3 min read
In an earlier post I wrote a bit about bots and the potential future for education. This past week I listened to Ben Thompson push back a bit about the opportunities for bots, AI, and the user experience.
In light of this, I think there are ways that we should frame this look at "bots" and extend it a bit as we think about the possible future for education.
The name "bots" might be confusing to use as there are mulitple instances of "bots" already present online. An example of this include the fleet of bots that comprise most of the traffic on Twitter.
Bots (in this instance) also may include varying levels of artificial intelligence (AI).
What is powerful about the thinking about bots in this instance include the following.
First, there is a tremendous amount of contextual information that exists with the bot. You'll need to sign up for, or agree to permissions with the bot. So, with these permissions, it has the potential to collect a ton of contextual information. It'll know who you are, payment info, location, peers, etc.
Second, the structure provides opportunities for lightweight interactions with very little friction.
With this new environment, think of it as a platform built on top of another platform. Think about it as the inclusion of a web browser on top of Windows, Mac OS, LInux, or your operating system. As Ben mentions in the podcast, the perfect example is found in WeChat in other markets.
If you connect these elements together, an example is shown in the opportunity to purchase flowers.
If you want to order flowers, you need to go to the webpage, create an account, enter your credit card information, select where you're sending it, enter billing and shipping addresses, etc.
If you do this in the bot, you'd indicate that you want to order flowers. The bot for that service would take over like that digital concierge idea I posited earlier. The bot would already have a bunch of this contextual information. It would have billing, your current location, friends, etc. It can tell you to go to a nearby shop and look at, or order the flowers. It can handle everything for you and send flowers to your mother. Since it has your information, and may have her address through your address book, it can handle this without you doing anything.