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Google could unveil chat bot initiative at I/O today

Bots, bots, bots! Silicon Valley is going crazy over bots. In particular, chat bots, software designed to mimic conversations with real humans. And now Google is jumping on the bandwagon.
By
May 18, 2016
machine learning ai artificial intelligence

Bots, bots, bots! Silicon Valley is going crazy over bots. In particular, chat bots, software designed to mimic conversations with real humans.

And now Google is jumping on the bandwagon.

According to a report from The Information, Google may launch a new chat bot initiative at Google I/O today. Google is reportedly developing tools for developers to create their own chat bots that live inside large messaging platforms like Facebook’s Messenger or Google’s own Hangouts.

Rather than just create its own bots, Google wants to create a platform that other parties can use to build bots for their own needs. If bots are the next big platform, Google wants to be a dominant player.

You’re probably wondering what’s so exciting about chat bots. And the truth is the current batch of bots isn’t that impressive. First of all, they are mostly biz-oriented. And they are not very smart. You can “talk” to a chat bot that sells concert tickets or hotel reservations. The bot may understand your request if you spell it out carefully, but, veer off the script and you’ve got yourself a very confused piece of artificial intelligence.

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But that’s just the beginning. Taco Bell’s grub ordering bot may seem kinda smart now, but it will look positively stupid in just a few years. And that’s thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence.

In fact, chat bots are just a convenient conduit for AI to interact with humans. And Google is all about AI.

Which brings us back to The Information’s report. Sources claim Google will give developers access to its impressive set of AI tools, including voice recognition and natural language processing and limited access to Google Now. That should make it easier for developers to bootstrap bot projects.

What’s in it for Google? It’s quite simple. Like with mobile ten years ago, Google needs to ensure it controls the way people search for and access information. Its competitors are formidable: Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon, to name just a few.

We’ll find out exactly what Google has in mind for AI and chat bots in just a few hours. Stay tuned for more.