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VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks all the important and interesting news related to the exploding field of bots and messaging. And 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 outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

Hey Bot enthusiasts!

In big chat platform news, today Alexa announced that the Nucleus home intercom touchscreen will be powered with Alexa, and Kik said more than 1,000 bots are being made a week on its platform. Skype also announced new bots that connect Internet of Things devices and the first StubHub ticket sales bot. On the other end of the spectrum, startups Trim and Sensay recently announced seed rounds.


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Li Deng, Microsoft chief scientist of A.I. in Microsoft’s Applications and Service Group (ASG), wrote a guest post to explain deep reinforcement learning and how it can help make better chatbots.

In other guest posts, Barnaby Lashbrooke from Time Etc. why bots won’t be in charge for decades to come, and Neil Patel of Fluid takes a good look at conversational commerce done right.

For delicious snackable stories, see this list of 11 strict rules to follow when building a bot. These rules apply for both the bot making veterans and rookie newcomers. Another practical list: five chatbots that have saved people more than $10 million.

Want to tell us what we should write about? To share your thoughts on the future of chatbots or AI contact guest editor John Brandon at john.brandon@venturebeat.com. Send news tips to khari@venturebeat.com.

Lastly, in case you missed MobileBeat, here’s Chris Messina on the state of conversational commerce. Enjoy!


From the Bots Channel

11 rules to follow when building a chatbot
Organizations create style guides to capture the rationale of their design decisions and help other teams build great experiences. You might have read gov.UK’s service manual or the U.S. Digital Services Playbook.

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Personal finance bot Trim says it’s saved users $6 million — and counting
Since Thomas Smyth and Daniel Petkevich created the chatbot Trim to rid their personal bank accounts of forgotten but costly subscription fees seven months ago, it has helped more than 50,000 people save $6.3 million.

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This is what effective conversational commerce looks like
At a time when retailers and brands are still optimizing their mobile experiences for their current websites, they’ll now have to offer an effective conversational experience directly to their consumers across all digital touchpoints.

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Why A.I. will never be truly useful
By now, we’ve all heard of Silicon Valley’s shiny new technology: Artificial intelligence and chatbots. They bring the promise of an industry-wide transformation that many believe will reach the scale of the personal computing industry or the commercial internet.

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How deep reinforcement learning can help chatbots
Bots have been widely regarded as a new user interface (UI) to fundamentally change how computing will be experienced by people.

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These 5 chatbots have saved people more than $10 million
As tens of thousands of chatbots proliferate across Slack, Facebook, and other platforms, you hear naysayers claim that bots might be useful someday but that today they’re little more than a gimmick.

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Beyond BotBeat

This Is The Smartest Thing Facebook Ever Did
As Facebook announces it has nearly tripled profits, we look back at its prescient move to decouple Messenger from the core app. (via Backchannel)

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Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley knows exactly where he’s going – but it took a while
When Foursquare launched its app in 2009, founder Dennis Crowley wasn’t quite sure where he was going with it. (via Business Insider)

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When Bots Go Bad: Common UX Mistakes In Chatbot Design
Judging from recent debacles such as Microsoft’s Tay and the fembots of Ashley Madison, AI-assisted chatbots still have a long way to go before gaining genuine and socially acceptable conversational skills. (via Medium)

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4 Critical Questions That Chatbot Entrepreneurs Should Ask Themselves
Things have been really heating up since we saw the first wave of “conversational UI” companies in early 2015, and now there isn’t a week that goes by where we aren’t pitched a new chatbot app. While plenty has been written about the space, my sense is that there is still a great deal of confusion in the market. (via AlleyWatch)

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