What Is the Future of Bots?
Bots are powerful tools that can help companies develop marketing research and enhance user engagement. In this article, we take a look at the future of bots.
December 26, 2018
The buzz around chatbots, or bots, has been on quite the roller coaster ride for the past few years. As with most new technology, there was an initial spike in user interest, followed by a sharp decline, and then popularity leveled out. The hype seems to be on the rise again, so this is a great time to take a closer look at the future of bots.
Currently, companies use bots as powerful tools to develop marketing research, enhance user engagement and provide customer service. Users are now exchanging information with bots at a substantial rate, allowing bots and bot developers to refine their processes. Bots can assist us with scheduling, making purchases, finding information, and operating our devices. So, what’s next?
No matter how good a product is, there’s always room for improvement. When Facebook initially launched its messenger bot, there were mixed reviews. Advertisers saw a new potential to efficiently engage with their audience, but reviews of the user experience weren’t all positive. When you communicate with a bot, it can seem like you’re talking to a robot. Users want to feel like they’re speaking and interacting with actual people.
Since Facebook’s messenger bot launch, developers have been working tirelessly to create conversational marketing artificial intelligence (AI) that allows users to easily and comfortably communicate with bots. And bots are being coded to learn from their interactions with users to help reduce frustrating and impersonal interactions.
Bots can enhance existing technology
Bots can be programmed to enhance existing technology. They can provide live updates on sports and weather, and they can even make purchases for you. Integrating bots into already popular applications can alleviate user burden, by handling the heavy lifting of user-performed tasks.
And companies already use bots to complement their websites and communicate with clients. For example, in a city full of trendy options, imagine trying to find the perfect restaurant. You could spend a significant amount of time slogging through endless menus and reviews. Or a bot could compile the information for you, make recommendations, and even execute the order. Bots that help the customer find and purchase a product or service are of great benefit to businesses.
Bots can increase sales
The future will likely bring an increase in e-commerce bots. Many businesses already have bots available around the clock to answer customer questions—and to do so instantly. Customers no longer need to send an email to a company representative and then wait for that employee's response during business hours. Immediate responses, provided by bots, to questions or concerns can help perpetuate buyer momentum, which translates to more sales without more employees.
- Day and night availability: Bots provide 24/7 responses to customer service questions, shopping assistance, and curated product options.
- An understanding of the problem: Bots are becoming more adaptable to the variety of consumer frustrations and can learn from interactions.
- The ability to learn from behaviors: The more that bots interact with users, the more opportunity there is for bots to learn.
Bots are getting smarter
Researchers are currently working on ways to improve AI and to increase bots’ learning capabilities while relying less on data. And they’re making progress. Just look at the work coming out of Google. A technology known as natural language processing (NLP) allows a bot to understand the messages it receives. NLP is still in its infancy but shows great promise.
AlphaGo Zero, from Google DeepMind, is working to catapult AI forward. Knowing that some problems can’t be solved by having algorithms pull information from data banks, AlphaGo relies on neural networks to grow a machine’s intelligence—without the need for human interaction.
AlphaGo taught itself to play the ancient Chinese game of Go and won against a world champion player. The most amazing part is that AlphaGo’s neural network knew nothing about the rules and strategies of Go. This sophisticated AI bot learned how to play Go through self-play and reinforcement learning. This breakthrough holds limitless possibilities for bot technology and AI, lifting bots’ conversational abilities to the next level.
This bot is for you!
Texting has become almost second nature in our society, and people tend to avoid interactions on the phone. This trend of communicating through written text is leading the world into an era in which interacting with non-humans will become the norm. As we look to the future of bots where do you hope to see the industry go?