Dirty adult chatbot
HONORABLE MENTION to Bank of America for their clever chatbot named Erica (am ERICA, get it? A few startups have emerged as the clear winners of the first year of this gold rush.
Many entrepreneurs made (or are making) the mistake of transforming any app idea from the App Store into a bot.
Note: The following list is neither exhaustive (even without sleep, I couldn’t test all 35,000 bots that were built this year) nor scientific (sorry, I’m not Alan Turing).
That said, it’s been built with a clear set of judging criteria in mind.
Yeshi is a chatbot that embodies a young girl in Ethiopia who has to walk 2.5 hours every day to find clean water.
The team behind Yeshi leveraged the full spectrum of bot capabilities (geolocation, media sharing, and personal storytelling) to create an immersive emotional experience that helped users discover the harsh reality of Ethiopians like Yeshi.
Extra points for its savvy marketing strategy of tapping into influencers from the fashion and beauty niches to promote the bot and grow its user base organically.
Airlines are a perfect customer service use case for bots, and KLM was the first to nail it.
According to company president David Levy, anyone who finds it too tame to chat to the company’s “flirty” style of chatbot can amuse themselves with their “adult” chatbots, “which can also help users to improve their own talk-dirty skills.” It goes on: “An intelligent virtual lover which understands and wants to please you, is perhaps an appealing proposition to a lot of people.” A lot of a certain type of people, no doubt. “Future plans for the company’s technology include the development of a personality, emotion and mood software module, which will allow users to choose and modify their partner’s or lover’s personality as they wish,” it says. Now, Downtime knows that none of its readers would be indulging in such a thing anyway, but in case you’re doing so purely in the name of scientific research in future, be warned.