At the recent F8 Developer Summit, Facebook released Bot Engine, to help create smarter bots, specifically for Facebook Messenger.
The Bot Engine is developed from Wit.ai, which Facebook acquired last year. Wit.ai is the framework for Facebook Messenger.
Facebook’s new strategy with Bot Engine is to get developers to embrace the framework and give Facebook Messenger users some specialized bots.
“Send receive API is more than enough,” Facebook VP of Messaging Products David Marcus said. “But if you want to build more complex bots, you can use our Bot Engine.”
The Bot Engine relies on machine learning. It means that you can feed it sample conversations so that it can handle many different variations of the same questions.
Dennis is so far ahead of the curve when it comes to what is going on, I thought it would be too much to handle for some of you, but he insisted the people need to know this stuff.
On bots economic impact:
People are fundamentally cognitively lazy– so why have to figure out what you want and hunt it down when the AI can guess intelligently and do it for you?
Bots will be so smart that most humans in process-driven jobs will be unnecessary. The bot wars begun long ago and Facebook has the scale and strategy to win. Facebook has solved the infrastructure, programming, and even AI issues– making it easier, ironically, for anyone to start a large-scale business.
Minority Report is almost here.
While the masses will be out of jobs (see World Economic Forum research), the botwars will create entrepreneurship like the world has never seen before.
The financial ramification is that Facebook is the ultimate utility– providing nearly everything “free” to use. You need only agree to connect yourself to the metaverse and if you’re a business, use their advertising platform.
On what the Messenger platform means for business marketers:
Marketers and marketing tool providers face a Faustian bargain, that is, adopt the platform to have it all “solved for you” or perish.
Facebook Messenger is a platform for not just communication but all commerce, with the power of all of Facebook’s federated properties behind it, all reinforcing one another.
From a marketing standpoint, Facebook is automating away the friction of having to “construct” complex funnels, allocate budget, and whatever else that isn’t directly delighting customers.
From a business standpoint, Facebook has the world’s most powerful marketing platform. Now all they need is GCT (goals, content, and targeting) to be able to maximize your business. They solved goals and targeting and automation content (logic) is halfway there.
The agencies that don’t add tremendous creative value are dead. Facebook is killing off all the wasteful intermediaries– ad tech, black box big data, marketing tools, “social media consultants”, and parasites of all favors.
Hard to argue with experience like Dennis’.
He’s right. Today, we need to simply provide the logic and Facebook provides the ecosystem that we can “re-configure to our liking. By definition, if you can put a rule around it, it can be automated.”
I’ve had many discussions with fellow marketers, clients, large and small brands and even regular folk (I often cite my brother as a reference point to the “normal” consumer), and I’ve heard everything from pure elation to conspiracy theories. With over 1.5 billion users and an incredibly robust infrastructure, one has to understand the power and implications of this.
Dennis continues, “Facebook owns the network and the social graph, therefore you must adopt their platform to communicate. They deliver internet connectivity and frictionless logins, so, you have to adopt instant articles if you’re a publisher.Owned media matters from the standpoint that we all have to produce content and produce a product, however, we are shifting where we distribute it. It’s not that owned media isn’t important, it’s that the definition of earned media has changed.”
And even more agree as to how bot technology will impact the future of customer service.
“While AI and bots are nothing new, Facebook chat bots introduce an interesting new element to the online experience at scale, making software more accessible to larger audiences” says Amir Zonozi, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoomph. “We will start to see novice users experiment with bots and introduce a new UX, and we’ll need to ask ourselves: which tasks should be handled by bots, which tasks should be handled by humans? We can’t just scale down versions of software or apps into bots like what has been attempted with smart watches (ex. TurboTax smart watch app). We need to rethink context, relevancy and personalization based on these notions. I’m excited for the emergence of bot technology and look forward to how it impacts customer service and social media.”
The way we communicate is changing.
In addition to the Bot Engine, Facebook launched an entire Messenger platform.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are seeing 3x more messages than standard SMS messaging. You might be asking, “who cares?” and “how does this affect my business” but I can tell you, this changes the way so much is done.
Any business, of any size, cannot ignore this shift. Facebook is leading the shift. Therefore, you cannot ignore Facebook.
Most of you are entrepreneurs and small business owners and still cannot fathom how messaging people on Facebook is good for business. Because I want you to understand exactly what is happening here, I talked to my very good friend, Ben Phillips, General Manager of Home Instead Senior Care of Fresno, California for his thoughts on what the Messenger platform and new QR codes will do for brick and mortar shops:
“I think it has less to do with competition and more to do with an overall emphasis on shifting social from an exclusively marketing tool to more of a customer service tool. I imagine the (QR) codes as a dominant presence in brick-and-mortars in the months and years to come as a way to offer 1:1 communication and an avenue to ask questions. Facebook is clearly looking to become the one-stop-shop on all things business, as well they should.”
Have we ever, in our entire history, seen this type of access to people and businesses?
Here’s the kicker. This changes how businesses will be expected to communicate with their consumers. You no longer can make excuses about the technology being too expensive. It’s free.
I’m betting big on Facebook, not just to change the way business is done, but how the world goes round.
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