VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks the most important news and analysis from the exploding fields 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 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 the special, year-end edition of our weekly newsletter:

In 2016, the bots ecosystem went from being a mere gleam in the eyes of hopeful developers to birth, infancy, and adolescence. Entrepreneurs, investors, and big tech combined to lay the groundwork that would allow chatbots — with help from messaging and intelligent assistants — to become a powerful horizontal technology.

When we convened MobileBeat 2016 in July, we predicted an “unstoppable shift to AI and intelligent messaging (i.e. chatbots), away from apps as we know them.” That change is happening faster and with greater force than anyone predicted.

Naturally, such rapid growth hasn’t always been smooth. Bots suffered not one, but two hype cycles. Many of the early bots didn’t live up to expectations, there was the Tay fiasco, and Pokémon Go even threatened to ban their use.

As we head into a new year, we present our top bots articles of 2016 (based on pageviews) and thank you for being a valued member of the VentureBeat Bots Community. Give the stories a read and let us know what you think.

Wishing you happy holidays and best wishes for 2017,

— Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video of Chris Messina on the (then) State of Conversational Commerce from the MobileBeat 2016 archive.

The Best of the Bots Channel 2016

10. How will bots make money? Here are 7 business models

With major announcements from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, the bot craze has grown dramatically over just a few months. But one question that is being discussed in boardrooms and among makers in Slack channels and in Facebook groups around the web is this: How will these things make money?

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9. Germany’s supreme court ruling on online games and bots could affect entire EU

Computer games are a rising business branch, and, in the scope of established law, a rather new one. Lawmakers haven’t given much thought about a highly agile industry with a significant worldwide reach and news ideas.

Read the full story

8. 10 jobs that AI and chatbots are poised to eventually replace

Artificial intelligence has arrived. Time to sharpen up those resumes.

Read the full story

7. Kasisto’s new bots want to be the Ask Me Anything of personal finance

Kasisto, a spinoff of Siri maker SRI International, added two bots to the personal finance bot space today with the introduction of MyKAI and KAI Banking.

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6. The 200 billion dollar chatbot disruption

Chatbots will cause a near-term disruption in how businesses interact with consumers and a long-term paradigm shift in how people interact with machines.

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5. What happens when bots start writing code instead of humans

We are rapidly approaching our next paradigm shift: AI-based code generation. When we reach that inflection point, web development will have officially died, and the labor force is woefully unprepared for what’s next.

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4. Microsoft Cortana is about to become your all-purpose productivity bot

Microsoft Cortana has been playing catch-up with Siri and the Google Assistant, but that’s about to change.

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3. The DoNotPay bot has beaten 160,000 traffic tickets — and counting

The bot was made available to New Yorkers in March. In recent years and decades, residents of the Big Apple have seen a persistent increase in traffic fines. A record $1.9 billion in traffic fines was issued by the City of New York in 2015.

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2. How Amazon’s Alexa will work with Sonos

While Sonos left a few details in the dark ahead of the 2017 launch, here’s a list of everything we know so far.

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1. Amazon Alexa skills are about to become much smarter

Amazon offered few details about the kinds of intents and slot types coming, though Alexa vice president Rohit Prasad told Backchannel that people should expect book, video, and local business slot types.

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