I was at an event about Kik last week in NYC. People were really excited and, from the questions from the audience, it’s obvious that many people are eager to enter this space. Everybody talks about Facebook Messenger but I wouldn’t underestimate Kik, they have big plans involving virtual currency, chat bots and retailers.
This week was all about Tay. Summary: Microsoft launches an AI Twitter bot that learns from conversations, 4chan guys teach him to be racist, Microsoft shuts it down, apologizes and plans to put it back online soon with some adjustments. The mainstream will remember this when you talk to them about bots. And that is not a good thing.
Excellent report on the state of social media in Asia where, as we all know by now, is dominated by Messaging. It also provides a glimpse into the way WeChat, LINE and KakaoTalk work, which is something we’ll be seeing come to the western world soon. The VP of Messaging Products at Facebook seems to agree: “Messaging is really, truly the next frontier…The Asian paradigm has shown there’s a there there”.
Network effects: ON. At a small scale, we were surprised first-hand by the network effects of chatbots: our experimental Telegram bot reached 120k users organically in a month. Why? Effective share mechanics in our bot, the multiplying effect of chat groups and the inherent frictionless nature of chatbots.
Slack has big plans, and it is inevitable that some of their upcoming features will conflict with existing bots. We don’t know what they will build yet, but my bet is that they are working towards status updates, employee reports, video calls, channel summarization, internal FAQs and wikis, cross-slack communication, staff directories and more. With time, more and more bots will be competing one to one against the platform itself.
Informal proposal of the rules that should govern bots, evolving from The Three Laws of Robotics by Asimov. A bot’s mission: “A bot’s mission is to make human life better, to provide a helping hand, and to do so proficiently and courteously”.