For sure companies have tried to use computer programming as an interface in a variety of human interactions.
This is quite a bit more intelligent than what you’d experience in an interactive phone system at some big company. This is about having a conversation with a computer – about buying your next pair of shoes, shopping for an airline ticket or something else.
Facebook’s Messenger service is going to get very intelligent, as reported by the NY Times:
The experience is akin to chatting with a friend, “the one whose taste you always trust while you’re shopping,” said Alan Tisch, chief executive of Spring.
There’s just one thing: The entity on the other end talking to you and helping you choose the shoes is not human. It is a chatbot, a relatively simple piece of software that uses artificial intelligence to carry on a conversation.
While chatbots have been around for some time — think of SmarterChild, the friendly buddy that was popular on AOL Instant Messenger more than a decade ago — companies are now increasingly betting that a grand bot resurgence is coming, one that will change the way people interact with their most beloved brands.