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We Are Social: Chat Bots


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Curiosity Stop - The Social Innovation Roundup: Chat Bot Special

Published in: Social Media

We Are Social: Chat Bots

  1. 1. Curiosity Stop: The Social Innovation Roundup Chat Bot Special April 2016
  2. 2. Sephora on Kik > What’s it all about? After a new lipstick? Don’t bother trekking to your nearest makeup counter to try a disease-ridden sample… simply talk to the Sephora bot on Kik! The beauty brand recently arrived on the platform so it could hang out with its teen audience. Each user is given a quiz which personalises the bot’s response and recommendations (and provides plenty of data for the brand. Zing!) Like a product you’ve been recommended by the Sephora bot? Go ahead and buy it, without even leaving Kik. The lipstick path to purchase is littered with obstacles IRL. An unfriendly salesperson or the absence of a particular shade you were after will leave you (and the brand) empty-handed. Sephora on Kik ensures your shopping experience is as seamless (and disease-free) as can be.
  3. 3. TacoBot > What’s it all about? TacoBot is here to make your office lunch run that little bit easier. It’s launched on Slack, an instant-messaging service used for internal communications at companies. TacoBot allows hungry workers to order quickly, so you don’t even have to leave your desk (woohoo!). It helps you build your taco, and will understand if you want to change from chicken to beef at the last minute. As Lawrence Butler, director of digital innovation and on-demand for Taco Bell, puts it: “Taco Bell is about food tailor-made for social consumption with friends, and that’s why integrating with a social communications platform like Slack makes perfect sense. TacoBot is the next best thing to having your own Taco Bell butler… and who wouldn’t want that??" Mmm… taco butler. This bot sounds delicious.
  4. 4. Miss Piggy on Messenger > What’s it all about? 2015 was the Year of the Pig. First, Miss Piggy made headlines around the world when she split from long- term partner Kermit the Frog. She then went on to create an artificially intelligent version of herself for Facebook Messenger. What a mammal. Imperson worked closely with the writers at The Muppets Studio while building AI Miss Piggy. This way, the company ensured that talking to AI Miss Piggy feels just like talking to Miss Piggy IRL, sass and all. The venture has been a huge success, with some conversations reportedly lasting up to half an hour. Miss Piggy may be one of the first to get intimate with her adoring public (Imperson has also created an AI version of Doc Brown from Back to the Future), but we expect to see other characters popping up in the chat bot universe soon.
  5. 5. Quartz for iPhone > What’s it all about? Quartz gets that chat bots are entirely new (and artificial) beast to work with. If you want to create a chatty news app, you can’t just pull stories from your website and push them out to users. Using Quartz for iPhone is like having an ongoing conversation with your really bright mate. The app will text you news snippets, full of emojis and GIFs (obvs) but also serious stuff. If you want to hear more, you can just ask, or move on to the next story. You can also personalise what Quartz notifies you about, depending on what you’re into. Zach Seward, executive editor and VP of product, describes it as "somewhere between a 'choose your own adventure' interface, a chat with a friend, and a serious news briefing." The news is currently written by a bunch of journalists, rather than a robot. For now, anyway...
  6. 6. Insidious 3 on Kik > What’s it all about? The makers of Insidious 3 are bringing their main character to life, via messaging service Kik. You can message with Quinn Brenner, a girl who is holed up in bed with two broken legs. It starts off innocently enough, Quinn is just keen to talk to someone from the outside world. Then, things get intense. She believes she’s being haunted and needs your help. You can say whatever you want to Quinn, rather than having options to choose from. On the one hand this makes the experience feel more real, as if you’re texting your freaked-out friend. The creepy veneer does start to wear off if Quinn doesn’t understand what you’re saying, though. Insidious 3 on Kik is a great illustration of the potential for storytelling within chat bots. We’d read this one with the lights on, though.
  7. 7. Tay by Microsoft > What’s it all about? Oh, Tay. Tay, Tay, Tay. We’re sorry to say that you win the wooden spoon award at this year’s Chat Bot Awards. Tay was (she’s currently on a time out, thinking about what she’s done) Microsoft’s millennial chat bot - and therein lies the first mistake. Her Twitter bio reads: “Microsoft's A.I. fam from the internet that's got zero chill!” The stuff of parody accounts. The bio also reads: “The more you talk the smarter Tay gets.” The problem is that Microsoft presumed the world would tweet smart things to Tay. It did not. Multiple racist comments later, and Tay was put back in her box. Tay serves as a reminder of the dangers of artificial intelligence. The most worrying bit? The robots aren’ t the dangerous ones, we are.
  8. 8. Poncho > What’s it all about? Poncho is a weather bot located in Facebook Messenger, and it wants to be your friend. You can ask it questions like whether you should wear sunglasses today, or what the weather’s going to be like this weekend, and it will send you alerts up to twice a day, if you want. The ambition is for Poncho to be able to talk to you about anything light- hearted, like you would with a mate, but it has to be taught what to say first. CEO Sam Mandel wants to protect his bot from being corrupted like poor, impressionable Tay (see previous slide), so Poncho can give someone a 24 hour time out for being rude, aggressive or trying to embarrass it. You go, Poncho.