- Chatbot Updates
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The 30th March 2016, heard Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, announce the Bot Framework, meaning that Chatbots became credible as a mainstream initiative.
This was quickly followed by Chatbot announcements from Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook; Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon; Larry Ellison, CTO Oracle; Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce; and many others including Ginni Rometty, CEO IBM announcing the use of Watson in the healthcare sector.
Over the past nine months, Chatbots have moved from the fringe to mainstream, with ample supportive evidence (http://www.chatbotinsider.ai/). Microsoft, Facebook and API.ai (Google) Chatbot initiatives have already attracted 120,000+ software developers.
Microsoft and Facebook have evolved very quickly, having learnt much from previously losing to Google and Apple, who became dominant in the mobile app market, when they deployed the same market entry strategy by gaining the high ground with software developers.
Google was struggling, but acquired API.ai to try and catch up. Whilst Apple is dangerously slipping behind this market shift, even though its making Siri more open, it is a long way short form being a Chatbot Platform.
Naturally, Venture Capitalists are rushing into this market, they are busy as exits have begun as the tech titans caught by the market change need to catch up by buying Chatbot platforms. Recent acquisitions include Samsung acquiring Viv (claimed to be next generation Siri) and as mentioned Google buying API.ai.
This means that premiums are being paid for Chatbot platform acquisitions as demand and scarcity dynamics are now in play.
As with any emergent market, the level of understanding can be quite embryonic and not well understood. Here are just two of the many elements for consideration:
- A Chatbot, is cloud-based software for a conversation with one or more people. The more efficient and effective conversations tend to be a blended approach of natural language processing (underpinned by machine language and / or deep learning artificial intelligence) and scripted language (human powered artificial intelligence).
- The smallest unit of measurement is a dialogue-step, which can include a choice with options. The end-to-end conversation with a Chatbot is a dialogue-pathway, ideally resulting with a dialogue-outcome. Thus, the blended approach of natural and scripted language enables conversations to retain context, no matter the number of dialogue-steps taken along the chosen pathway.