Now that the fall semester is underway, college students around the country are flocking to university bookstores and office supply shops to stock up on textbooks, graphing calculators, notebooks — you name it.
These things set the stage for success in the months and weeks ahead, and hopefully translate to good grades on papers and tests. But physical products aren’t the only things that’ll assist students this year.
Keep reading to learn about several genuinely worthwhile chatbots you can depend on to tackle various challenges you face during college life.
Moving to off-campus housing is a major milestone for students, but it can also take time away from coursework, especially when scheduling real estate showings.
Ems is a London-based chatbot that learns about housing preferences, makes suggestions based upon them, keeps an eye out for possible matches and lets busy students book viewings with just two taps on a smartphone screen, without ever talking to a human.
Also, you don’t have to download an app to use Ems. Simply go to the website and start chatting in the pop-up window on the right side of the screen.
Students have dozens of file transfer apps, online storage lockers, and document creation helpers to assist them through the school year. But the plentiful technological opportunities can become problematic when you have to search through all those third-party solutions to find misplaced files.
Advertised as a “smart search assistant,” Findo sorts through emails, computers, personal clouds, and more to retrieve desired files.
Frazzled students can also request searches using natural language, even when they can’t remember the details, by saying things such as “Find me the paper I wrote for that biology professor during freshman year.”
The aptly named FindoBot is the chatbot aspect of Findo. It integrates with services like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Slack, and delivers search results directly into those interfaces to save time.
Astro is what results when artificial intelligence enhances email. It works with Android and iOS platforms, plus Mac computers and even Alexa. Students can connect it with any Gmail or Office 365 email account and enjoy features like an AI-powered priority inbox, which tells them which emails to read first, and a snooze function that empowers students to respond to some emails later.
When unread newsletters start clogging up an inbox, the bot can send reminders about unsubscribing to mailing lists that generate emails you no longer want to get.
There’s also a mute feature you might use when an email conversation shared among dozens of classmates gets too chaotic to follow constantly. Customized notifications when emails arrive eliminate unnecessary distractions, too.
So, what does the Astro chatbot do? It monitors users’ email habits in the background. After it learns what they do, it starts running those tasks automatically for greater efficiency. The bot can also scan a person’s contact list and the resultant network to determine the best individual to introduce them to a department head, the university president, or another bigwig, helpful for a student trying to make connections.
College dining halls and the all-you-care-to-eat nature of many of them wreak havoc on students’ waistlines. And if those scholars are under stress, the problem could become even more severe.
Enter Forksy, a chatbot that recognizes pictures of menus, dictated speech about what you ate, and even food emoji.
Students can simply add Forksy as a “friend” on Facebook Messenger or Viber and ask it to count calories through the day. Also, if a student is seeing a dietitian or fitness trainer, they can get feedback from that health expert about food choices, directly in the chatbot.
Some college students depend heavily on employment to help them make ends meet throughout the semester.
Jobo is a job-hunting chatbot that looks for work around the world. Once a user provides basic employment preferences, Jobo starts hunting for income possibilities around the clock. A student can even apply for a job directly through Messenger after filling out a career profile.
Personalized job alerts clue students in to open positions they might otherwise miss. There is also a built-in capability for saving searches and looking at them later.
These five chatbots prove how far the technology has progressed in a relatively short time.
Your time at college provides the first introduction to having to deal with many responsibilities at once without oversight, and the chatbots listed here can help ease the learning curve.
Kayla Matthews is a technology writer interested in AI, chatbots, and tech news. She writes for VentureBeat, MakeUseOf, The Week, and TechnoBuffalo.
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