That makes conversational commerce feel like a false promise. This is what powers Google's Smart Reply service. That's pretty much the message delivered by David Marcus, who oversees Facebook Messenger and its bot engine, a way for coders to build bots that can, in theory, do all the stuff that's now handled by smartphone apps."Everybody wanted websites when the web was launched. This is the start of a new era," Marcus says, before pointing out that the first apps were "kind of crappy." The implication is that bots will experience similar growing pains on their own.After all, how often will people use it if it doesn't really work?"What kind of data are they really going to collect?
It uses less advanced technology provided by Wit.ai, an artificial intelligence platform Facebook acquired early last year. Having analyzed millions of messages from across Google's Gmail service, it can guess how you might respond to a particular missive. It lets you instantly reply to someone when you don't have time to open a laptop or even tap out a message on your smartphone.Some of these auto-replies, my editor swears, even sound like him.Go Butler uses deep neural nets, but only to tackle a relatively small problem.Through a chat interface, the service provides a way of booking airplane flights, which limits the chatter to very specific requests and responses.As good as Google's chatbot seems, the company hasn't let anyone outside the company play with it. Maybe we just want to get things done without too much talking.