The bot era has officially begun. In a widely expected move, Facebook today announced tools for developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger, bringing a range of new functions to the popular communication app. Facebook believes Messenger can become a primary channel for businesses to interact with their customers, replacing 1-800 numbers with a mix of artificial intelligence and human intervention. If they are embraced by the general public — which is still far from certain — bots could represent a major new channel for commerce, customer support, and possibly even media.
Expect to see much more about this in the coming months and get ready to change how you interact with many services and businesses.
If you are a business or church or nonprofit or provide a service, it’s time to start thinking about messaging and bots.