Recently I’ve been experimenting with many bots, in addition to the ones we all use – Google Now (OK Google) and Siri. Google and Siri have come a long way. I’ve noticed their progress particularly when using Google Translate, which I use in my language study to keep 6 languages sharp. I’ve seen the accuracy of the translations improve over time and was recently surprised that Google Now can do vocal translations. You can just say, “OK Google, say “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” in Italian and it will say it pretty accurately. Say it, not just show the text, but say it with a pretty accurate accent. That’s impressive!
This year is a turning point for not only AI, but for voice recognition and chat bots. Bots have been around a long time, but haven’t always been very useful due to the way they were programmed. They were dumb – based on “if, then” programming. In other words, the programmers would create the bot to say X if someone typed in Y, which didn’t leave for a lot of options. It would be impossible to program a responsive bot using that kind of logic.
With natural language processing (a subset of A.I.), things are changing quickly as these chat program are quickly becoming more useful. Large companies like Facebook, Whatsapp, Uber, WeChat, Google and many others are betting that people will spend more and more time in their messaging programs.
It turns out, they’re correct. A report from Business Insider states that messaging apps have eclipsed social networks in monthly actives:
Conversational Commerce is What’s Next
This is an important development for ecommerce. Ecommerce and installed apps are changing. Our online and mobile interactions will become more and more based on “conversational commerce.” This term was coined by Chris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at @Uber and inventor of the #hashtag.
He defines conversational commerce as “utilizing chat, messaging, or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands, or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context.”
Watch the short video below to see how you can order an Uber from Facebook Messenger. This is just the beginning or what apps can do.