Rise of the Botniks

During the past year and a half I have curated, hosted, and produced two MoNage conferences, and our third is under development. Throughout this time, I have witnessed the meteoric rise of the world of Chatbots and how Chatbots are starting to revolutionize the dialog between people and machines. What I have observed and believe, is the word “ChatBot” is not dynamic enough for this evolving community. I propose the term “Botnik” as a replacement.

Chatbots are just a part of the larger conversational ecosystem evolution. This growing, enthusiastic, and incredibly active global community focused on the world of Chatbots are not just for text messaging. This is why I believe the term “Chatbots” worked well until recently. However, there is no reason to limit the description of the functionality under development. In the near future, conversational interfaces will use voice, biometrics, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and some other forms of reality yet to be defined — including, one day, perhaps, a direct interface to the human brain.

The Botnik ecosystem includes conversational interface systems and companies, as well as the people who design, implement, and use conversational interfaces. Your fellow Botnik may be a person or a machine, and maybe a combination of both.

It has not escaped my attention there is a certain resemblance of “Botnik” to “Beatnik.” And that’s cool! Botniks are creative, artistic, and rebellious, just like the Beat Generation of the mid-20th Century, who made an enormous contribution to the arts, the feelings, and passions of a generation. The Beats wore the somewhat-stereotyped label, “Beatnik,” with pride. As the Russian “nik” suffix was used to label the Beats as just a bit dangerous in the language of the day, today’s Botnik movement might be just be as dangerous (and ultimately compelling) to the technology and business status quo.

So here come the Botniks, and it is a revolution, man!