Social Media Examiner: Chatbot Strategy: How to Improve Your Marketing With Bots. “Wondering if your business should start using chatbots? Looking for tips on what chatbots can do and how to set them up? To explore how to improve your marketing with bots, I interview Natasha Takahashi on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Natasha is a chat marketing expert and co-founder of School of Bots, the leading training site for creating profitable chatbots. She’s also host of the 10 Minute Chatbot Marketer podcast. You’ll discover six ways to use bots in your Facebook marketing and find tips for developing a chatbot strategy. You’ll also learn uses for chatbots outside of Facebook Messenger.” Podcast with extensive article.
EurekAlert: New software agents will infer what users are thinking. “Personal assistants today can figure out what you are saying, but what if they could infer what you were thinking based on your actions? A team of academic and industrial researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University is working to build artificially intelligent agents with this social skill.”
The Register: Google says its latest chatbot is the most human-like ever – trained on our species’ best works: 341GB of social media. “AI researchers at Google have trained a giant neural network using a whopping 341GB of discussions scraped from public social media to create what they believe is the most human-like chatbot ever.” Just read this story because the quoted conversation between Meena and a human is glorious. Why? Because it was outstanding in its field!
The Atlantic: Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It. “Presidential-campaign season is officially, officially, upon us now, which means it’s time to confront the weird and insidious ways in which technology is warping politics. One of the biggest threats on the horizon: Artificial personas are coming, and they’re poised to take over political debate. The risk arises from two separate threads coming together: artificial-intelligence-driven text generation and social-media chatbots. These computer-generated ‘people’ will drown out actual human discussions on the internet.”
The Next Web: 2020 will mark the death of the chatbot as we know it. “According to recent research, only 9 percent of customers felt that they would be best served by a chatbot for serious enquiries, whereas the figures for a voice call were in excess of 80 percent. But with 80 percent of contact centers wanting to adopt chatbot technology by 2020, what is does this industry know that we don’t? Well, they are seeing the bright and not-so-distant future of this technology, and it doesn’t look like a thing like your average chatbot.”
Fast Company: There’s now a chatbot to give refugees instant legal advice. “For a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who is trying to navigate the legal path to resettlement, it can be difficult to find answers—and overstretched humanitarian organizations can take as long as three months to respond to an email when the demand for help is highest. A new chatbot called Mona, designed for Facebook Messenger and Telegram, can help more quickly.”
The New York Times: Facebook Gives Workers a Chatbot to Appease That Prying Uncle. “Some Facebook employees recently told their managers that they were concerned about answering difficult questions about their workplace from friends and family over the holidays…So just before Thanksgiving, Facebook rolled out something to help its workers: a chatbot that would teach them official company answers for dealing with such thorny questions.” This is so on-brand I laughed out loud.
TechCrunch: Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder. “Microsoft today announced the public preview of its Power Virtual Agents tool, a new no-code tool for building chatbots that’s part of the company’s Power Platform, which also includes Microsoft Flow automation tool, which is being renamed to Power Automate today, and Power BI.”
Make Tech Easier: How to Build a Chatbot without Coding. “Building truly intelligent chatbots requires the knowledge of something like Python and high-level libraries such as CoreNLP. By the same token, creating dummy ones for simple tasks does not require any coding skills. In fact, by the end of this, you will have learned how to launch your own chatbots on the Web.”
VentureBeat: Some Alexa Prize chatbots exposed customer data, talked filth. “Millions of users of Amazon’s Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant that can tell them the weather, order takeout and handle other basic tasks in response to a voice command. So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: ‘Kill your foster parents.'”
The Next Web: The $24 billion chatbot industry sucks because it needs better AI. “In 2014, WIRED would profile a ‘boring’ company called Slack beginning a media and venture-based obsession with bringing chat to every corner of our work lives. Somewhere along the way, the growth of chat-based enterprise communication was conflated with a preference for doing everything in a chat window, and thus we were given chatbots. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella would go on to call them ‘the new interface,’ and by 2017 over $24 billion in funding had gone into chatbot companies. A year later, and the landscape of chatbot funding is desolate. And it’s because they were never truly built to solve the many, many problems they were supposedly created to fix.”
The Next Web: I built a bot and now I know why bots are so dumb. “I used Azure Bot Service, LUIS, and Azure Functions to build a chatbot that allows me to control an internet connected LIFX lightbulb in my office. I connected it to my work Slack channel so my co-workers could change the color of my desk lamp or turn it on or off. Then I sat back and waited to marvel in the praise of my peers as they were blown away by the sentient life I had birthed. …and I’m still waiting because none of that happened. While the technology worked just fine, I learned that building chatbot interfaces is not something one just does. There are a lot of pitfalls. So you can share in my humiliation, here are some of the lessons I learned building the Lamp Bot.”
Library of Congress: Linking chatbots to collections for place-based storytelling. “The following is a guest post from Library of Congress Labs Innovation Intern, Charlie Moffett. In the course of crafting data-driven narratives with digital collections, he created @govislandbot and an open-source mapping tutorial. Below he shares his processes, some of the challenges he encountered, along with the code.”
Search Engine Journal: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Quick Q&A Chatbot. “Today we’re going to build a bot, step-by-step, starting with a simple informational bot based on a template create by Microsoft (my employer). Informational bots make it easy for you to quickly get information via simple text-based chat. In this how-to, we’ll create a bot to answer questions defined in a knowledge set or FAQ using QnA Maker and displayed in a Cortana bot using Azure Bot Service. The best part: it will take 30 minutes or less! And, it requires no coding skills!”
Museums and the Web: Chatbots in museums: hype or opportunity? . “Chatbots have caught the headlines recently with businesses starting to adopt them to stimulate conversation with customers. But what are chatbots? How do they work? What can they do for museums and their audiences?”