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How A.I. and Chatbots Will Change Startups

Published: October 18th, 2016 By: Jeff Radecki

Looking back at the Dot Com boom at the turn of the millennium, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come thanks to the internet and how mixing business with technology has proliferated opportunities in the startup world. As technology increases, new opportunities present themselves, as well as new challenges that accompany them.

One of the most amazing technologies harnessed to date is the power of quantum computing, which is opening the door to the world of artificial intelligence. Standing at the entry way right now is D-Wave, one of the premier manufacturers of quantum computers. Their products tap directly into the fundamental fabric of our reality in order to speed up data computations measured by qubits, which are essentially the quantum analog of a digital bit. D-Wave’s flagship 1000-qubit 2X computer actually uses superconducting processors to accelerate computations.

With that said, quantum computing suggests many possible future applications for artificial intelligence (or A.I. for short). Up and coming startups should be preparing right now for the next wave of opportunity it presents. In fact, any business that relies on internet providers to process quantum computational data across global networks can benefit from the new possibilities that A.I. and chatbot virtual agents represent, but more on that later. This brings us to a few key concepts for what this might mean for your business.

Automation. Less physical hands…more digital. It’s no wonder Microsoft and Facebook recently announced their recent investment into A.I. and chatbots. In fact, Microsoft launched their own bot framework earlier this year, giving developers the freedom and opportunity to build their own.

So what is a chatbot? The short answer is an artificial interactive personage, though according to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, “Bots are like new applications … and digital assistants are meta apps, or like the new browsers. And intelligence is infused into all of your interactions. That’s the rich platform that we have.”

The development framework created by Microsoft is called ‘Buildbot’, with artificial intelligence capabilities that are only limited to the apps developers can dream up. Right now, some of the featured bots include ‘Skyscanner’, a unique travel search engine, ‘Spock’ which not surprisingly allows you to chat with Spock himself, and Memebot … which can assist you in daily meme creation.

Faster Deployment. Alongside automation capabilities, another critical realization is that startups will gain the intelligence advantages that can deploy automation and chatbots at warp speed (yes, there’s that Star Trek reference again) in order to rapidly scale a business. The jury is still out on deployment speed, but developers interested in learning how to quickly deploy chatbots can visit the Buildbot development Wiki to get started. Developers might even foresee chaining applications together that work in ways similar to delegating employee tasks company-wide. This naturally leads us to the next factor, and one of morality.

Human Involvement. On one hand, a startup with less employees is easier to bootstrap, and may be more profitable depending on the nature of the business. On the other, there is a sense of moral value to ensuring that jobs involve human beings, and therefore employing and providing support for local communities is equally as important in the long run. The smartest of startups should consider how they can work both sides of the coin. That means trying to balance the human element while incorporating artificial intelligence effectively into company operations.

Right now, Inc.com reports the corporate giants Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are all making strides to purchase A.I. startups, and many of them have been ventured back over the last 5 years. Phil Libin, founder at Evernote said quite simply “The world is going to be rewritten again” in relation to chatbots. Just how it will be rewritten remains to be seen, but hopefully in a direction that creates a balanced ecosystems between humans and A.I. technology in the future.

In all fairness, it’s not difficult to see how technological advancement is once again revolutionizing how we do business. We must find solutions to keep employment levels from dropping at the same time. Clearly the implications of the Terminator movies may come to mind for some! Either way, brace yourselves because artificial intelligence is already here and it’s being distributed to more and more consumer based applications as you read this.

Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy Podcast You University.


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