UPDATED 15:13 EST / MARCH 11 2017


Is Facebook’s Messenger bot the best social strategy for corporate AI?

Businesses, entrepreneurs and public figures tired of trailing targets on the endless circuit of social apps might find some respite in chatbots.

“If I told you there was a social app that had a billion users every month, bigger than Snapchat plus Twitter plus Instagram combined, you’d want to figure out a strategy for how to engage with those people, right?” asked Ben Parr, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Octane AI Inc. and author of “Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention.”

Parr answered his question in an interview at the South by Southwest event in Austin: That app is Facebook Messenger, and people can engage with its users through an Artificial Intelligence bot, he said.

Parr told John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, that now is the experimental stage for bots. Likening it to the first years of mobile apps, he said bot developers are taking various directions, throwing ideas at users and seeing what sticks.

“Our direction is, how do you create compelling content so you’re not spamming people but you have content that you can share not just on your bot, but as a link on social media,” he said.

Many celebrities already use an Octane AI bot on Facebook Messenger to engage with followers in a more personal way. The bot allows them to have a one-on-one, scalable conversation with followers about whatever they want. The conversation itself can then be captured and shared via other social channels or as a blog post.

Is telepathy the future of AI?

In the near term, Parr sees bots becoming more predictive as AI gets down to a more granular level. “I think the longer run is neurological, is the ability to interface without having to speak, is AI as a companion to help us in everything we do,” he said.

Likening it to the evolution of the Internet over time, he said, “There will be a point in about 20 years when we will not understand what the world was before AI.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the South by Southwest(*Disclosure: Intel sponsors some SXSW segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither Intel nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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