Facebook Messenger Bots

Bots & AI; Changing the Future of Engagement in the Digital World

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Bots have recently seen a surge in the digital realm, incorporating highly intricate systems that feature built-in learning capabilities.

AI and bots have recently become integrated into the digital age, allowing for systems to be produced that are helping to bridge the gap between digital consumers and advancing technologies. Bots are the latest digital advance, effectively a computer programme that’s designed to mimic human conversation, using AI to analyse conversation and programme itself to give a conversational response (essentially, the computer programme is learning how to talk). A range of consumer-based companies are using Bots as they act as a direct passage for companies to interact directly with consumers.

Consumers are able to do a range of things including order flowers, order a taxi and find out the daily weather forecast, all without leaving the same app. Fundamentally, Bots are changing the need for users to download individual apps. Instead of closing your app to order and Uber, you can use the Facebook Messenger Bot to order a taxi direct to your location without having to leave the messaging app.

The latest piece of AI to be released for the consumer is the Amazon Echo; a device that enables users to manage services within their home through a voice-recognition AI system. It’s one of the first of its kind in smart home appliances that allows for a connected home and works beyond simple tasks like playing music or turning on a light. It uses an artificial intelligence assistant app called Alexa to allow users to access the information and services of the internet and control personal organisation tools. The voice recognition service, Alexa – probably her most notable feature – is that she is linked to the cloud, and as she is used more widely she will pick up on trends and fundamentally learn speech patterns and build new voice experiences, it’s through this technology that makes the Amazon Echo one of the most innovative of its kind.

AI, Amazon Echo
Credit: Venturebeat

The emergence of Amazon Echo is a great leap forward in the rise of the connected home, which is inevitable as we have started to peel away from PCs and mobile devices to the era of the internet of things when computer chips will be in objects all around us. Echo is arguably the first successful product to bridge that gap. It’s working voice recognition service and connected sensors essentially link your home to a marketplace supply chain that will in time help users to meet all their designated needs.

But voice-recognition isn’t an entirely new concept. It seems a long time ago now, but back in 2011 Apple Inc announced the release of Siri, the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. Taking the world by storm, Siri used, and to this day still uses, a natural language user interface to answer questions, making recommendations and also performing actions by delegating requests to the internet. Once again, one of the most intriguing features was its ability to adapt to a user’s specific style of language, creating that interpersonal and unique feeling to each user.

One of the latest piece of innovative technologies to come out of Apple Inc.’s technology factory is the Airpod, a set in in-ear headphones that require no cable. The rechargeable headphones don’t have any physical buttons, but still maintains the ability for the user to interact with their iPhone and the likes of Siri. Through the voice recognition of Siri and the Airpod’s, users will be able to send money, make calls, reply to a Whatsapp message as well as controlling a range of other features that utilise the advanced technology that is Siri.

AI & Bots; Airpods
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Much to this dismay of many, AI doesn’t have the capabilities to grow two-legs out of a computer screen and begin taking over the world. Instead, biologically inspired systems have enabled the development of systems that are advanced in speech recognition, image recognition and natural language processing, which has helped bridge the gap between humans and computers.

The last decade has seen sports teams use increased technology from analysing player performance, reducing injury and ranging data analytics. As teams, staff and coaches constantly seek, and strive for the best possible results, data analysis and new advanced technologies such as AI will provide key opportunities for teams to capitalise on. As sports athletes become bigger, stronger, faster and better combined with the latest technology innovations, the age of connected sports is upon us for all involved.

AI’s machine learning abilities allow sports teams to utilise its monitoring and predictive capabilities and incorporate the technology allowing coaches to make educated decisions based on multi-level analysis that is reported from a range of different factors. Going beyond simplistic analytics, AI technology has the ability to gather specific information that can further evaluate an individual’s unique stats and can provide a greater probable estimation upon a player’s performance.

In September 2015, Chinese social networking platform Baidu released Duer. Using the latest innovations of AI, Baidu created a personal assistant that can produce machine generated, real-time commentaries for the just passed Olympic basketball games in Rio, Brazil. After analysing thousands of hours of NBA basketball, and thanks to basketballs nature of being highly stat and data orientated, Duer can give live commentaries in natural language as well as sending GIF’s and specific user comments; if users have any burning questions about specific players, Duer is able to give player specific commentary. It’s evident that AI is making indents on sport and as the technology progresses, no doubt its position within sports will grow with an increased need for data analytics and data projection via the like of Duer.

The latest piece of AI ingenuity has come from Google, with Google Allo; a messaging app that allows users to take part in conversations not only with friends but with Google Assistant. A key feature is the ‘Smart Reply’ that follows the human conversation taking place and makes educated suggestions dependent on what is being said. Furthermore, dependent on the user’s unique conversation style, Google Allo is able to customise its suggested response so that its tailored directly to you.

The app from Google Inc. has seemingly encaptured features from other messaging and social media platforms such as Snapchat; enabling users to take photos and customise and alter them with drawing capabilities and stickers. Google Allo has combined AI with messaging, a feature that is used by all demographics and integrated essentially a Bot into everyday life. Chatbots have found a way into legal standings, as shown with ‘the world’s first robot lawyer’. Using AI, DoNotPay helps users contest their parking tickets in an easy conversational format.

Bots in sport is still a relatively new kid on the block since Facebook announced the creation of ‘chatbots’ but a handful have been made including Manchester City’s messenger bot and ‘theScore’ chatbot. The idea of chatbots stands as the peak audience engagement, with direct communication and access to supporters and viewers, which in time can work as a commercial success for teams and brands. Needless to say, Bots have taken off and it’s only a matter of time before we implement them into our everyday lives, after a reported 11,000 bots have already been created, with many more still to come.

‘theScore’ chatbot acts as a news platform for subscribers, similar to the likes of any sports news publication with breaking news, in-game stats as well as plenty more, and plays off one of the main aspects of messenger bots; that you need not leave the app to find out information.

With pretty limited capabilities, Manchester City’s messenger bot acts as you most likely think it would. Those who subscribe to football clubs chatbot will be able to receive updates on features such as; ‘Pep talk’, transfer news as well as matchday features including video highlights, photos and ranging information regarding the team. Diego Gigliani, senior vice-president of media and innovation at City Football Marketing said; “Messaging apps are on the path to becoming one of the most important ways of delivering content directly into fans’ hands and we wanted City fans to be the first to benefit from this experience on Facebook Messenger.”

Though early on in developments, chatbots have the ability to communicate directly to fans, supporters, and consumers. Chatbots allow teams and brands to interact directly with their target markets and can further allow for commercial success. In time to come, as and when chatbots and AI become further integrated and advanced, and as we are well enveloped within the digital age and the coming of the digital sports fan. AI and chatbots currently act as the latest innovation that transcends with digital supporters and will no doubt be incorporated further with teams and brands.

Feature Image Credit: Mashable