It’s impossible to discuss the rapid impact of technology on business without mentioning bots. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to evolve, bots will become even more intelligent and capable of handling more complex tasks and interactions. They will play an essential part in business by automating tasks, improving customer service, and boosting efficiency. With nearly every company utilizing bots in one way or another, what does the future hold for bots in business?
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Thomas Helfrich, Expert in intelligent automation and Artificial Intelligence Innovation systems – “Bots and Their Role in Business”
Usher in the Bots
As innovation continues to come up trumps in this new age of business, bots have become more ubiquitous as businesses of all sizes can incorporate them into their operations. They play various roles, such as automating tasks and processes and freeing employees to focus on more important tasks. But before we dive even deeper, what is a bot?
A bot is a software application that has been programmed to perform automated tasks that would otherwise be difficult for humans to perform. Typically, bots are built to imitate human behaviors and operate faster than a human user would. They are designed to carry out repetitive tasks while running on programmed instructions. Businesses are utilizing the goldmine available to them through bots to bridge gaps. For example, a bot might automatically purchase items from an online store or automatically generate customer service responses.
History of Bots
While bots have been used in a variety of ways to carry out a wide range of purposes, the first-ever bot was created in the 1960s by Joseph Weizenbaum, an MIT professor. Weizenbaum’s bot, Eliza, was designed to imitate human conversation using pattern matching and substitution methods. It used a script that simulated a psychotherapist. The script proved to have a significant impact on natural language processing and unnatural intelligence. Eliza was so successful that it is still used today in some customer service applications.
By the early 2000s, bots began to gather momentum with the rise of instant messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger, as these services allowed users to communicate in real-time with friends and family members who also use the same service.
Bots were also used to create automated messages, or “spam,” which would be sent to large groups of people to sell a product or service. This type of bot activity led to the development of anti-spam measures like CAPTCHA, which is still used today to verify that a user is human.
As bots have become more sophisticated, they have also been used for more nefarious purposes, such as spreading malware or launching denial-of-service attacks. However, there are also many positive uses for bots, such as helping people with disabilities communicate or providing customer service.
Types of Bots
There are many different types of bots, each with its own purpose and capabilities. Some of the more popular types of bots include:
Chatbots are used to simulate conversations with human users. They are commonly used in customer service applications to help resolve simple issues or questions. They are sometimes used to entertain users.
Voicebots are chatbots that use voice recognition and natural language processing to understand and respond to user questions. They are commonly used in smart home devices and virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
- Spam bots
Spam bots are designed to send spam messages, often for commercial purposes. They are typically used to mass-send promotional material or advertisements to a large number of people.
- Web crawlers
Web crawlers are bots that browse the World Wide Web to collect data about websites. Search engines commonly use them to index websites and track links.
- Social bots
These are bots used to automatically generate messages, act as followers of users, or even as fake accounts to gain followers themselves. Identifying social bots can be difficult as their behavior is similar to that of a real user.
How Bots Work
Bots are designed to operate over a network to communicate through the use of internet-based services. Bots are built to operate on algorithms to help them carry out tasks and achieve various results. Bots have different methods of operation, and a chatbot is a good example.
They could either be operated through rule-based interactions where the bot provides pre-defined prompts so the user can select them. In cases where the bot is programmed to be intellectually independent, machine learning is used to learn from humans or by searching for known keywords. AI-driven chatbots can use natural language processing and generation tools and a combination of rule-based interaction and machine learning.
The Benefits of Bots in Business
The more innovative bots get, the more businesses will benefit from them when adopted. Some of the benefits bots afford businesses include;
- Bots can be used to automate simple tasks and processes, leading to businesses saving time and money.
- Bots can improve customer service by providing quick, efficient responses to common inquiries.
- Bots can gather useful data and insights about your customers and their needs. Using bots can free up your staff to focus on more important tasks, making your business more efficient and effective.
- Businesses can use bots in many ways, such as automating customer service tasks, providing recommendations and suggestions, and helping to promote products and services.
- Bots can help improve engagement with customers and prospects and provide valuable data and insights that can be used to make informed marketing and other decisions.
Bots in Business
Companies are increasingly turning to bots to automate various tasks as the capabilities of bots continue to grow exponentially. Bots can be used for varying tasks, including customer service, data entry, and even sales.
In customer service, bots can handle simple tasks, such as providing information about a product or service. They can also handle more complex tasks, such as responding to customer inquiries or managing customer complaints.
For data entry purposes, bots can be used to automate entering data into a company’s system. This can save a significant amount of time and money, reducing the need for human data entry operators. Sales bots can be used to contact potential customers and provide them with information about a product or service. They can also be used to follow up with customers after a sale has been made.
Bots are certain to continue evolving and be used in multiple ways. As with every technology, bots can be used positively or negatively, so it is important to be aware of the potential risks of bots and not forget the many positive applications that bots can provide.