Building Bot Bodies
Bots are big news and are becoming big business. If you believe the hype, they may overtake apps as the primary way people interact with Web services. Even if that doesn't happen, it is clear that Bots are going to be a key way people interact with the services and devices on the Internet - and that means your company.
As foreseen by thought leaders like Brenda Laurel in the early 90s, a great deal of the current focus is around what are typically called chatbots. These are conversational interfaces typically accessed through a text messaging service. From Twitter, to Facebook Messenger, to Skype, to SMS, and even directly on your device, these chatbots present a virtual personality to visitors. Type or say something, and the chatbot will answer back, hopefully in a meaningful way.
This input and output, though, is just the tip of the iceberg. While it is a significant task to receive text or voice input and have the system respond back in text or voice, if that I/O is not hooked up to other systems of agency for the Bot, then the Bot is nothing more than a novelty.
Those systems of agency are what we call a "Bot Body." It is not a body in a physical or even visual sense, but rather an information body that lets the Bot truly understand and interact with its universe.
At the highest level, an effective Bot needs to:
The Bot Body lies not only in each of these parts, but but also in the connective tissue through which these parts interact, thereby forming a whole entity. It is important, though, to not place human limitations on the Bot Body. For example, a human has a single set of options for each of these elements, but a Bot, especially one living in the cloud, can live a parallel life. It can sense audio, video, text, location, temperature, motion and other inputs from multiple locations simultaneously, use its own local faculties for parsing and understanding or farm out portions of its input processing to 3rd parties, access its own context store about its user or leverage services like Facebook, and act on the user's behalf simply by replying by speech on the original input device or by sending a gift to a friend halfway around the world.
The best kind of Bots are agents for the user, extending their power to give them both omnipresence and telepresence - bringing the world to them and letting them act in the world. Like J.A.R.V.I.S. from Iron Man.
So, why don't we see more of these kind of compelling Bots in the market? Because creating them is time-intensive, expensive, and difficult. Novelty chatbots are a dime a dozen, but Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant don't have many rivals.
Solving this value equation is exactly why we built MT-One. At its core, MT-One is a platform that let's you build powerful Bot Bodies quickly, affordably, and easily. Next time, we will go into more detail on exactly how we do it. In the mean time, please get in touch and let's work together to make it happen for your customers!