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2016 – A Year of Chatbot Revolution

Remember our good old friend Clippy, Microsoft’s paperclip virtual assistant? It’s like a fond memory for every 90’s kid that used Microsoft Word. That was the first time a lot of us were exposed to a chatbot. You open up Word or Excel to type a speech or work out an assignment and lo, you always bumped into this annoyingly cute thing. Those days were so much fun.
                                                     Image result for clippy gif
Then came Siri and took the world by storm. She was your friend on those lonely days when you had nobody to chat to. Her beauty was her intelligence and everyone fell in a mad love with her at first sight. Now? Well, it’s a mad chat bot race amidst the Raiders of the Silicon Valley! Numerous companies have unveiled their chat bot strategies endorsing the potential for this evolving technology with its customer service and business utility features. An era of communication as a service is falling into place and we are enjoying every bit of it. From how you search on the web to how you work, everything is changing today. The day is not far off when you can say an,”OK Google!” for most of your activities.
So what is a chatbot?
Chatbots are a cutting edge conversation based AI Interfaces. In simple terms, it’s a software you can talk to in order to get your work done! Instead of opening the news app to get the latest news, you might as well call it out loud to your phone to tell you, ” What’s new in the news?”.
Are they something new?
Well, they have been pretty much around us since the late 1960s if you’ll believe me. Eliza was the first chatbot published in 1966 which used the same pattern matching foundation that many chatbots presently rely on to deliver human-like responses. You might have also heard about the Smarter Child, which too published in the 60’s.
Image result for the smarter child gif
What are the 4 hottest chatbots in action?
The only word that comes to our mind on hearing this question is Siri. But that’s not it. The world is booming with high-end chatbots and each of these companies has their own unique chatbots. 2016 has been all about smart butted chatbots.
1)Facebook’s messenger platform with bot service:
It is a revolutionary concept of transforming business with a messenger. Companies can build a bot in Facebook Messenger that answers customer questions or help them shop without making them leave messenger ecosystem. The messenger chatbots now allow businesses to sell directly to the customers.
This is not it, Facebook’s AI Director is high on innovation and is uptight with his experiments. Read this interesting interview with Professor Yann LeCunand Facebook’s upcoming AI Projects.
2)Microsoft’s Xiaoice
Remember the movie HER? Xiaoice is HER gone real! It’s a Chinese version of Microsoft’s all knowing bot. Millions of Chinese pick up their smartphones every day to talk to her. Xiaoice even remembers tiny bits of conversations and would not forget to ask you, how you’re feeling post 3 days of your breakup! She listens, she cares and responds. Such a good friend. Xiaoice is totally different from Cortana, Microsoft’s bet for futuristic AI enabled chat bots. The youth of China is spending hours talking to Xiaoice and are freakishly addicted to her.
Image result for Microsoft's Xiaoice
3)Luvo by Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is launching an online chatbot called LUVO which will help customers find answers to their questions and also direct them to the right places. By December it is expected to start helping at least 10% of their customers. More about it here.
4)Google’s Allo
With Google Assistant by its side, Allo is a smart messaging app by Google that makes your conversations easier and more expressive. You can practically use it for anybody and everybody who is in your phone book. A second app called Duo was also launched with Allo. Read more about them here.
Image result for google allo gif
5) Haptik – everyone’s personal app
Haptik is India’s first Conversational Commerce platform that is powered by both AI and real humans. A personal assistant service, Haptik aims to redefine the way people get their everyday tasks done using chat as the underlying interface. Haptik aims to create an efficient chatbot experience assisted by humans to solve complex queries and complete end-to-end transactions. Right from making dinner reservations, to making travel bookings (hotels, flights, trains) to booking movie tickets to setting reminders or even booking a serviceman for any house repairs – Haptik can do it all and a lot more, with a simple message; making it one quintessential app you must have:
Such innovation, much wow.
The ultimate aim of replacing the common interfaces used in PCs and connected devices might take a while but is a reality in making. Satya Nadella rightly named it as Communications as a service, and CAAS is slowly taking over the world by storm.
To sum it up 2016 has been a year of chatbots. In the light of this change and all the craze around chatbots, Haptik & T-Labs are proud to bring to you India’s 1st Botathon in association with Venturesity., We welcome you to build conversational bots over platforms such as Slack, Facebook or any other platform you see fit and take away prizes of over INR 1,00,000 !
So what are you waiting for? Hit register now!

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Pratik Saurav

| Small town guy, big dreams | Wandering wordsmith with a thousand stories to tell and listen, tell me yours? |
| Foodaholic, foodpornographer, loves cooking and feeding people | Digital marketer | Talented enough to roll out a captivating blog, infographic, eDM or stuff that people will actually read |
| Human by birth, engineer by education, Data Scientist by profession and a Musician by passion | In God I trust, rest all must bring data |