At its annual F8 conference, Facebook on Tuesday revealed a set of tools that’ll allow developers to build bots within its Messenger platform. If accepted by the general public, bots have the potential to facilitate new ways to handle customer support, commerce and even media.
As The Verge notes, the idea behind bots – and certainly, Facebook’s intention – is to use them in place of tasks that would otherwise be completed by humans.
During F8, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased bots from CNN and 1-800-FLOWERS. The CNN bot, which becomes tailored to your personality over time, was used to select and send news stories to users that they’re likely to be interested in. The 1-800-FLOWERS bot, meanwhile, allows a customer to order flowers using conversational language.
Zuckerberg told those in attendance that you'll never have to call to order flowers again.
Using bots to replace human jobs is a concept that certainly won’t appeal to everyone but there are already several practical uses that could reduce labor costs – funds that could potentially be used to improve other aspects of a business or introduce new products.
The Verge correctly highlights the fact that Facebook isn’t the first company to launch a bot store. What sets it apart from others, however, is its massive audience. Just last week, the social networking giant revealed Messenger now has over 900 million monthly active users.