A Happily Ever After for Chatbots & Messaging Apps?

On the aftermath of their debut on messaging apps, chatbots have been at the epicenter of an ongoing conversation about personalisation. Why did this collaboration happen? And how far will this go? It’s time to take a deep dive.

In the ’60s, renowned media analyst Marshall McLuhan argued that the ‘Medium is the message’. He was certain that it had a role in shaping and controlling “the scale and form of human association and action” up to an extent. According to this theory, the medium embeds itself onto anything it transmits, and it directly influences the way the actual message is perceived. It tries to be an extension of our senses, expanding our ability to perceive and interact with the world.

Today, about half a century later, the medium becomes an acceptable form of human interaction – say hello to your messaging apps. As of last year, there were 1 billion users (14% of the world’s population) on WhatsApp. And combined with the users on Messenger, there are 60 billion messages – text, video, recordings that are sent and received each day. Where else would businesses find a better level of engagement?

In a recent survey conducted by Facebook, participants who could chat with retailers on these messaging platforms, be it on transactions, inquiries, or post sales services, felt more positive about the business. Commerce became a personal affair. McLuhan was right, and is still right – The impact of messaging does lie on the medium.

It’s been almost 20 years, and why haven’t businesses been largely successful harnessing these platforms yet? Because until chatbots came along in 2016, businesses marketing themselves via messaging apps were oblivious to one philosophy/brand of personalisation – ‘If not human, be humane.’

Ever since they entered the market, chatbots on messaging platforms have been hit. They are having a positive impact on businesses, as more industries are jumping aboard the ‘personalisation’ bandwagon. Now, what is the next step? What does the future behold for this eclectic union? Here are 3 possibilities –

  • With chatbots, messaging apps will become the new browsers. They are about to do for businesses what websites were doing for them about a decade back. Forrester Research expects investments in AI and Machine Learning to triple in 2017, to better harness user behavior, to enhance the conversational interface brought about by bots.
  • Messaging apps will become more relevant to IoT installations. For e.g. more customers will begin to receive coupons, notifications on sales etc. via messages when they happen to just pass by the store. Or alternatively, employees in a factory can stay better connected with their machinery, and make better use of the data collected.
  • The ‘App culture’ is sinking, as users are getting more tight-fisted about device memory and data usage. But messaging apps/platforms are still titled ‘essential’ because messaging is now a way of life. Since chatbot platforms can directly deploy bots onto these apps, the need for a proprietary app is canceled. And the scope of services that businesses offer on these apps can keep expanding.

With the advancement in AI and Machine Learning towards its capabilities, chatbots are about to go a long way in understanding the nitty-gritty human behavior through messaging apps. But if McLuhan’s theory still holds good a decade from now, chatbots might even become a critical part of human perception overall.

Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Human Intelligence?

With the creativity and intelligence of tech super champs, Artificial Intelligence has come forward within the past few years. It has no doubts helped us humans, and there are so many examples of it including Siri, Smart cars, video games, Google Now etc. that we use in our daily life. Considering the fast growth of AI and dependency of humans on it, some people believe that the microchips running on algorithms will surpass human intelligence in the near future. However some people still have hope for human intelligence. As they believe that HI is far more unique and better than the robots, which are the creation of HI.

Trans-humanist vision of the future includes the replacement of HI with the enhanced and accurate results of AI. However they forget the fact that humans have created AI and we will keep on making new innovations every day. We can not only create new microchips, computer devices for future, but we grow and create new ideas every day. Science cannot answer various questions related to humans like from where the creativity comes from and how life creates itself.

According to science, there are certain rules according to which the universe works and HI has proven its genius by creating breakthrough models for various sectors today. The algorithms coming from the human brain are far more innovative than AI. Computers are no doubt a powerful creation of human, but they are run on the programs created by humans. We can tame AI and use it for our convenience, but it will never replace us. The good bits of AI are astonishing, major business giants across the globe are creating mind-boggling applications based on AI. These are no doubts miracles and we can keep on using it for our future, but these are made by people for people.

Machines are intelligent, they consume less time to learn and finish a task and their working capacity is far more than humans, and if AI takes over the human jobs, there will be a chaos. Moreover, if the machine goes out of control or goes against the commands of its creator or if it is handled by hooligans, there can be a lot of loss to us. But the good news is, technology is developing with a fast pace and humans get bored with the old gadgets and appliances and we replace it. Just like we change our old smartphones with the new ones frequently. So, with the growth of technology, the demands of humans will rise and with HI we will create AI and use it until a new version comes up. The lack of intuitions, creativity, commonsense and judgment makes AI different from HI and we can show our thoughts and intelligence by communicating, giving reasoning which at present AI cannot.

5 Ways to Enjoy Virtual Reality

Technology is probably one of the best creations human beings have ever made. Not only is technology able to connect people but also gives us exposure to sights, sounds, and feelings that we haven’t experienced in our lifetimes.

With Virtual Reality, technology now allows us to experience a close to life environment in an imaginary setting. As per Wikipedia, Virtual reality (VR) typically refers to computer technologies that use virtual reality headsets to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment or create an imaginary setting.

Though VR is still relatively new to the public, there are already a lot of different ways to enjoy VR. Here are some of the virtual settings and activities that you can experience:

1. Flying

Ever dreamed of flying? Well, here’s your chance to experience how it feels like. Using VR glasses, you will be able to fly. VR glasses presents to people a very realistic image or video that helps wearers build the momentum and excitement for the whole experience. Aside from that, if you want to experience flying, you may try this new invention made by the researchers of Zurich University’s Interaction Design Program called Birdly. Birdly is a Virtual Reality console that allows a person to lie on a padded, cross-shaped apparatus and gives people the sensation of flying over buildings or across country sides.

2. Swimming

In other cases, a VR headset will also let you experience swimming. But it’s more than that. It will also let you feel what it’s like to be swimming under oceans with dozens of fish, sharks, and whales swimming around you. You will definitely feel like being underwater because you will be able to see and hear the beauty and sounds of these sea creatures.

3. Roller Coaster

If you’re just at home sitting on your couch and have got nothing to do, why not ride a roller coaster? Yes, it’s just that easy when you have your own VR headset! Start feeling the gravity as the coaster twists and turns upside down. There are many VR headsets that have built in games where you can truly experience an extreme roller coaster ride. There is also a simulator called “No Limits 2” which will let you experience roller coasters on a whole new level.

4. Skydiving

Skydiving is an extreme sport that some people can only dream of doing because it is really expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper (and also much safer) way to experience skydiving, then VR is the way. Fly up to high altitudes with “Volo Airsport”, a physics simulator that lets people hang on to their life and experience skydiving.

5. Flight Zombies

If you are the type of person who is fascinated by the idea of a zombie apocalypse, then VR is your closest way to experience it. So, if you want to experience what it’s like to be in a scene of “The Walking Dead”, download “Zombie Shooter”. It is free on Apple and lets gamers to shoot and kill zombies that are chasing them through the VR headset.