Taking a closer look at bots from Apple, Facebook and Google

Bots” have been around for decades. Recently, however, it’s become the norm for large technology companies to build, support and develop bots for a wide variety of uses. Because bots can be so many different things, it’s often difficult to parse the bona fides from the wannabes — or even determine what bots do.CIO June/July 2016 issueCIO June/July 2016 Digital Magazine: These CIOs mean businessCover story: this year’s CIO 100 honorees are serious about winning customers and driving revenue.Read NowWhat exactly are bots? “A bot is an autonomous machine interface that’s built to serve a purpose that traditionally was served by a human,” says Michael Facemire, a principal analyst with Forrester Research.Bots can stimulate human conversation, but their greatest strength lies in the capability to simplify business processes that don’t require human intervention, according to Adam Fingerman, chief experience officer at Arctouch, a mobile app design and development company. “From a utility point of view, bots will have an even bigger impact on how we work than how we live,” he says. [Related: From tacos to HR, chatbots make it personal]Bots can also help navigate complicated data systems, according to Fingerman. Bots “can be the friendly interface that points users to the right content, answers time-sensitive questions, and ushers them to the right human to get the feedback they need,” he says.Bots are nimble, and they don’t need to be anchored to a single platform, interface or purpose, according to Raj Koneru, founder and CEO of Kore, a message-based bots platform for enterprise. “A bot can live in many places,” he says. “The beauty of a bot, unlike a mobile app, is that it’s conversational in nature so it can be in many, many places.”

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