Facebook Wants To Turn Us Into Small Emperors

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 4:09 PM

Facebook says that with time, chat-bots will become so effective that they replace the apps on your phone altogether.

Facebook Wants To Turn Us Into Small Emperors

Facebook wants to turn us into little emperors.

For years, the dastardly and paranoid Roman emperor Domitian lived in seclusion, refusing to meet senators face-to-face and instead writing out commands for messengers.

The Empire ran on a text based instruction system, with hundreds of thousands of messages flying around the road-based network.

Latest night, I tried more or less the same splendid isolation. Haughtily, I summoned Facebook Messenger and instructed Hi Poncho, a weather chat-bot, to tell me the weather.

"I've never been there!" The bot wrote back. "Is it nice? Attempt another city or neighbourhood."

Domitian would've had Poncho executed.

But , saying that with time, chat-bots will become so effective that they replace the apps on your phone altogether.

The idea is that as we're spending more time in messaging apps – and it'south a lot of time, with Whatsapp and Messenger alone handling sixty billion messages a day between them – there is an opportunity to utilize the same sort of interaction to accomplish tasks.

So, instead of switching out of the Messenger app to laboriously open Uber or Citymapper, or, god forbid, speak to a human, you instruct their bot via text to book you a taxi or tell you the best way home.

Facebook hopes that people will book flights by chatting with a British Airways bot, that you'll ask a shopping bot for its Spring Summer sixteen suggestions, or that you'll obtain your news by writing to the Sky News bot and asking what's happening.

And, Facebook hopes, this will create a chat-bot economy love the app economy – and the billion dollar businesses that were born on it.  Facebook will charge businesses to create friends with users.

So, is this the future of how we utilize our phones? Well...

Smartphone apps changed our lives not because they replicated services that were already done well on the web. (There's a reason no-one uses the iPhone Stocks apps.)

The cost of apps is they tapped into what only a mobile phone could do. In particular, that it knows where you're and that you always have it with you. In other words, mobility.

Either a chat-bot has to be a lot better than a committed app or it's to utilize the thing that only Facebook can do.

If the iPhone offered apps mobility, Facebook offers identity.

None of the other messaging apps know who you're to the extent Facebook does, nor do they know a network of extended friends and family. Usually, they just have the contacts in your smartphone.

My hesitation is that identity is useful mainly to businesses, rather than users.

Your friends know who you're and can utilize whatever app – Snapchat, Telegram, Whatsapp – to obtain in touch.

Facebook will let businesses do the same – and that sounds love a spammy hell.

But there is an unexplored hope for Messenger'south chat-bots, one I hope the social networking giant’s engineers will get on board.

In two thousand-thirteenth, a grouping of engineers at the Univ of Bucharest designed a chat-bot that simulates historical figures, by processing web pages about that person.

The following step: adding Caesar as a Facebook Companion and chatting fortunately with an Emperor Domitian chat-bot. And giving him the orders.

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