VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks the most important news and analysis from the exploding field of bots and messaging. Each week, we select the top stories and present them in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community, and a good number of posts from a wide variety of other outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

I’ve often said that you don’t have a business until money changes hands. Well, bots — and their underlying AI — have been making giant leaps to become all about the exchange of money. They’ve grown into proper businesses right under our noses.

You may have seen the television spots heralding H&R Block’s partnership with IBM Watson. And while it was just four months ago that Bank of America unveiled its AI-powered chatbot, they’re now everywhere. Perhaps you’ve thought of building a banking bot or banking with Teller? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you’re just happy that it keeps getting easier to send money using Messenger.

As always, please send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging.

Thanks for reading,

-Blaise Zerega
Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video, A DARPA Perspective on Artificial Intelligence, featuring John Launchbury, the Director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O).

 

From the Bots Channel

Burner creates an SMS-powered chatbot for Airbnb hosts to provide FAQ responses to guests.

This chatbot helps Airbnb hosts answer guests’ questions faster than ever before

Burner has launched another chatbot to demonstrate the potential of its mobile application and service. With Hostbot, hosts of short-term vacation rentals through Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, or their own means can communicate with their guests over SMS. Developed alongside Voxable, which also co-created the Ghostbot app with Burner, Hostbot is a way to streamline communication. […]

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TransferWise: Facebook Messenger Bot

TransferWise launches Facebook Messenger bot for easy global money transfers

International money transfer service TransferWise has introduced a new Facebook Messenger bot, letting customers send money and create rate alerts directly from within Facebook Messenger. Founded out of London in 2010, TransferWise has raised around $120 million in equity funding for its peer-to-peer (P2P) international money transfer service that bypasses banks to keep costs down. […]

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Amazon Echo

The impact of voice-activated virtual assistants on retail

2016 saw an incredible rise in connected home devices, specifically Amazon Echo (8 million devices sold) and Google Home devices. Prior to that, Siri made adding an event to your calendar or quickly looking up the weather as easy as a simple push of a button on your smart phone. At what point does “Siri, tell […]

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sxsw

Everything you need to know about bots at SXSW 2017

Every year in March the tech world descends upon our humble little hometown here in Austin for SXSW. The conference, and corresponding festival, is undoubtedly one of the tentpole events for the tech industry, one in which agendas are set, trends are initiated, and the “next big thing” gets launched. The real reason that SXSW […]

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bots, chatbots, 911

Chatbots and the future of 911

The odds are you have already engaged with a bot during a customer service interaction. In fact, with advances in natural language processing, it’s getting harder to distinguish a human from a computer. Gartner projects that more than 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. BI Intelligence reports that chatbots […]

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Beyond VB

This 14-year-old made the best Facebook Messenger chatbot

Yet despite the promise of a revolution in how we interact with services and companies online, progress has been utterly miserable – the vast majority of chatbots are gimmicky, pointless or just flat out broken. But this week I was given great cause for optimism, in the form of Alec Jones, a 14-year-old from Victoria, Canada. (via BBC)

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Robots Will Soon Do Your Taxes. Bye-Bye, Accounting Jobs

Tax season has arrived, as the Super Bowl recently reminded us: In the first half alone, two commercials encouraged viewers to trust computers to do our taxes, the first from H&R Block with its new partner Watson, and the second from TurboTax with its friendly talking tax bot. (via Wired)

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Why Payment Companies Are Flocking To Messaging Apps

Money is surprisingly social. Venmo was one of the first U.S. startups to capitalize on that realization, designing its mobile app around an emoji-ridden social feed. Now messaging apps are seeing the light and welcoming financial services companies onto their platforms. (via Fast Company)

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6 Ways Bots Are Positively Changing The World

Last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that “Bots are the new apps” and tech experts around the world began hailing the rise of bots as a new medium. Bots are artificial intelligence (AI) fueled chat programs that can now do everything from ordering sushi to DJing your party or order your flowers. (via Forbes)

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