Why Chat Bots Might be the Future
Smart phone users are no longer interested in filling their devices with apps. Instead, they prefer applications that can perform multiple functions and offer conversational interfaces for greater flexibility. Personal assistants in the way of chat bots will dominate in the future-here’s why.
History of Chat Bots
The Chinese tech company Tencent first developed an interface known as WeChat in 2011. This chat bot is thought to be the forerunner for more recent programs, and was the first to improve customer experience by allowing people to perform multiple, unrelated functions via a single virtual assistant.
WeChat allowed users to perform everyday tasks such as ordering a pizza with fewer screen taps than before, streamlining functions and improving efficiency. Approximately 697 million people use WeChat each month, many of whom reside in China. Although not well known outside of Asia, WeChat has nonetheless inspired other programs, more recently the Facebook virtual assistant known as “M.”
The market is already inundated with personal assistants such as M, Siri, Alexa, WeChat, and Cortana. One reason for their popularity is their user-friendly features. Users can ask these assistants to complete tasks that range from scheduling appointments to paying bills. Accessing a virtual assistant is especially convenient when making purchases because it means that all financial transactions can be stored in a single location.
In many cases, accessing one of these chat bots is more convenient that toggling between two or three different apps. For example, business travelers can use an assistant to book a flight, hotel, rental car, and schedule a meeting rather than accessing a different app for each function. Not only does this save time, but it also prevents people from having to download and learn new apps that they may never have a use for again.
Driven by Artificial Intelligence
Advances in Artificial Intelligence or AI technology is another thing that is spurring the trend. While most tasks can be completed through conversation mode, there are some instances in which that may not be effective. Developers are currently working on ways to make conversational chat bots more intuitive so that they closely simulate the way humans interact. Many are also including widgets that allow users to access information in a different manner for those times when speaking with a virtual assistant isn’t quite cutting it.
Industry experts believe that there are nearly endless possibilities for chat bots. Some claim that they may someday be used to run simple errands such as picking items up from the grocery store. One day, people may even delegate things such as turning down the thermostat or opening the blinds to them as well.
The number of people using “chat bots” is increasing at such a fast rate that many industry experts believe it is just a matter of time until they are accepted everywhere. Their popularity coupled with the fact that existing platforms enable you to build your own chat bot means that they are considered the wave of the future. One day, we may even wonder how we ever managed to get by without them.