3 Lessons From The ChatBots Conference

Robot shoesToday, I spoke at the first The ChatBots Conference, put on by the folks at Chatbot's Life. As I listened to the presentations throughout the day, there were a number of useful lessons and interesting use cases. And we saw these awesome robot shoes -- thanks Alison Darcy of Woebotsfor the spunky reminder that we're all standing at a crossroads. 
For those who were unable to attend, here's the top three things to consider: 
  1. Augmented Intelligence
    Developers are beginning to consider how people and computers can best work together - that is, the difference between augmented intelligence and artificial intelligence. This begins to show how economies will emerge, and jobs will change. One of the most interesting conversations we had was with Rachel Sklar cofounder and CCO of Her bot is a parent counseling companion that does the stuff computers do better than people, such as steady reminders, precise timing and the photographic memory. Another example of augmented intelligence driven by bots is the cancer care assistant built by Robin Care ( They offer, "Human touch amplified by technology," again doing stuff humans aren't great at, like collecting lots of little pieces of information, automatically updating it and collating it together into sorted lists.

  2. Deploy Now, Not Later 
    On the panel titled, "Brands & Enterterprise in The Bot Space" it was pointed out that enterprises can't wait to start deploying bots as a means of customer interaction. The sooner you deploy a bot, the easier it's going to be to understand your users, improve the system, improve production methods, etc. And obviously the inverse is true: the longer you wait the harder it will be to get that going - user data is most valuable commodity. It was mentioned that this requires a brand be brave and to pave the way by not only trying something new but actually being the market data. This means that the court business quality is, simply, quality. The ROI follows a quality build that serves customers.

  3. We Need Industry Standards
    There were many approaches to not just bots, but also the hard problems bots are composed of. Like of natural language processing. Unfortunately it seems as if everybody was busy building their own version, and so the need for consensus and open source community engagement seems evident. Collaboration is more sensible than competition, especially with such advanced technologies, so there is clearly a market need for open toolsets and ways in which companies can collaborate to build better conversational interfaces.
These conferences and communities are so important as we continue to navigate the maze of options in this space. Let's all keep the conversation going! If you have questions, get in touch. If we don't know, we'll help you get connected to someone who does.