Is it the end of the app era?

Chatbots may be the next big thing. Hard to imagine when there is an app for everything, but that could soon change. Chatbots are computer programs that emulate human conversation and interaction. They aren’t a new creation and have been around for a while. The first Chatbot was designed in 1966 by a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, it was rather crude and made mistakes often. Chatbots were initially designed to help with customer service and as help tools, and large companies such as Lloyds and Citroen use Chatbots instead of call centres.

However, this is all about to change. Soon, Chatbots may start to make all activities easier than before! They allow users to type commands, similar to doing a Google search, and then the command is carried out. For example, if I want to order a pizza, I would have to Google “Take away Pizza” and then order it through a website. With a Chatbot, I could simply ask it to order a large peperoni from Dominoes as soon as possible and it would do it all for me. Chatbots may make hangovers a little bit more bearable.

“Chatbots are computer programs that emulate human conversation and interaction. They aren’t a new creation and have been around for a while”

But why are they coming about now? App sales are still growing, but it is not at the same rate as it once was and with the top 20 developers collecting almost half of all revenue generated from apps, start up companies are eager to try something new.

There are now Chatbots that can interact with your bank account to help you find ways in which to save money, and others that can help set up meetings. But for the Chatbots to thrive there needs to be involvement of major players, such as Google and Facebook. Both of these have expressed an interest, however, Microsoft’s AI Chatbot “Tay” turned rogue quickly, and became a racist sex-loving monster within 24 hours.

“If I want to order a pizza, I would have to Google “Take away Pizza” and then order it through a website. With a Chatbot, I could simply ask it to order a large peperoni from Dominoes as soon as possible and it would do it all for me”

The problem is, because the tools are still in their infancy, their interpretation of text is currently very limited. The Chatbots only carry out commands if the correct phrase is entered as their guesswork is poor. This will improve with time, but it means that for the time being there will be a rocky few years of awkward conversations with robots.

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