Chatbots Will Be to Event Attendees What J.A.R.V.I.S. is to Robert Downey Jr.

You host an event with certain goals in mind, the most important of which is that all who attend feel like they’re having the most incredible experience ever.

In the future, one likely way this will be accomplished is with chatbots.

As the name implies, a chatbot is a bot that chats.

Stick with us here.

If you own a newer Apple iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, you’re doubtless already familiar with the chatbot concept. Each comes equipped with a chatbot — an app that performs automated tasks and that does so while talking to you.

The bot’s name is Siri. It responds to your voice commands and it answers, in a voice of its own or with displayed text, any questions you might care to pose.

Chatbots Generating Excitement

A number of companies have been taking chatbots to the next level by programming them with artificial intelligence.

The difference is that A.I. chatbots not only answer your questions, but also offer recommendations based on what they learn in the course of time about your interests, preferences, and desires. Whenever you do something online, the A.I. chatbot takes notes. Before long, it’s able to anticipate your future needs with stunning accuracy.

You’ve seen this in exaggerated form courtesy of Marvel’s “Iron Man” movies. Hero Tony Stark (actor Robert Downey Jr.) puts on his Iron Man suit. Once ensconced within the suit, he is able to interface with its onboard chatbot J.A.R.V.I.S., which does everything from load and fire weapons to mix and serve soothing cocktails after Stark finishes battling a bunch of super-villains.

Event planners and managers attuned to technology are very excited about the potential for using state-of-the-art A.I. chatbots in shows, festivals, galas, meetings, symposia, even weddings and parties.

We at JMH Events certainly are among the attuned and excited. Looking ahead, here’s one approach we think might be taken to improve event experiences with help from A.I. chatbots.

Say you’re attending a convention. To help you get the most out of your time there, the organizers invite you to download to your phone a special app just for this event.

You’re told that the app is an A.I. chatbot, and that it’s going to serve as your personal concierge throughout the convention.

Excitedly, you get the app. You arrive at the convention center and pick up your badge at the registration table. You enter the convention hall. Immediately you’re overwhelmed and disoriented by the cacophony of sights and sounds. There’s a session you want to attend, but haven’t a clue as to how to find the side room where it’ll take place.

Your Personal Concierge to the Rescue

So you whip out your trusty phone and ask for help from the A.I. chatbot app you earlier downloaded.

The app tells you in clear, spoken words how to get to the session. Then it acts like the GPS on your car’s dashboard as you trek to the room:

“Susan, turn right at the next corridor. Now walk 20 steps. See that door on your right? That’s the room. Go inside. Your session starts in six minutes and 10 seconds.

“I calculate you have exactly enough time remaining to pour yourself a cup of coffee at the table just inside the door and to your immediate left. I know you love fresh pastry with your coffee so I recommend the raspberry cheese Danish on the third platter from the end of the table.”

(The chatbot knows about your pastry fondness because it has access to the massive amounts of data the Googles and Amazons and Visas and PayPals of the world have been accumulating for years on you and your purchase habits.)

The chatbot continues chatting at you:

“Also, because you have the volume on your phone turned up high, I suspect that you have difficulty hearing; so I recommend you sit near the front where it’s easier to hear — there are available seats in the second row; look for chair 29, 33, or 40.

“Now that you are seated, there are two minutes and 39 seconds remaining before the session begins. Would you like to see or hear information about the speaker?

“No. Then would you like to participate in a quickie poll offered by the event organizers?

“No. Would you like to choose where you’ll have lunch today and put in your order now?

“No. Would you like to schedule a face-to-face encounter with people who I detect are also present in this convention center?

“Yes. OK, I can recommend those who I believe you will benefit from networking with — would you like me to introduce you to them?

“Yes. OK, I’ve sent each of them an invitation to connect. I’ll let you know as soon as they respond and will set up a meeting time and place.

“Speaking of time, I see your session is about to begin; I will go to sleep now until you need me again. Have an enjoyable time.”

Don’t look for this degree of personalized assistance from a chatbot at events you might be attending in the next few months. But rest assured this is coming. Probably sooner than you think. And when it arrives, you’re going to be thrilled.

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