Love or hate Facebook, it’s kind of a necessary evil in this day and age. While I could do without “friends” of mine defending Trump and actual friends of mine threatening not to vote if Bernie Sanders doesn’t win the nomination, Facebook allows you to stay informed or over-informed. But now, the haters of Facebook have been given ammunition with the roll-out of Chatbots.

Facebook Chatbots Arrive On FB Messenger

Facebook approves chatbots for Messenger

Facebook, after numerous promises/threats, have allowed companies to begin using automated customer support tools like chatbots to provide content and guidance. Facebook is expanding its developer ecosystem to provide businesses with other options to provide service for its customers without having to rely on actual employees or SMS platforms. Facebook is hardly the first company to allow business to use chatbots; Line, Telegram and Kik already have platforms for bots and Facebook clearly wishes to keep pace with these “so called” competitors to its messaging app.

The platform, “bots on Messenger”, went live today after months of rumors and stirrings from tech outlets like TechCrunch and those citing TechCrunch in mid-February.

1-800 Flowers, CNN and others have been given the first go on the platform, in the case of the former, Messenger users need only send a friend’s name to the “flower bot” in order to send them the brief-living gift that are flowers. In the case CNN, bots will be providing you with news stories that they have determined that you will find interesting.

Which is helpful, if not a bit invasive. If the bot was that clever, it would recognize that I believe we are truly lost if CNN is taken as a news source. How goes that search for the Malaysian Air flight by the way?

I understand the appeal of the use of AI and natural language for businesses looking to use bots to replace humans. But I do question why we just play along and tell companies that we’re fine talking to a bot and the company laying off a number of people in their customer service departments. While hot on one side, I like people more than bots. That is unless like a recent Microsoft chat bot who became a comical racist (minus the racism of course) bots can be entertaining.

While no one likes be put on hold and dealing with 1-800 numbers, I long ago figured out how to deal with customer service representatives. In my humble opinion, you need only be overly polite to get what you want. It doesn’t hurt to immediately ask their operator number either, so they know that you mean business but you truly can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I figure most people just scream at them all day, so being nice makes them what to help you.

How the hell to you manipulate the feelings of a bot?

Will bot change the way we interact with businesses?

They very well could. Bots have the ability to provide personalized communication simply by having access, presumably, to your Facebook account. The machine learning potential to tailor something to you is not beyond the realm of “excellent customer service.”

I guess I just don’t like it. It’s a personal thing. I’m cool with having an R2 unit, but at least an R2 unit can mess a rat up if it’s messing with his boy C3-PO’s eye-socket, or I need an airmail delivery of a lightsaber to make a quick escape from Jabba’s prison barge.

Thankfully, Facebook’s property WhatsApp remains clean and won’t include bots……for now. If successful on Messenger, its just a matter of time isn’t it? And that would be a shame.