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Facebook is building Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its Messenger application. This move acts as a further testament to AI driven chat bots being the future. The AI-powered chat-bots will allow companies to benefit from software that has the ability to engage in lifelike text exchanges with users. The company wants this to become the go-to option when users are looking for goods and services, which means they will sidestep searching via Google, hitting all search engines hard.
To understand this better, it is first imperative to know what ‘bots’ are. This is a type of software that is infused with the capability to ‘learn’ from conversations. A chatbot will essentially mimic a conversation that a person would have by using Artificial Intelligence. AI is the theory and development of computer systems so that they have the ability to carry out tasks that would typically require human intelligence, for example, translation between languages, decision-making, speech recognition, and visual perception. There are lots of tools using AI now, like PDFsearch. Experts believe that it is possible for bots to be created that could actually be better than real people when it comes to natural language text conversations.
Bots can completely alter the way people interact with the web, going from a collection of self-initiated actions to a quasi-conversation. For example, without a chatbot, a user may head to weather.com to discover the forecast, which would require them to then enter their post code. However, with a bot, all the user needs to do is send a chat asking for a ‘3-day forecast’ or the ‘current conditions’, for example, and the bot will reply with the answer. This makes the process a lot easier and eliminates the need to search online.
At present, AI is already used in Facebook Messenger to filtering out spam texts, suggest recipients for messaging, and recognize faces in pictures. The owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has said that he has aims for Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence to be able to understand what is in news articles, videos, and pictures, and to then use this information to recommend content to Facebook users. The company is also set to provide bot building technology and AI for developers around the world so that they can use the Messenger app to direct people to their products in the way that we just showed you with the weather example. When you consider the fact that there are already 900 million users of the Facebook Messenger app around the globe, you see the monumental potential of this.
This would essentially represent a whole new era of targeted advertising for businesses, as it would mean that Facebook may give brands the ability to contact you independently via their messaging app. These bots would appear on your Messenger contact list, just like your friends do. From reading the news to booking a plane ticket, anything would be possible, and Facebook aims for it to be a rich interactive experience instead of the question and response bots that are available elsewhere.
What do you think about Facebook’s use of AI?