Why does Facebook want me to chat with dumb robots?

Recently, I asked a digital cat about the weather. It didn’t go so well. Screencap by Sean Hollister/CNET “Hi Poncho” is one of Facebook’s first chatbots. What’s a chatbot, you ask? They’re computer programs that live inside instant-messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram, and Skype that help you shop and answer questions. You talk to them. You ask them things. They respond. Most of the time, they have no freaking clue what you’re talking about. Screencap by Sean Hollister/CNET It’s not like chatbots are a bad idea. They can actually be really cool. Just take a look at the YouTube bot on Telegram — Telegram is a rival instant messaging app — which can let anyone easily share one of their favorite viral videos while chatting with friends or…


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