There are chatbots, and then there are the bots built to understand and strengthen a customer’s experience with your brand. Which would your user rather talk to? Join our latest VB Live event with Smarter Child creator to learn more about how to turn A.I. innovation into customer satisfaction.

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Many suggest the advent of natural language chatbots powered by A.I. means the end of apps, and nobody is happier than Robert Hoffer, the founder of SmarterChild, the first artificially intelligent agent on any messaging platform.

“Everybody in the entire world has built an app,” Hoffer says. “Apps are completely saturated. And discovery is a problem.”

Bots, Hoffer says, are going to supplant apps — they’re backed by top-down push support from the major global companies who own or control or manage the platforms themselves. And they’re being built by the first digital native generation who grew up with AOL Instant Messenger and went on to attend computer science curriculums encompassing natural language processing, natural language understanding, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

It’s table stakes: You need to have a website, you need to be optimized for mobile, and you need to have a bot, Hoffer says.

“Every time there’s a new medium, marketers have to decide, do we need to be in this medium,” he continues. “And for a long time, they decided no in respect to the web. Can companies afford to wait for other companies to get a foothold in the messaging platforms that represent collectively north of a billion people?”

For the hesitant, Hoffer explains that there’s no risk of app-style oversaturation.

“Are your friends at risk of oversaturation?” Hoffer laughs. “A bot is a fundamentally different thing, from an intimacy perspective, if done properly,” he explains. “A natural language bot is a brand that you care about. And bots — I know they’re not people. But you know what? It’s kind of like they almost are.”

And companies are beginning to understand that there’s a need for an A.I.-powered conversational UI to maintain a dialog with their customers–or, in other words, a chatbot with charm.

“Really what a brand is, in my opinion, is a personality,” Hoffer says. “So do bots need to have personalities? Only if they want to have friends. Who wants to talk to a dull bot? It’s a pretty straightforward argument. Should your bot, should your brand, have a personality or not? I don’t know whose brand doesn’t.”

And the power to create that customer experience is in reach for any company. What cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment in 2001 today has become a thoroughly reachable goal for companies of any size, Hoffer says.

“It’s now a heck of a lot easier to do this. You can run natural language processing, natural language understanding, machine learning applications, and A.I. in the cloud,” he explains.

So is it time to leap on board? “It’s early in the game, and I think that companies have not yet fully formed their strategies on the best ways to handle it,” says Hoffer. “But most companies are considering this now, because they’re not blind to the opportunities presented to them by the enormous and pervasive nature of messaging in text platforms.”

To learn more about the opportunities A.I. is creating for innovative customers, and how to build a powerful platform and strategy to launch your own, register now for this free VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event you’ll:

  • Learn how to build a customer engagement strategy from the ground up using artificial intelligence.
  • Hear valuable tips on improving your customer engagement now
  • Get insight from top execs who have been down this road and have the best advice to design the customer experience


  • Jon Cifuentes, CEO, FoundRobot and VentureBeat analyst
  • Robert Hoffer, founder, Smarter Child
  • Nick Edwards, CEO and Co-Founder, Boomtrain


  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by Boomtrain.