Five Indian start-ups using bots in different ways


Bengaluru: It is safe to say that bots, software programs that are used to automate tasks, are the flavour of the season. Even, the zeitgeist, if you will.

Facebook opened up its Messenger platform with 900 million users for bots. Messaging platform Slack, the darling of the enterprise start-up world, announced an $80 million fund for start-ups developing bots on its platform. Kik Messenger and Telegram, two other messaging platforms too opened up for bots.

Although bots have been around for a while in some form or the other, there are two reasons why chat bots, bots that can emulate human conversations, have come to the fore right now.

Firstly, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, two technologies that lend a human-like intelligence to bots are more accessible for developers than ever. Secondly, with smartphone users facing app fatigue, chat bots offer an easier user interface via apps that most people already have and use on their phones, without the need to download multiple apps.

Facebook and their ilk want to make use of this opportunity and emulate the success of apps like WeChat in China, which initially started out as a messaging app but morphed into a platform where users can do everything from sending money, interacting with brands and even finding dates.

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