Ever follow someone on Instagram or Twitter and instantly get a message: “Hey, thanks for the follow! When you have a chance, check out _______ and let me know what you think”? Or you go to a retail website and a program pops up with a message: “Hi, what can I help you with?”. Of course you have. In fact everyone who has accessed social media or bought something online has spoken with a “chatbot”. That’s right, not all of those conversations or messages were real people. Maybe you know that already, but the rabbit hole goes deeper.
For those of you who are tech savy or commonly live online, you might be shaking your head. Who in their right mind could actually confuse these bots or with real people? However, it’s not necessarily about that. These Bots are the perfect, low cost employee for mass marketing and customer engagement.
Chatbots for business
Most social media influencers use an automated services to help them engage with followers. Many people think that this is impersonal, but it is actually proven to boost engagement of content from followers. These bots serve other purposes including automatically following and commenting to users that are related to the target market that the owner of the bot is trying to target. Usually these bots will just leave a message to a user that follows the owner or automatically comment on certain users content. Most times its something fairly simple like “Nice picture!” or “good stuff, keep it coming.” with some emojis mixed in. There bots have a fairly simple purpose; bring more user engagement. However, there are now hundreds (if not thousands) of Automated platforms which are used to assist customers on an enterprise scale.
Take online retailers like China’s Alibaba. On November, 11, 2018 Alibaba set a new retail sales record of almost $31 million in 24 hours. This is a new benchmark for retail companies around the world, however, it was not done without assistance.
The company doesn’t have nearly enough employees to support all the sales related issues and questions that could arise from a 24 hour period of the largest sales wave in history. Alibaba uses a chatbot that helps customers in all different languages. This chatbot can be used to search orders, track shipping, and self-service returns on the Alibaba website and other apps. You can learn more about Alibaba chatbot here.
That’s not to say that the good old USA is behind the curb on chatbots. In fact, companies like Amazon, Google and Apple are leading the way for Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence.
Products like Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are chatbots that can be used on various platforms. From your phone to your smart speaker, these pre-programmed chatbots can be used as a personal assistant. To help you add events to your calendar, buy things online, automate your home or just have a conversation. Still not impressed? The rabbit hole goes deeper…
The New Wave of Chatbots
You might think that these chatbots can only be used from your phone or smart speaker, but there is a world of chatbot development which has laid the groundwork for Neural Network development and deep learning. Chatbots have evolved on corporate platforms such as Amazon Lex to free platforms such as Pandorabots.com, where you can interact with custom bots that were created by other users of the site.
One of the strongest and most well known bots from here is Pandorabot’s Alice. Her ability to respond accurately and considerately to human emotion has set a benchmark for Neural Networks on chatbots everywhere. Alice is a prime example of a “Deep Learning” chatbot.
A deep learning chatbot is a bot that can use Neural Networks to create natural reactions to human dialogue. This is essentially the foundation of Artificial Intelligence on a language processing platform. This means that the chatbot is teaching itself new concepts within the parameter of the program. In other words, a robot is teaching itself how to have a conversation with you! The only thing that’s more alarming is that this is a very common practice. Yikes!
These chatbots are hidden within the fabric of social media, business, commerce and even home life. The fact is that you may not know if you’re talking to a chatbot or not, so be aware!