What are bots? Here’s the background.

O’Reilly Bots Podcast: Why AI-driven chatbots are a big deal right now.We’re launching a new pop-up podcast about bots. In this first episode of the O’Reilly Bots Podcast, I’m joined by Peter Skomoroch to talk background: why everyone is suddenly interested in bots and what they promise to do, and what sorts of applications are beginning to emerge.Bots have generated enormous interest in the last few months; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has even called bots "the new apps." Bots (not the robot kind) are bits of software that use artificial intelligence to converse in human terms.

As AI improves and the app ecosystem stagnates, they promise to create new, sophisticated, low-friction interfaces to all sorts of transactions. You can already call an Uber car by talking to Amazon’s Echo, and you can send comments to Barack Obama through a Facebook Messenger bot. Any big organization that doesn’t have a bot yet will probably have one soon.

If you’re interested in bots, be sure to check out O’Reilly Bot Day, a day-long program in San Francisco on October 19, 2016, that Pete and I are hosting. It’s for anyone who’s building bots, implementing bots, or thinking about bot strategy.


Xiaoice, Microsoft’s popular Chinese-language bot

X.ai, a scheduling bot. Daniel Tunkelang wrote about a conversation between X.ai and Clara, another AI scheduling assistant.

Estherbot, a bot that answers basic questions about Esther Crawford’s resume.

Howdy, automat.ai, api.ai, and wit.ai: good places to start for people interested in building their first bots