The Chatbot Economy

Chatbots are changing the webonomics of our world


We’ve been enthusing about the ability of chatbots to change the webconomy since Facebook announced the availability of SDKs and APIs for the developer community in early 2016.

All the big tech companies are piling in of course and the article below highlights how Microsoft is adding 3rd chatbot functionality to its extensively used Skype messenger product.

So it occurs to me that the ability to augment/replace call centre workers (sales and support) is really going to financially benefit the big tech companies that have the massive reach into the messaging market. . . because the companies saving money and improving service will end up paying to access the verbal and text messaging platforms of the big US and Chinese tech companies. Yet again transferring value from legacy sectors to technology.

The Build announcement was important for a couple of reasons. It was Microsoft making the bold statement that the App Age is ending, bots are the new thing, and Microsoft is leading the charge. It also represented the first major directional shift for Microsoft that comes from the brain of Satya Nadella.

Today Microsoft announces a new group of bots that are the fruit of its labors with its bot developer partners. They are:

  • The Skyscanner bot helps individuals or people in a group chat search for flights, and returns live prices and route options within Skype.
  • The StubHub bot lets people discuss, locate, and buy event tickets within Skype.
  • The IFTTT bot returns automated messages from apps, devices, and websites based on triggers set by the user. This could mean anything from breaking news to weather alerts, or a notification that someone’s at the front door.
  • The Hipmunk bot does pretty much what the Hipmunk app does, only in a voice-based, conversational way. That is, it returns all sorts of travel data, prices, and advice.
  • The Spock bot is a AI version of the popular Vulcan from Star Trek.

In Skype, bots are selected from a directory and added to the user’s contacts. Users add bots to conversations and talk to them just like human contacts. Microsoft says the more users talk to the bots the more the bots can anticipate the user’s needs.”…more