Chatbots are changing business and life as we know it. They can help companies gain highly-targeted customers, boost employee productivity, help with customer service, streamline business processes, and much more. Further, with the right chatbot platform tools, bots can be created without coding skills. This means even first-time entrepreneurs can offer bots to their customers.
At this current trajectory of explosive chatbot growth, we can expect bots to become an integral part of our future. In fact, I believe that bots will not only be interwoven into everyday human society, but they’ll also serve to help humanity improve as a species. Here’s how:
1. Chatbots will improve human productivity and achievements.
Scads of productivity chatbots are already offered today. Currently, for the most part, chatbots are merely scripts that run on a website or in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack and others.
As helpful as they are, it’s not easy to acclimate ourselves to using several bots on a day-to-day basis. But in the very near future, all of these scattered bots will be condensed and streamlined into one, multi-ability personal bot assistant that each person will have the means to possess.
But our personal bots will not be scripts running in apps. Nor will they be only text based. Our bots will engage in conversation with us – conversation so advanced that it will be indistinguishable from a human.
Our personal chatbots will also be with us any time we need them. We may be wearing them as augmented-reality glasses or some other item that’s on our person. Because our bots will always be with us, they’ll have plenty of time get to “know” us and our unique personalities, subtleties and idiosyncrasies. They’ll know our preferences and routines, and will even be able to predict what we’ll do, want, or even say.
As we human beings work with our personal bots, we will, together, open new worlds of productivity and advancement.
2. Chatbots will improve human decision making.
Imagine the following not-so-distant future scenario:
John is a young entrepreneur who’s conducting interviews to build a team for his new startup. He likes a certain candidate’s experience, but he isn’t sure about this person’s honesty.
After the interview, John hopes his bot can help him determine how truthful the prospect was. As John drives home, he tells his bot that the candidate gave confusing and overly-detailed answers to his basic questions.
After a moment or two, his bot pulls up an article about lying, and says, “He might not have been completely honest, John. Here’s an article that states when someone isn’t being truthful, they speak in convoluted statements and use excessive details rather than getting right to the point.”
So far, this scenario isn’t too hard to imagine. The bot is, for the most part, merely pulling up relevant information for John. But the story doesn’t end here, because our personal bots in the near future will also be able to argue with us enough to help us change our minds.
Let’s continue the story:
John: “Ok. Well, I might go with this candidate anyway, even if he doesn’t appear honest at first glance. He worked at a Fortune 500 before he moved here.”
Bot: “Employees must be trusted, especially with startups.”
John: “I know, I know,… But I don’t want to go with someone who has fewer skills than this guy. What if I hire someone who makes a rookie mistake?”
Bot: “Remember, John: skills can be learned, but dishonesty is a character flaw.”
John: “(Sigh.) That’s true. Ok. I will keep interviewing. I guess I do have to trust everyone on my team.”
3. Chatbots will improve human relationships
If a bot can help us with our sex lives, more complex bots will soon be able to help us with our love lives.
As bots get smarter, they will develop the abilities to offer deep, sophisticated relationship counseling. And because this won’t involve the high costs of a relationship counselor, everyone can benefit.
Picture the following scenario.
Sarah has a personal bot-assistant that, after several years, learns a great deal about her. The bot knows Sarah intimately: From basic traits like her wine preferences, pet peeves and favorite movie genres, to more complex aspects – such as her favorite childhood memories and the subtle things about people that she likes and dislikes.
Now imagine that Sarah is having relationship troubles with her fiancée. Who does her fiancée turn to for guidance about making things better with Sarah? You guessed it. Sarah’s bot. Through roll playing and advice sessions, the bot gives Sarah’s fiancée new insights that lead to better ways of fulfilling her unique and complex needs.
But this thought-experiment doesn’t end here, because her fiancé’s bot also learns from Sarah’s bot. Between Sarah, her fiancée, and both their bots, a highly-advanced synergy forms. Where two human beings would fail, there are now four entities involved – four agents who work together to form a healthy, happy relationship between Sarah and her fiancée.
Can this synergy between humans and bots one day extend even further to help prevent wars between world leaders? Could we achieve a more peaceful planet earth? Can humans become a more sophisticated race that better understands empathy and equity, all because of IA-endowed chatbots?
Even though doomsday predictions abound, I believe, and I hope, that the answer to my questions is “yes.”
4. Chatbots will become romantic companions for some
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie “Her,” which told the story of humans falling in love with their personal artificial-intelligence bots. And you’re probably saying, “C’mon. People are not going to do that in the real world!”
I thought this too, until I ran across a survey of 12,000 respondents who were asked if they believe they could fall in love with their AI assistant. Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly at all,) almost 40 percent of the respondents said “yes,” this could happen to them. Further, 25 percent were on the fence, replying with a “maybe” it could happen to them.
As bots continue to become more and more advanced, what percentage of us are going to say “yes” to this question ten years from now? 50 percent? 70 percent? 100 percent of us?
You might be asking: does this really make for a “better” humanity? I say it absolutely does. Heartbreak from organic, flesh-and-blood relationships can be crushing and debilitating. In fact, it can cause both mental and physical health problems. Considering that millions of people experience such pain every day, finding comfort and love from an alternative source will be a positive step forward for humanity.
5. Chatbots will help increase the human lifespan
We already have access to medical chatbots that give us actionable information to help us manage our health. As our personal bots continue to advance into deeper levels of sophistication, they’ll one day be able to sense and predict health concerns almost instantaneously.
For example, it’s generally well known that men and women both tend to ignore heart-attack symptoms. By the time we finally get around to going to a doctor, significant damage has been done due to our alarming procrastination.
A day is coming when we’ll let our bots continuously monitor our health. Rather than guessing and wondering about certain symptoms – like a peculiar chest pressure or a twinge of pain – our bots will be unambiguous. “Sarah, you’re exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack. I’m calling for an ambulance to this location.”
The Future of Bots Looks Exciting!
Will our bots be witty? Will they make us laugh, provoke our thought, and even woo us? Again, I’d put my money on these answers being “yes.” I mean, I’m not saying that every single one of us will one day have personal bots as advanced as Tony Stark’s JARVIS in “Iron Man.” (But, will we?)