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2016 - The year of the bot

2016 has seen a surge of announcements about AI and bots. Google’s bot beat a “Go” champion, Microsoft released and retracted a twitter bot (TAY chatbot), and have a successful Chinese bot (Xiaolce)

Yesterday, Microsoft released a bot development framework. It was done at a developer conference, and the tools are targeted at programmers.
Bot Framework Preview

The Bot Framework is targeted at developers who want to create a new service with a great bot interface or enable an existing service with a great bot interface.

Developers writing a bot all face the same problems: bots require basic I/O, they must have language and dialog skills, and they must connect to users – preferably in any conversation experience and in any language the user chooses. The Bot Framework provides tools to address these problems while also providing a way for users to discover, try, and add bots to the conversation experiences they love via the Bot Directory.

Additionally, as a participant in the Bot Framework, your bot will also be enabled with automatic translation, user and conversation state management, a web chat control, and debugging tools including the Bot Framework Emulator.

It will take a programmer to use the new Microsoft tools. But, the most interesting development is the focus by Microsoft and Satya Nadella’s proclamation that bots are the future.

The top technology companies have either launched a bot or have announced AI tools. Although we have a long way to go before every program uses a conversational AI, 2016 may be the start of something big.

Many of the lessons learned by bot developers will now need to be integrated into a rash of new bots spawned on the net.


  [ # 1 ]

Besides Skynet-AI and the many bots you can find on, there are a number of AI’s/tools already available in the wild.

Artificial Intelligence On Your Phone:

  Siri: Part of Apple’s iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Intelligent personal assistant.
  Cortana: Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant. Designed for Windows mobile but now on Android and a limited version runs on Apple iOS. Also works on desktops and Xbox One.
  Google Now: Available within Google Search mobile app for Android and iOS as well as the Google Chrome web browser on other devices. Delegates requests to web services powered by Google.

Artificial Intelligence From The Cloud:

Really most all of the AI on your phone and desktops is communicating with cloud services, so keep in mind most solutions are a blend that highly leverage cloud capabilities. But we needed a place to talk about Echo and Watson and soon many others, so:

  Watson: A technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of data.
  Echo: The device you buy is mostly a speaker and microphone with some commodity IT to connect it to the cloud. The real smarts come from Amazon Web Services.

For Personal and Business Use:

  Gluru: Organize your online documents, calendars, emails and other data and have AI present you with new insights and actionable information. Let AI coordinate schedules for you. Your own personal scheduler.
  CrystalKnows: Using AI to help you know the best way to communicate with others.
  RecordedFuture: Leverages natural language processing at massive scale in real time to collect and understand over 700,000 web sources to seek understanding.
  Tamr: Unique approaches to Big Data leveraging machine learning.
  LegalRobot: Automating legal document review in ways that can serve people and businesses.
  Intraspexion: Uses Deep Learning as the core of an early warning system to investigate and prevent potential litigation.
  EverLaw: The power of mobile, machine learning and cloud computing delivered as a SaaS.

Artificial Intelligence For Developers:

  Vicarious: Building the next generation of AI algorithms.
  Soar is a general cognitive architecture for developing systems that exhibit intelligent behavior. is a service with easy to use, open templates for a variety of advanced AI workloads.
  Jade: Java Agent Development Framework. Simplifies multi-agent system development.
  Protege: A free, open-source ontology editor and framework for building intelligent systems. Build smarter machine learning/AI applications that are fast and scalable.
  Seldon: An open, enterprise-grade machine learning platform that adds intelligence to organizations.
  SigOpt: Run experiments and make better products with less trial and error.
  Scaled Inference: Cloud based models and an inference engine to help in model selection.
  OpenCV: Open source computer vision, a library of programming functions aimed mainly at computer vision.



  [ # 2 ]

So, Tay’s failure has either been the best or the worst marketing for Microsoft’s chatbot tool release: Either everyone is now convinced that they could make a better chatbot than Tay, or everyone is convinced that if they use Microsoft’s tools they’ll end up with a racist swearing chatbot too.
Comprehensive post, by the way.


  [ # 3 ]
Don Patrick - Mar 31, 2016:

So, Tay’s failure has either been the best or the worst marketing for Microsoft’s chatbot tool release.

It is clearly the former- Tay has demonstrated the present ability of an MS bot to leverage BigData in real time on Twitter (at approx 1 tweet per second).  Imagine the social engineering aspects of running specifically tuned bots (via ‘persona management’)  in “comment” sections of popular media around the globe in real time.



  [ # 4 ]

Our take on the future of #chatbots:


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