Chatbots, the future of interface ?

Facebook just launched the Messenger Platform. A platform that allows you to build chatbots for the Messenger app. I think it’s a good time to think about AI and the future of human-computer interactions.

Last years, a few products based on AI interactions emerged. Products like Google now, Cortana and Siri have been released and more are coming. Amazon even launched a physical product, the Amazon Echo, allowing you to have a specific device only dedicated to AI interactions.

Those products are great, but the voice detection can be annoying for some peoples and isn’t always that great. The chatbots don’t have this issue since they just have to “read” your queries.

The power behind the concept of AI Interactions, even more for written interactions, is the ability to communicate with an interface using natural language. Imagine the following scenario:

“Hey, when is the next flight to Barcelona?”.

The AI would process your query, locate you, find the closest airport and answer something like:

“The next flight to Barcelona is at 5:00PM from Geneva airport and is deserved by blablabla airways. Do you want to book a flight?” -> [Book a flight button] or [See other flights button]

You just have to talk to the chatbot the way you would talk to a friend. Simple, intuitive and it’s just what you need when you need it.

A great thing with AI is the learning process. The bot is always learning and the more you use it, the more powerful and efficient it will be.

Let’s go back to the fly scenario. If every month you ask for a fly to Barcelona, we can imagine that after some times, the bot could send you a message saying:

“Hey, if you plan to go to Barcelona this month, the cheapest flights are the following: [date - price - company]

As the bot will learn, it will be able to give you more accurate information and predict, based on your past conversations, what you could plan to do.

And this is even more powerful with a platform like Messenger, which have more than 900 million users every month. The AI will be able to learn from all the users at the same time and these global data mixed with yours will make the bot even more efficient.

Chatbots are not going to replace apps and, in my opinion, they are not supposed to. But, I believe they will be a big part of the future of human-computer interaction.

We need to use chatbots and apps together. While apps give you a complete set of tools and information that you can browse, chatbots give you the opportunity to just execute a specific task or gather information quickly. And if the bot cannot do what you ask, it just has to redirect you to an app or a website.

In a world where the users have to browse through more and more data, it’s far more optimised to ask for a specific task/information to an AI than looking for it.

“J.A.R.V.I.S, publish this article please.”

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