We generally view the machine/human divide as a one-way street of advancing technology. Machines, we are repeatedly told, are becoming more human-like—but we, humans, are losing our humanness online.
Despite the illusion of care and enthusiasm, we rely on cut-and-paste platitudes, canned email templates, and superficial email signatures to move our days along quickly and effortlessly. In fact, much of our communication could have been done more efficiently by a bot.
A year ago, chatbots reemerged atop a mountain of hype that messaging marked tech’s latest paradigm shift, after messaging apps Facebook’s Messenger and Kik officially opened up to chatbots. A year later, the trend has slid down the mountain into its own uncanny valley. However, that slide may provide the momentum that chatbot makers, from brands to media companies to startups, need to make it back up the next mountain and stay there.