Chat Bots — Exciting times ahead!

Once in a while, a potential new paradigm in how we interact with computing emerges and the tech world lights up with endless possibilities. It is still one of key reasons why I have stayed in this industry, and it really got ignited when I encountered HP’s e-speak, Rajiv Gupta, Aireen Deperalta, and the many brilliant people who worked in Building 49 in the old HP Cupertino campus circa 1999–2001.

In the recent 18 months (or as far back as I can remember), the online world is abuzz with talk about bots in messaging apps and what wonderful services they can all do for us. I totally believe it! I think the time has arrived for mobile apps and many other software applications for that matter, to transform from UIs of text fields, drop-down / check boxes on a boring webpage or a mobile app, to something more human — Conversations and Vision.

I wrote about this some months back — here — and I have since moved back to Microsoft to pursue my love in leveraging technology to make cool things happen for people! And lucky me, this collaboration with the Singapore Government landed!

The broad appeal of chatbots and probably a very necessary evolution of today’s computing interactions is that such an approach — i.e. conversational bots / digital assistants — gives us the ability to take human-centered design to a whole new level by making technology more empathetic and anticipatory when interacting with humans, which is key to our human+machine=ability to achieve more philosophy. The sea of mobile apps and many consumer and business applications today channel a certain workflow, a certain outcome, and the inclusivity of different circumstances can sometimes be inadvertently be designed out. This is not where we want the future of computing to head towards, but rather a future where technology and its interactions with humans is inclusive of people of all abilities, and the ability to converse is really the first thing of being human.

To be continued …