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OPLIN 4cast #512: Bots are here, and they’re changing communication

Posted in 4cast

Have you talked to a bot recently?

No, not a robot; these days, the word “bot” usually means the shortened form of “chatbot.” Chances are good that you have talked with one, though: Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant are all examples of voice-activated chatbots.  Bots help to run automated tasks, but don’t have to be voice-activated to be classified as a bot. Many large companies use bots on Facebook Messenger to simplify simple tasks. For example, you can order pizza from Dominos, flowers from 1-800-flowers and get automatic, personalized updates from CNN.  We’ve written about bots before, but bots are now exploding into popularity, and being employed for all sorts of things.

  • Chat Bots Aren’t a Fad. They’re a Revolution. [BackChannel] “In August, the White House’s chief digital officer announced a new way to catch President Obama’s ear: a Messenger bot, allowing citizens to “speak” directly to the administration through their Facebook accounts. The U.S. government hasn’t historically been an early adopter of new technology, so if it’s embracing bots, you know they’re having a moment.”
  • Duolingo Adds Chat Bots to Help You Learn Languages Through Conversation. [Lifehacker] “Duolingo is one of the most popular ways to learn a new language, and today the iPhone app is getting an update that adds in chat bots. These bots can help you learn a little quicker by using conversational language.”
  • The chatbot will see you now: AI may play doctor in the future of healthcare. [Digital Trends] “Of all the fields that artificial intelligence will disrupt in the coming years, healthcare may see the greatest paradigm shift. AI’s influence in the industry will be deep and broad. Image-recognition algorithms already help detect diseases at an astonishing rate. Now, a few startups are using intelligent machines to redesign the clinic, redefine the role of the practitioner, and reposition the patient in relation to her own health.”
  • Interactive chatbot lets you speak in real-time with a World War I soldier [Mashable] “News Corp Australia has launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that allows users to interact with Tasmanian soldier Archie Barwick, who fought in World War I. The chatbot was created by AnzacLive, an interactive project that helps users learn more about the personal experiences of Australians on the frontline.”

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