Imagine if everything around you was connected and A.I.-enabled.
Ordering at your favorite restaurants would be as simple as sending them a text. Your dry cleaner would know exactly when to pick up your laundry without you uttering a word. And when you run low on groceries, your refrigerator would order food for you.
This fully integrated world is right around the corner.
Recently, a friend of mine told me an interesting story. Having one of the few very nice lawns in the Bay Area (he waters it regularly) means many of the neighborhood cats and dogs come to “christen” his lawn on a regular basis.
One day he got sick of stepping on doo-doo, and so he did something about it.
In four hours, he programmed his sprinkler system to detect the movement of neighborhood cats and dogs and to turn itself on. This was possible due to machine learning. In the near future, all of our devices will have similar abilities and will be able to take actions on our behalf.
Currently, Facebook is working on creating an A.I. platform for your home. Soon, you will be able to talk to you house or car a bit like Ironman does in the movie. When your house springs a leak, your house’s bot will send you a text and offer to hire a plumber for you. Refrigerators will order groceries for us, and our lawns will mow themselves. As a result, many of our daily chores will be handled automatically.
Getting things done when you are out and about will become seamless. No more waiting in lines. Just send your bot a message and order. When your item is ready, the bot will alert you, and you can simply pick it up.
This will propel the restaurant dining experience into the 21st century. Imagine being able to walk into your favorite restaurant, scan a code, and start a conversation with a bot. You could see pictures of all of the menu items and read each review from Yelp. You could then order and pay, right from your phone. The next time you came to the restaurant, the bot would remember all of your preferences, and ordering would be as simple as pressing a few buttons. Best of all…no more waiting for the check!
Can apps and bots get along?
Currently, there is a lot of app overlap. Setting up a simple appointment can be frustrating. When I use Siri, the appointment goes on my Apple calendar, which, of course, does not talk with my Google calendar. To make matters worse, Apple pulls irrelevant information, like all of my LinkedIn contacts’ birthdays. Thank you Apple! Having multiple apps that do the same thing but don’t talk to each other is only scratching the surface. When it comes to accessing and managing data, the problem is much worse.
The good news is that bots will do what apps hoped to accomplish but have failed to deliver. One day soon, you will have a personal bot (like mine) that will be able to do things like set up appointments, help with tasks, check your email, pull data for you, and even give conversational updates to your friends, family, and coworkers. It will integrate your entire digital life in one place, making it easily accessible and then automatically handling certain tasks for you.
Currently, Facebook and Google are working on creating a Master Bot. The Master Bot is a bot that can seamlessly summon services from other bots. For instance, let’s say you wanted to order a burger. Currently, you have to do a small research project to find the answer or else use an app like GrubHub or Eat24.
In the near future, assistants like Siri, Amazon Echo, Facebook M, or Google’s Master Bot will have access to all of the bot services you use and be able to process orders on the back end seamlessly. In other words, you will tell Siri what you want, Siri will find it and give you a few great options, and you will be able to order and pay seamlessly. Siri will command other bots.
Before this becomes a reality, however, all of the plumbing needs to be built. But every single bot that builders create is bringing us one step closer to this reality. We can see early signs of this, as it is already easy to order things like an Uber via Facebook Messenger.
At the moment, finding the right bot to solve a problem is a pain because of the “unknown unknowns” — to reference a security term. If you have a problem that a bot can solve but you don’t know about the bot, how can you solve the problem?
Normally, we rely on what we know and are aware of; however, this won’t always be the case. In the near future, social media companies like Facebook — which have our personal data — will be able to offer event-driven solutions based on what we share.
For example, let’s say you just got a parking ticket and are pretty upset about it. You tell a friend what happened via Messenger or perhaps you share it on Facebook or tell your personal bot about it. Facebook will be able to take this data and offer to help you solve the problem. On the back end, it will summon the Lawyer Bot, which will go through all of the steps and help you file an appeal.
These types of rich, event-driven interactions will become commonplace.
Humans have a strong tendency to anthropomorphize bots. We have already begun giving chatbots human characteristics, and a recent survey of over 12,000 users of Assistant.ai revealed that nearly 40 percent of respondents could imagine themselves falling in love with an artificial assistant, while another 25 percent agree that “it could happen” to them.
Developing feelings toward your personal bot and many of the bots you use will be unavoidable. This also means that brands, celebrities, and others will have a huge opportunity to create direct relationships with us. Thanks to bots, there will be a human-like level of intimacy between us and our heroes.