Chatbots? What are they and what can you do with them?

Chatbots are big news in Silicon Valley right now. “Bots are the new apps!”said Microsoft chief Satya Nadella recently, Facebook’s just announced a large collection, while Wired’s latest article on the subject puts the phrase “post-app internet” right up in the headline.

FBChatbot

Great. But what can you actually do with them?

In the short term, many chatbots are basically

glorified search boxes. It’s very early days, judging by the first wave of Facebook Messenger bots, which launched its chatbot platform this week.

I’ve been chatting to six of them, and most provide information and links in response to keywords and/or selections from multiple-choice menus.

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