Let’s assume that software bots continue to proliferate, grow more intelligent and capable, and even generate a bot-to-bot ecosystem, where yours talks to mine and they both talk to brands’.
The huge ripple effects on how products are marketed, priced and sold could be the real story, Gupshup co-founder and CEO Beerud Sheth told me recently. His Cupertino, California-based company, whose name is Hindi for “chit chat,” makes a bot and messaging platform for developers.
As a parallel, remember if you can (assuming you’re old enough) what the future looked like before social networks, when websites were the reigning dinosaurs. There were projections about how, in a few years, individuals might be talking to individuals directly through computers, maybe using video someday.
The tools were the focus, because it was difficult to imagine, say, the rise of cyberbullying, politicians who tweet or viral content. In other words, it was hard to imagine how actual humans and their interactions would evolve once the new tools were available.
This is typical for many major technological advances. The real impact of the car, for instance, was the creation of suburbs, road trips, polluted cities, drive-in theaters (for a while) and a more mobile workforce.
Sheth thinks the real story of a post-bot era will come from the central fact that marketers and sellers may rarely be dealing directly with a buyer, either business or consumer. Instead, intelligent bots will know our preferences, our interests and our buying history, and they will be making the decisions or conveying the best options to human buyers.
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