The Rise of the Chatbots: Is it Time to Embrace Them?

The tech world is all agog these days about chatbots. These are automated computer programs that simulate online conversations with people to answer questions or perform tasks. While chatbots have been around in various rudimentary forms for years — think of Clippy, Microsoft’s paper clip virtual assistant — they have been taking off lately as advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence make them more versatile than ever. Among the most well-known chatbots: Apple’s Siri. In rapid succession over the past few months, Microsoft, Facebook and Google have each unveiled their chatbot strategies, touting the potential for this evolving technology to aid users and corporate America with its customer-service capabilities as well as business utility features like organizing a meeting. Yahoo joined the bandwagon recently, launching its first chatbots on…


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