Chatbots Increasing In Popularity In The Digital Age
Chatbots sound exactly like how they are called. They are computer programs that are designed to engage people in chat conversations. But with the latest advances in programming and machine learning, chatbots are getting smarter than ever, and more and more companies are using them to interact with their respective customers. Some of the names are big global brands like Google, Facebook, and even Pizza Hut.
It helps that modern technology has made chats more human than ever before. That thought may creep out some, but for others, it does feel a little more comfortable chatting with a chatbot that actually seems, well, human. But chatbots are definitely more effective when they help companies strengthen their brands.
Take mattress company Casper for instance, it designed a chatbot called Insomnobot-3000 and rolled it out in order to keep the sleepless (who else?) company during late evenings and very early mornings. Before it had a chatbot, Casper made full use of a Twitter stream (#linksomnia), which provided interesting writeups to keep the sleepless active during the graveyard shift. Casper actually still uses this stream, but now it has Insomnobot-3000 to directly engage the sleepless in real time conversations, and on certain occasions, provide weird and downright hilarious interactions that users are only too eager to grab a screen shot of (and share in social media, of course).
More importantly, the rise of chat messaging platforms has meant that chatbots are as indispensable as ever. Messenger, the chat messaging app of Facebook, the world’s biggest social media giant, began using chatbots back in April earlier this year. The advantage for Facebook users is that they can have the chatbot dig up information for them, or even strike up a chat with a business establishment’s chatbot. Amazingly, it has been working pretty well for Messenger. For example, The Call of Duty chatbot managed to facilitate 16 million conversations in just a span of 24 hours. Absolut’s chat cheekily lets users claim a free drink, and then assist the user in booking a ride home.
Still, it is good to remember that despite the significant progress, chatbots still have a long way to go in terms of improving their capabilities. Today, conversations with chatbots are at times more amusing than meaningful. But herein lies the question -- should we aim for chatbots to be perfectly human? They are increasingly becoming useful, that is for sure, but it might be wise to remember that they are just software after all. So if one needs a genuine connection with somebody else, there is still no substitute for striking up a conversation with a real human being.