails or order takeaway for you.
And all this is possible because the recent developments in Artificial intelligence (deep learning and neural networks) have produced more sophisticated bots that can better understand what we're saying, and therefore provide more nuanced, realistic and accurate responses.
We recently saw that how the future of AI is shining bright as it managed to defeat world’s top player of the ancient Chinese board game. So no doubts about that.
Here's how the major tech companies are placing big bets on chatbots:
Google is in the process of building a new artificial-intelligence based messaging app, which will function like a full-scale service. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google’s app will rely on chatbots to give answers to queries around weather, news information, restaurants, etc.
It's out in the open now, that Facebook is all set to announce the arrival of chatbots in its messaging app at the annual software developer conference in San Francisco. And the latest Messenger drops the hint. If you were to do a search in the latest version of Facebook's chat app, you'll find a new category heading called "Bots and Businesses."
Microsoft recently had launched its first attempt with a Twitter chatbot named "Tay". But things got out of hand when "Tay" started spewing racist comments to some user's questions. But Microsoft is set to make things right and it recently also announced that it will be launching new tools to help developers build their own chatbots into their apps.
Messaging app Kik recently launched an online store for chatbots, to allow brands to talk to users via bots. Kik, which has 275 million users, has signed up 16 partners including make-up store Sephora and The Weather Channel. In Kik's store, users will be able to download bots for entertainment, customer service and shopping.