ONE of the major announcements at Facebook’s F8 conference last week was a new technology you might never have heard of, but that you will be hearing a lot about in the near future.And it wasn’t virtual reality (VR), even though Facebook CE Mark Zuckerberg recently paid US$2bn to buy VR headset maker Oculus Rift, whose headsets began shipping in the past month.“Bots” or “chatbots” are suddenly the new, new thing in the tech industry — and they are set to make a huge impact on the way we interact with our digital world.Bot, short for robot, is software that automates tasks performed by humans and that is increasingly augmented by artificial intelligence (AI). Instead of using dedicated apps for shopping site Spring or airline KLM, Facebook is assuming you will be just as happy “chatting” to a bot via its Messenger app.“I guarantee you’re going to spend way more money than you want on this,” Facebook head of messaging David Marcus joked at the launch.Never a truer word said in jest, y...

Subscribe now to unlock this article.

Support BusinessLIVE’s award-winning journalism for R129 per month (digital access only).

There’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in SA. Our subscription packages now offer an ad-free experience for readers.

Cancel anytime.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.