Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be seen in Sci-Fi movies featuring intergalactic travel. Now, companies such as Facebook, IBM and Microsoft are implementing the technology throughout various products and services. In the social media space, Facebook is leading the charge: taking AI mainstream and merging the term with its previous connotation. Using the 900 million monthly users of Facebook’s messenger app, the social AI will interface with bots for simple tasks, such as ordering flowers or answering customer service related questions.
Facebook’s ultimate goal is to transform the industry. By simplifying day-to-day tasks, a whole new industry is hatched, similar to the app revolution paving the way for companies such as Uber. From an agency perspective, this does seem interesting, as one of the most time consuming tasks is managing audience responses that require simple replies. Aside from selling products, these bots could direct people to the appropriate phone number for customer service assistance, or help you find the bakery department in your local grocery store. The sky is the limit when it comes to this technology. But, we will have to wait to find out whether shoppers are interested in dealing with artificial intelligence, or if they still prefer face to face. We expect that the large brands will continue to test Facebook Messenger, watching the performance carefully to see if the initial glitches will be worked out. As of right now, developer interest in messaging/bots has greatly outpaced consumer interest thus far.
You may be asking yourself, “Are there risks associated with having clients utilize bots on their social media?” The answer is yes, it is similar to the risk of having a human handle social media interactions, even with the tightest social media policy in place. The best way to introduce these bots is on a small scale, using simple customer service responses and scaling as you see fit. No one wants to hear that it’s the bots fault, as we’ve all seen with the Microsoft fiasco. Many of today’s tech leaders are pushing artificial intelligence and bots at a feverish pace, leaving some to wonder what the boundary is for such technology. Until such a boundary is established, there will be a race amongst the social and tech company elite to unleash bots on the masses, especially in the social media realm.