December 10, 2016 at 10:30 am #12234RobinParticipant
On Thursday Google released its “Action conversational API” which enables custom chatbots for their Google Home device. What is more signficant is that Google integrated their API.ai service with that API. (Google bought API.ai in Sept)
API.ai is a leap forward in chatbot creation and indeed in conversational AI and its a sign of the commodisation of AI. The UI (although still clunky in parts) is one of teaching and not coding and yet under the covers it’s clear there is an element of coding going on. The user teaches the bot the things it should say but in such a way the underlying system can extract coding concepts such as variables and session variables. The trick has been to change the language of the user interaction – commoditising it. The user first creates entities (these are all possible nouns in an interaction) and then programs intents (or verbs/actions) to compartmentalise the interaction. In cases where two different intents need to be used for the same input phrase a context can be created (in fact under the covers this is a session variable). Much of this is not new – its had been done before the difference is the subtle change of wording and interaction to remove some of the coding aspects.
This is the way forward – its already as easy as using a spreadsheet to create a Bot but its a sign of things to come, the new entrepreneurs will be teachers not coders and the products they will create will be fully functional AIs solving issues for consumers.
BTW “death of the programmer” was just to get your attention. It’s in the area of chatbot creation where coders become less important and indication of where things will go.
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