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 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:

If it’s true that “everything with bots is compressed in time,” as General Catalyst’s Phil Libin told VentureBeat recently, then this past week might have been the equivalent of a decade’s worth of progress.

Facebook’s beta launch of a pay function for Messenger will greatly accelerate the adoption of chatbots on the platform. If successful, then the already crumbling wall between bots and messaging will further erode. And in doing so, Facebook Messenger may wind up looking a lot more like WeChat. Perhaps in a sign of things to come, WhatsApp embraced calling via Apple’s Siri.

And speaking of walls, there’s another that may soon, too, be vulnerable to collapse — this one between between competing intelligent assistants. Amazon’s announcement that Alexa can talk to GE’s virtual assistant Geneva shows that interoperability between competing bot/artificial intelligence ecosystems is possible. Instead of “Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the oven to 400 degrees,” how about “Alexa, tell Siri to play my Townes Van Zandt playlist”?

Our thanks again to everyone who has sent us feedback for our recently redesigned Bots Channel. Let us know what types of stories you’d like to see more of, and please suggest subjects for podcasts or videos. Send along general suggestions via email, and share your ideas for guest posts with John Brandon and news tips with Khari Johnson.

— Blaise Zerega
Editor in Chief

P.S. We hope you enjoy this video of Kik president Josh Jacobs arguing that all bots should be cross-platform.

From the Bots Channel

Digit Bot

How the Digit bot helped people save $230 million

The bot Digit has saved $230 million for its users in the past 18 months, founder and CEO Ethan Bloch told an audience of more than 200 at a “Leaders of Chatbots” discussion at LinkedIn Tuesday. The event was put together by, which hosts monthly conversations with influential tech insiders. The way Digit saves […]

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Preliminary results of the first Botness community survey are in.

Early results of bot community survey show Messenger and Slack as developers’ top platforms

Botness, the influential bot-maker group whose leaders include Amir Shevat of Slack, Chris Messina of Uber, Jon Bruner of O’Reilly, and Andy Mauro of Automat, has released preliminary results of its survey-in-progress. Even while the current sample size was small — just 130 respondents — the findings represent what is likely the first self-cataloging of the nascent bots ecosystem. […]

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A.I. will help in the enterprise sooner than you think.

5 ways artificial intelligence will change enterprise IT

It’s been a busy summer in the artificial intelligence (A.I.) space, but the most interesting A.I. opportunities may not come from the biggest names. You may have heard about Tesla’s self-driving cars that made headlines twice, for vastly different reasons — a fatal crash in Florida in which the driver was using the Autopilot software, and claims […]

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A Tesla Model S promotional photo.

Elon Musk unveils ‘massive’ Tesla Autopilot 8.0 update using existing radar and fleet learning

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is finally sharing the “major improvements” coming to Tesla’s Autopilot feature. In a press call this afternoon, Elon Musk described the “massive” 8.0 Autopilot software update, which turns the existing radar system inside Tesla cars into a primary source of information for the vehicle’s self-driving features. Musk said that with “fleet learning,” the update will offer “probably a three-fold […]

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The Amazon Echo.

A 14-year-old built an Alexa skill for checking the status of AWS

If you rely on public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run your website or app, every now and then you may encounter a technical issue. Usually, if you suspect that it’s at the AWS level, you’ll end up checking the AWS Service Health Dashboard, which shows the status of AWS’ many individual […]

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EU looking at extending some telecom security rules to WhatsApp and Skype

The European Union, the EU executive, is set to extend some security rules currently only applicable to telecom operators to web services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Apple Inc’s FaceTime, according to a draft proposal seen by Reuters. The European Commission will unveil a proposed reform of its 15-year-old telecom rules next week in […]

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Related coverage

LoveBot tells your wife you love her so you don’t have to

LoveBot is the thoughtful husband or wife that you aren’t.
Presenting at the 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, Guru Ranganathan was sure to specify once he got onstage that his LoveBot doesn’t do what you probably think it does. (via TechCrunch)

Read the full story


The inventor of Siri’s backend technology says Amazon’s Echo and Alexa are ‘incomplete’

Amazon’s voice-controlled speaker Echo and its Alexa software have been so successful that even rivals such as Google, and reportedly Apple, are developing competing versions. (via Business Insider)

Read the full story


Facebook VP David Marcus explains how Messenger will make money

On Monday, while on stage at Tech Crunch: Disrupt in San Francisco, David Marcus, the company’s VP of messaging products, said the company is now giving developers tools to enable bots to accept payments without sending users to an external website.  (via CNBC)

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Twitter rolls out an app for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant

People can ask Amazon’s Alexa to read out their Twitter timelines as well as topics that are trending on the social network. (via Marketing Land)

Read the full story

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