Bots: Their Proliferation and Benefits

Bots are a hot topic nowadays. The basic AI units enable users to automate mundane tasks. Leave it to technology to make ordering pizza even easier, right? But we should still be excited for all the novelty.

Bots: What They Do Now

There are plenty of uses for bots. Most evident? Handling customer service. Bots can process simple requests much like those on the phone. This allows enterprises to cut down on “redundant” employees and aggravate customers worldwide. Yippee!

So what makes these bots noteworthy? Their availability. Platforms only began allowing bots onto their chat services. Facebook is probably the biggest example. Of course, the technological element is cursory for most services. Bots have existed for a long time. They now have enough sophistication, though, to express suggestions and follow basic orders. Shopping is the biggest incentive that most implementors see.   

Bots in Social Media: Currently an Extension of Shopping

It’s no secret social media accrues income through targeted ads. Bots are an amplification. Just as with ads, they can be omnipresent and offer options based off use history. However, they offer the same interactive payoff as regular chatting.

The power of bots is their convenience. Users seek them out because they are the quickest route to gratification. Mobile shopping is clunky compared to its potential. Oh sure, it’s come a long way since 2009. But there are still hurdles.

Bots: An Intuitive Enhancement

User interfaces are constantly improving. And as mobile use becomes more prolific so does mobile shopping. But how often have you switched in and out of apps? Or changed web pages?

Each of these steps loses businesses money. Online shoppers enjoy a reputation for frequency and enthusiasm. Patience? Not so much. Logic goes that each sales step loses customers. Some lack the time. Others lack the attention span. What they all share is a complete willingness to make a purchase…to a point. Enabling them before this “point of impatience” is critical to success. As Facebook envisions them, bots are the new first reference/prompt for online shopping.

Bots: What They are Turning Into

Customer demand is customer demand. Ditto for clients, duh. And all of them see something to love in bots. Platforms like Facebook may be satisfied with shopping. Other enterprises? Not so much. Consumers are even more eager. Make no mistake, the possibilities of bots is limited. But oh! What limitations!

Most significant, bots have the ability to automate lives. Theoretically, users can tweak their bot’s responses for a custom fit. More noteworthy is the work that bots can accomplish.This is the next pragmatic application of AI, after all. Bots can soon be compiling grocery lists, contacting business contacts, and more. All depends on the angle of demand and the arrival of innovation.

Demand and innovation are overlapping fast. Bots can do a number of things. Just check out this TechCrunch article. To name a few:

  • Order goods or food
  • Curate content
  • Monitor and report on the weather
  • Assist in running smart homes
  • Monitor the stock market, alert users, and make exchanges
  • Manage communication with other bots

Variety to Suit Demand

Bots have been around for awhile. Most of us are familiar with web crawlers and such. The best of these use bots. Ditto for services flooding user boards with inane comments and ads. Innovation is spurring new attention on bots. In 2014, bots of any real sophistication were a plaything of experimental programmers. Now they are the plaything of the public. The social impact may not be immediately evident. However, it is most assuredly there.

Anthony Quintano, Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas Bionic Bar

The Future, the Equanimity

So where are bots going? Everywhere we can think. Perhaps most significant, though, is their impact on business. Yawn-inducing as the topic can be, business is important. It employs, it empowers, it facilitates. People power is the greatest limitation on any business. The more people, the more capability. 

Bots enable nascent businesses to expand far more quickly. Artisans, marketers, and other persons who typically freelance can dedicate more time to work. Accountants can keep better informed. Managers can update themselves without even opening a mobile app.

Switching over between apps is more convenient than ever. These steps can also wear down the user. Bots require more input but less navigation. We are talking texts, after all, not just regular browsing and clicking/tapping.

All in all, the major gist is that bots enable. Businesses can do much more with much less. Expansion, logic goes, can become much more effortless. This is obviously important for the first world. Those in developing countries will reap more rewards, however.  

Bots: A Keystone for Development?

Bots are intrinsically software. They are intangible. Yet they replicate the workings of one of the world’s most expensive resources: people. More intrinsically, it replicates skilled labor that is completely fluent in English.

That may not be the biggest deal for native speakers.,It is a game changer for those without English skills. Put simply, bots enable non-native speakers to better engage their audience and potential markets. Automation is the bedrock of this improvement. All users can benefit from it. But the intrinsic fluentness is the greatest benefit. Unproficient with speaking a language but capable of reading it? Try using a bot to communicate.

Bots: Bridge Builders Rather Than the Bridge

Bots are bridge for communication. They also much more than that. Automation cuts down on tasks, yes. It also adds skills to the user’s repertoire. Bots curate. They play a pivotal role in outreach. They assist in mundane tasks.

The bots’ intricacy will always matter. As capabilities increase so too will AI’s role in the professional sphere. But how dependent will we become on AI? More pertinent, what will occupy our time instead?

Opportunity cost is an age old dilemma. Resource allocation and focus takes up the time of many a boardroom. It will be fascinating to see what enterprises do with the influx of cash. Whatever the profit margins, one thing is certain: bots are as awesome for growing businesses much as established ones.   

Bots’ Current Reception

Plenty of writers are… writing off bots. Of course, that article is from The National. Still, it shows an unwillingness to acknowledge this revolutionary tech. Perhaps intimidation is part of the blowback. Writers are monopolizing online communication. Yet more and more apps arrive that improve amateurs’ efforts. Using apps like Expresso allow us to perfect grammar, help with style, etc. This type of automation is dangerous for writers without ideas.

The same can said for service providers. Bots are a shortcut that manages customers at a fraction of the cost. The way we understand customer assistance is evolving. It’s rate of change is no longer dependent on means. Text will always feature prominently, be it via the Oculus Rift  or flip-phone. Makes sense, therefore, that bots are the true frontier.

As is, they enable growing organizations even as they benefit larger ones. Unfortunate that bots will also make lots of professions redundant. But such is the march of progress. We’re sure to hear their outrage on the net. God knows some bots will also respond.

Images courtesy of The Magic Tuba Pixie and Anthony Quintano via Creative Commons

Posted 7 years ago on 02 October 2017

About John Lion

John's interests include technology and social dynamics. He has significant experience writing copy for SaaS organizations. Reach him by emailing

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