Friday Buzz: Could Bots Replace Apps?
Artificial intelligence programs, particularly those used through chat mechanisms, may give apps a run for their money. Plus: why donors are reluctant to give twice.
While apps have sat comfortably atop the digital throne for the better part of a decade, their reign is being challenged by the next innovation of digital tools: chatbots.
These programs, rooted in artificial intelligence, help users complete mundane tasks, like ordering lunch or organizing a meeting, through simple commands. It’s a concept that programmers are interested in and major tech companies are already jumping on. The tech site Product Hunt, for example, frequently features new types of bots on its front page. Generally, users communicate with bots through chat tools like Slack and Facebook Messenger.
Microsoft released several bot prototypes at a conference at the end of March, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce an online shop and coding tools for bots on April 12, according to The Economist.
Bots make life easier for users by getting rid of the downloading process, and they may make more business sense for developers, given the high cost of app development. “The dream of the independent developer building a business in the app store is over,” consulting agency Activate told The Economist.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, as Microsoft’s recent bot fiasco illustrates. But there’s no denying that chatbots are looking like the next big thing.
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