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Are You Talking Out of Your Bot? The Oh So Easy Guide to Bots

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Technology has never been so powerful. With the advancement of technology, humans are spending more money and resources into developing intelligent systems that can replace humans without losing the human touch. From language learning to smart homes, bots are a part of our life and their presence is only going to increase in the coming years.

Here’s a rundown on everything bot related.


 

What are bots?

Bots are intelligence systems that interact with those giving it orders via text or through various platforms such as websites, short messaging service (SMS), social media platforms etc.

What do they do?

In simple words, you can visualize bots as your personal assistant who comprehends only written text. You type out what you need and the assistant will carry out the task and come back to you with the end result. That is bot technology. The difference between having a human assistant and a bot is the immediate response, efficiency and vast knowledge of the latter, and the fact they never need to stop for lunch!

Bots in real life

Currently, companies such as Facebook and Microsoft are testing bots and areas where their services can be used. In the coming years, bot technology is only going to grow. With more people using social messaging applications, bots can be a valuable addition to these platforms to service the needs of the people.

Here are five possible scenarios where we are most likely to see bots being used in the near future, whether we realize it or not.

 

Scenario 1. Shopping

Imagine walking into a shoe store. You like a shoe, but cannot find the size. What would you usually do? You would try to find it yourself or wait for a shopping assistant to appear, as you hopefully scan the store on the lookout for help. A lot of time is wasted in the process of you trying to find an assistant, the assistant checking the store, and then returning with the pair. That is, if they do have it in stock. If they don't, you have spent the same amount of time for zero result.

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Now think of the same scenario but with a bot introduced. You walk into the store. Find a pair of sneakers you like. You connect to the store Wi-Fi and a messaging platform opens up. The bot asks how it may help you. You ask for the brand, size and color of the sneakers you want, just as you would when you text someone. The bot checks the system and within seconds informs you whether it is available or not. Should you be happy, you can opt to pay on the spot or at the counter where the shoes are delivered. The time taken after deciding your shoe and check out has now been significantly reduced.

Scenario 2. Messaging

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Popularity of bots in messaging platforms has been rising significantly over the last decade or so. With companies like Facebook having introduced bots in their messenger platforms, it is only a matter of time before other social messaging platforms follow suite. One thing is for sure; soon we will all be 'talking out of our bots'.

Bots in messaging platforms usually aid the user in carrying out daily tasks. From paying parking tickets to purchasing grocery or getting your flight details, these bots can do everything without sounding like a machine. The user has the option to continue asking follow up questions and the bot will respond just as you would expect when a human is at the other end. Embedding of bots in messaging applications reduces the hassle of having to download individual applications that are otherwise necessary to carry out these tasks. Bots ensure everything is done through a service that you use most frequently.

Scenario 3. Health

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If you consider time spent in a hospital without including the time spent for consultation and treatment, you will realize that a lot of time is wasted on patient registration and payments. It takes time for the front desk staff to retrieve your file, verify your details, ask your symptoms and assign you a doctor. The consultation might last less than fifteen minutes yet your visit will take anywhere between sixty to ninety minutes or more.

With the use of a bot, time can be reduced considerably. The clinic can display a QR code which the patient can scan. The patient is then directed into a chat where they can type in the name, and symptom which enables the bot to look up the file and decide the doctor. There will be an option to pay the consultation fee using a payment method such as a credit card or an e-wallet. Everything can be completed in less than ten minutes and you don’t spend much time waiting for procedures where your presence in front of a receptionist is not required.

Scenario 4. Smart Homes

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Smart homes are no longer the fantasy of the past. From dimming lights to playing your preferred choice of music, technology at home is improving and leaping what was considered to be limits. Devices like Google Home have been developed to act as an interface where humans can control the various functions at home such as lighting, music and temperature of the thermostat through wireless or infrared technology in the device.

With further advancement in technology, it is expected that these devices will be replaced with simple text commands. You type in the command through a smartphone or a similar device and the action will be carried out. Of course, for this to happen, all our devices and appliances need to communicate with each other. The engineers are already at work developing a system of bots and appliances that can communicate with each other. Check out Mark Zuckerberg's video on his own Smart Home development, Building Jarvis.

Scenario 5. Language Learning

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Learning online has never been easier with a galaxy of apps available at your disposal. With the advancement of bot technology, more and more companies are looking to tap into the potential of integrating social messaging platforms with bots to aid in language learning.

For example, Learningonline.xyz has just partnered with Skype in a joint venture to develop a Language Learning Bot. The bot will be embedded in the Skype application and it will offer users a different approach towards learning a new language. This bot will enable the user to learn a language through the Skype app. The user will be able to learn and practice his or her grasp of the language by communicating with the bot through the app, giving the user a realistic feel to the conversations that might happen in the real world. Not only does this let the user learn at their convenience it also gives the user a personal and realistic experience without having to physically search for someone to converse. The bot will be your friend or mentor to whom you can ask questions and get answers almost immediately. It will be like having a friend who knows all the languages of the planet!

So now we have got to the bottom of bots, you know what all the bother is about!


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