Microsoft Bot Framework Was Announced Last Week…
We got to hear about the new Microsoft Bot Framework at BUILD2016 when it was launched for developers as part of Satya Nadella’s overall vision for Microsoft under the banner of Conversations as a Platform.
After announcing the release of the framework and giving developers access to the preview, Microsoft also announced that Skype would be integrating one of these intelligent Bots, in addition to the pending Cortana integration.
What is the Microsoft Bot Framework?
Ever been to a website and a small chat window opens and an agent begins to converse with you? Now imagine a world where this could be automated but not just simple responses that go of-track rapidly.
Microsoft have created a framework for intelligent Bots in mobile and web. A framework that allows for natural language processing, machine and deep learning. Bots that can hold their own in conversation, that understand synonyms and can be taught to process varied speech patterns and provide appropriate responses.
That said, Microsoft learnt over the last few weeks that machine learning requires some constraints or monitoring. After launching Tay AI in the US, it became rapidly apparent that unmonitored release to the wild has bad ramifications.
The demonstrations at BUILD gave us a preview of just how Bots are going to become a pervasive part of our mobile and desktop connected experience. The Cortana Intelligence Suite (Bot Framework, Machine Learning & Cognitive Services) allow developers to easily and rapidly create and deploy these Bots to take your pizza delivery order, help you book a hotel room and do so by allowing Cortana to interact with the booking Bot.
The demo also included a peek at the administrator web UI and Microsoft have outdone themselves by making this gloriously easy to create or modify your Bot. Furthermore, Bots will have a dictionary of synonyms for their conversations which app developers can share between apps. The Microsoft Bot Framework won’t be alone as we can expect a Bot directory. If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft are not just restricting this to their own apps and services but this is open to other apps e.g. Slack.
How Does This Change Social Forever?
A close Facebook friend shared this great video from Truly Social with Tara’s Facebook page. (Sidebar: if you want a really upbeat, brilliant and highly informative take on Social, get to this page, like it and read / watch the fantastic content). A big thank you to Shari of Shar-i | Digital Marketing Consultant for the timely share.
In this video, Tara talks about what is and isn’t Social. She focuses on how scheduled posts do not meet these criteria.
Today, I discuss what is social, what is NOT social, and why this matters.
Posted by Truly Social with Tara on Sunday, 3 April 2016
Hold onto those comments and watch the amazing video. With thanks to Truly Social with Tara.
Automation is a tool and does not meet the definition of Social. Good, Bad or Indifferent it’s worth considering why this is important. There is a difference between dropping a scheduled post in another time zone or being awake to converse following someone’s Like, Retweet or +1.
Tara defines Social in the video based on 3 criteria: –
Now look at the definition. Now look at how the Microsoft Bot Framework is described. Now look back at the definition. Microsoft’s intent for Bots meets these criteria. Satya Nadella even calls this part of Conversations as a Platform.
Meanwhile, just yesterday Kik announced a Bot shop for their chat app. Facebook are expected to launch their own Messenger Bot within a week. The Bots are coming and the more intelligent we make them, the more they are going to interact with us and us with them…
The Warptest POV
Many adherents to Tara’s point of view are going to strongly disagree with me.
Bots cannot be Social!
Bots cannot replace the interaction, connection or value of conversation between people. However, the Microsoft Bot Framework offers a powerful, versatile way to imagine and create Bots that will come very close.
Social interaction and conversation are going to evolve. In this case, limited by the skill Bot builders bring to bear. The new generation of Bots are going to challenge our preconceptions and it won’t be limited to chat.
Microsoft have learnt from the Tay AI experience and we will benefit from their solutions derived. The naysayers will continue to use the SkyNET analogy but this evolution of conversation is happening now.
So, are you going to let the Bots replace your interactions or complement them. I would go for the first option.
I’m excited to see how different mobile and web apps are going to use Bots and I may even have to build my own.
How about you? Are you ready to evolve your conversations and how you perceive Social?