The term “bot” has become part of our mainstream vocabulary, and you can expect to hear more about them as America completes its 2020 election cycle.
Bots, at the most basic level, are software applications designed to automate a specified task. They can be text or audio-based and can be deployed across various platforms. News bots can help aggregate and automatically alert a user about a specified event, whereas productivity bots are tools companies use to automate and streamline their day-to-day operations. Chatbots are now fully mainstream, and they’re deployed by all kinds of organizations, especially in customer service functions. In fact, research from Survey Monkey and live chat provider Drift revealed that only 38% of consumers actually want to talk with a human when engaging with a brand.
The next big advancement in bots won’t be technical in nature—it will be regulatory. During 2018’s campaign cycles, we saw a resurgence of botnets, which are networks of computers designed to send out misleading content. That, coupled with concerns that bots are increasingly leading to widespread deception, led to a new law in California that requires bots to disclose that they are not humans in their interactions with people. The law went into effect on July 1, 2019 and requires the disclosure to be “clear, conspicuous, and reasonably designed to inform persons with whom the bot communicates or interacts that it is a bot.”
The success of this new regulation could become the basis for other state and national laws, especially if conversational bots like Google’s Duplex reach critical mass within the marketplace.
This trend is part of our section on Artificial Intelligence. Other trends in this section include:
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