Chatbot Watch: August 2016 Roundup

What’s new and news in the world of Chatbots? Here are a few articles discovered recently, as of early September, 2016.

Chatbot Roundup

– Curated and Summarized Reads
Article #1
Why WingStop is Betting Big on Chatbots 

Kevin Fish of WingStop has written an article published in VentureBeat that reads a bit like a pitch to the C-suite, albeit – they are in the F-ing space y’all. Getting into bots at the brand level has my esteem. While, I’d love to hear more about the particulars, (to really test this thing out) and to have a patient, long-view chat with Kevin about their vision, plan, and results – the article provides some insight into their plans on developing Wingbot (which has actually been difficult for me to find) and for reaching millennials ‘where they are’.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

Wingstop provides FAQs and an ordering system in the bot, which is what millennials are demanding.


Restaurant brands have it particularly tough when compared to top-of-mind apps like Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, email, photos, and videos. The space occupied by daily-use apps makes it increasingly difficult for a less frequently used food-ordering app to earn that prized spot on the home screen. That doesn’t mean mobile apps don’t have a solid place in ecommerce strategy; rather, it just reinforces that brands must continue to find innovative, additive ways to fuel the growth of their digital ecosystems.

Facebook is calling the shift toward chat an “evolution of conversation,” and they presented a multitude of statistics earlier this month to support that assessment. The one that stands out the most? In July, the company surpassed one billion active users on Facebook Messenger. The rise of this and other chat-based platforms, like Slack, is a clear indication that the most convenient way of communicating is informal conversation and chat. The rise of chat as a transitory typed digital medium mirrors the succinctness of a quick phone conversation, as opposed to a carefully crafted email or formal meeting.

Article #2
What the Guardian Has Learned from Chatbots 

Apparently, the Guardian (newspaper) has tested a chatbot that helps readers determine what to cook. A nifty little bot, the Sous Chef enables users to provide a list of what’s in their cupboards and refrigerators and the bot will provide them recipe ideas based on the ingredients they have.

Hear tell, the recipe bot was a test to gather information and insights to help construct another bot that the Guardian plans to release.

More on Chatbots  


The Role of Sensors in the Food Industry Internet of Things, Predicted Scenarios

What might the future of the food industry look like given the impending probabilities of the Internet of Things? Here’s an interesting article that aims to answer ways artificial intelligence may reshape the food industry. 

Here’s a key bit of the article:

Food decisions could become simple confirmations. Confirmations of health-algorithm derived recommendations, hyper-personalized based on data from our DNA, stress levels picked up by sensors, and observed interactions with various foods. And hopefully your personal favorites.

I’ve talked with this author and plan to get a copy of the survey results when they publish.

So, while that article makes some very interesting predictions, this next article does well to illustrate practical scenarios for how sensors work, and may help power the IoTs. 

It provides some great examples and use cases on the role sensors can and will play in the evolution of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of things.

That article provides technical and philosophical meanderings on how it sensors can be used to innovate artificial intelligence and the Internet of things.

It takes the position that humans are the ultimate sensing ‘machines’ and that they can / should be used as models for how to improve manufacturing and other robotics tied to IoT – via sensors. Pretty wild stuff.