Thanks to automation, robots are becoming a part of everyday human conversation. Machines are becoming so intelligent that in the United Kingdom, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found that robots have the potential to take 1.5 million jobs from humans.
But what exactly is this AI? In the context of everyday life, what does bot mean? While it’s important to anticipate the future, the technologists of today are shaping it, and robots only have the potential to be as smart as scientists say they can be.
“It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that routine and repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm written by a human, or a machine designed for one specific function,” explains the ONS report.
So, what does bot mean? This landscape-level assessment will answer that question—to help you understand:
- How bots work
- How they are starting to shape entire industries
- How to use bots as tools for becoming smarter, more capable humans
- How bots have the potential to create rather than destroy jobs
Let’s take a look at a few different types of bots and how they impact human life today.
As of 2016, Google says that there are 1 billion Google Assistant devices in the market. These are voice and text controlled devices that assist consumers in answering questions and processing basic queries. These bots are on the rise, according to research from Survey Monkey and Drift, due to consumer preferences—only 38% of people reported that the preference for speaking with humans would deter them from using a chatbot.
In this context, what does bot mean? AI is a tool that helps consumers:
- Answer their own questions, without extra support or help
- Gather basic information before handing a request to customer support agent
- Manage wait times
- Get customer support specialists on the same page about an issue
Chatbots, both voice and text-based, have the potential to make customer experiences simpler. These capabilities free up employees to focus on more creative, problem-solving tasks. Simple automation brings consumer experiences back to the needs of people.
Algorithms are behind the scenes of every technical process that humans touch. There’s a reason why you see the ads that you see and why certain customer experiences seem more personalized than others. There are robots running in the background.
Even your smartphone requires multiple algorithms to run—and these algorithms have capabilities beyond their intended purposes. According to the MIT Technology Review, for instance, the same AI that tracks faces and voices is also smart enough to detect depression.
Imagine the possibilities of being able to detect depression earlier:
- People have clearer, shorter steps to diagnosis and treatment
- Physicians can develop more targeted, personalized care management plans
- Patients can monitor progress
In the context of predictive algorithms, what does bot mean?
This form of artificial intelligence has the potential to make human life happier and more fulfilling—to predict the likelihood of a problem before it has a chance to happen. Imagine the use cases beyond medicine to customer support, automotive safety, disease vector detection, transportation, and other fields.
From vehicles to pets, agricultural sensors, and household robotics, autonomous devices can emulate capabilities of human thinking.
“They can take on many shapes or forms,” says an article from KPMG’s technology practice in Denmark. “Some can be as big as factory robots that produce cars, and some can be small like bees that are used to pollinate flowers. Some, like cancer fighting nanobots, would not even be visible to the human eye.”
The article from KPMG elaborates that autonomous devices:
- Are aware of their physical surroundings
- Can learn from experience
- Can accomplish tasks on their own
It’s these bots that receive criticism for taking jobs in factory and manufacturing settings, for instance. But these same devices need smart programmers who can detect biases—they have the potential to alleviate tiresome tasks and even save lives in dangerous factory settings.
So, what does bot mean?
It’s a product of the human imagination.
Just a few decades ago, the concept of a bot was in its most rudimentary form. Now, bots give people a level of visibility that is impossible, or unlikely, for the human eye to detect. Humans are already talking—and giving data—to bots. In this regard, bots provide technical pathways to enhanced levels of human creativity.