Tech Talk: API.AI Says (Free) Robots For Everyone

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Reading around on tech sites can actually make you sick of hearing about how bots are going to supersede apps in the near future because of how often the point gets thrown around. There's a reason for that, and API.AI, recently bought up by Google, just made conditions optimal for bot developers to demonstrate that reason. Specifically, bots made with the platform and operated at the free tier, and all other tiers for that matter, now have unlimited queries at their disposal. Bandwidth limits still apply, so images, other API calls, and other such bonus features will still be a bit of a drain, but this essentially means that anybody who wants to make a bot can do so for absolutely no charge and release it into the wide world. Naturally, everybody from Google themselves to Yahoo are hopping on board the bot craze, and it's not hard to see why; these wonders of centralization have the potential to plant a user at your metaphorical watering hole and leave them there to drink your supply regularly for a long time, if not for good. It doesn't matter if you're an actual bar, a tech startup, a billion-dollar multinational corporation, or even a health food store, that's great news.

While that news is great for the world of bots all on its own, a few key additions turn it into the kindling for a burning-hot bot revolution. First off, rich content of almost any sort supported by the delivery platform is now supported. Facebook Messenger users chatting with your bot can use it to grab an Uber or make a payment. People chatting with your bot on Kik can navigate video feeds. The list goes on. In fact, "the list goes on" is actually kind of the point here – bots have gotten to the point of playing a game of horse with apps, and the bots have all the tools at their disposal to pull out a win, just not right now. The other big kicker is a piece of the puzzle that was cut and painted at the October 4th Pixel event, and is now finally ready to find its place in the puzzle; Google Assistant integration. Let's not mince words here; Google Assistant's potential is literally infinite, given time and willing developers. Google already has robot brains as big as entire data centers, neural networks that can almost mimic human thought, and unimaginably vast databases of information on billions of users. All that's really missing from Google Assistant is time and user count, and those are both coming along nicely. That's because Google Assistant is among the first of a new type of AI built on a foundation of mass neural networking and machine learning.

Just think about the incredible computing power driving these new bots. Everybody, including anonymous programming whizzes, gamers, musicians, and even you, the person reading this, can now build a bot for free with that kind of power and spread it around everywhere without ever worrying about how much traffic it's getting. Anybody at all could have a chatbot do just about anything that they want, and as Google Assistant's power grows, so will the capabilities of these bots. A small private server for an old online RPG having a bot to help new users get set up and in the game with nothing more than voice commands? Sure. A car dealership rolling out a bot that rolls out new vehicles to customers' driveways? Yep. A restaurant using a bot to get and group orders to streamline things for their cooks and drivers while automatically keeping up with hundreds of orders? Why not? It's exactly this kind of limitless potential that gives bots their extremely unique ability to completely disrupt the current tech world, and now anybody can make one. If you happen to be the least bit programming or tech inclined, now is probably a very, very good time to start working on a bot of your very own.

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