We all know robots – thanks to the innumerable sci-fi movies that carry us to a make-believe bot world! Who can forget the lovable WALL-E who saved our world and humankind by finding a plant or the wise bots of Star Wars series – R2-D2 and C-3PO or the shape changing Transformers – the smartness with which the Autobots fight and prevent Decepticons from taking over our world.
I, as a kid, got my first bot dose with a TV series – Small Wonder, in which a robotics engineer creates a robot model of a girl and she becomes a part of his family as his adopted daughter.
The list of fictional references can go on and on but we need to steer our conversation from fiction to reality.
Bots are basically an extension of machines interacting with the human beings. The idea had begun taking form a long time ago in the 1950s with the invention of ‘The Turing Test’ by Alan Turing – a mathematician. He invented it to test the ability of a computer to show smartness or its intelligence equivalence with the human beings.
But, it was the nascent stage and with time, advanced interactions are now possible today due to the progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a Digital Transformation technology.
An introduction to bots and their benefits:
A bot, in very simple term, is a set of algorithms that’s designed to perform tasks automatedly, with none or least manual intervention. These applications can perform redundant tasks with high speed, better efficiency and expertise when compared to human beings.
From being used for military operations and gaming in the beginning, bots have come a long way.
They are majorly used for labor -intensive and error-prone tasks.
Internet bots or web robots are used for running scripts on net or investigating huge volume of data on internet. Bots find maximum usage as web crawlers or web spiders in which they analyze and save information from a large number of web servers at a very high speed.
Enterprises like Twitter, Facebook and Google use internet bots for their day to day operations.
A specific variety of bots called chatbots lets one communicate virtually using messaging apps like Messenger. These allow users to simply ‘chat’ with them and get things done – like get the latest news, open weather report or even do shopping.
Bots are utilized greatly in healthcare for maintaining a database of medical information and provide answers to users’ queries according to the symptoms automatically.
In retail sector, many brands use bots for automated customer assistance.
Bots use AI to do things uniquely, like humans do – see, talk, learn and reason. Personal Assistant bots like Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa prove that technology has surely come a long way.
They can help you schedule your travel, guide you the way, manage your office while on the go, do instant messages, check weather, listen to your playlist, translate, and perform many other basic tasks, just by understanding your intent that you can communicate to them via text, speech or cards.
Bots are now being trained to acquire the human personality as accurately as possible – they observe how humans behave, perform tasks, react to situations and follow the way they speak and imitate them as well. But the companies are still working on polishing these bots and admit that they still have a long way ahead.
Not all bots are good, some are also used by cyber criminals for carrying out cyber-attacks like phishing, DDoS and promoting malware.
How can I build, connect, install and manage intelligent bots that have natural interaction capabilities?
With Azure Bot Service, you can create, deploy, test and manage bots quickly and efficiently at a single place as it provides an integrated environment that’s designed for bot development.
Powered by Azure Functions and Microsoft Bot Framework, Azure Bot Service allows your bot to scale per your requirement as it runs in a serverless environment.
Some benefits of Azure Bot Service are as follows:
1. Quick development
With its unique templates, including proactive bot, basic bot, form bot and Language Understanding Intelligent Service bot, you can start building your bot within seconds. With Microsoft Bot Framework, in-built in each template, you get streamlined workflow. Read more about how you can create a bot here.
2. Management flexibility
With Azure Bot Service, you don’t need to buy those resources today that you may need in future – you pay for only what you consume. And you consume as per your needs – so you are charged only for the resources and number of executions.
3. Intelligent bots
You can enable your bots to be more human – see, listen and react more humanly by adding Azure Cognitive Services. You can go on making your bots more intelligent by adding more services like Azure Search Services for providing bots with search capabilities.
4. Continuous integration
With Azure Bot Service, you can utilize famous source control systems for coding your bot like Bitbucket, GitHub and Visual Studio Team Services and then can automatically publish the final code version into Azure.
So, subscribe to Microsoft Azure and start building your own bot using Azure Bot Service today.
Let us know your feedback in the comments section.
Jyotsana Gupta - the content and communication head, is an engineer by education and a writer at heart. In technical writing for 6 years, she makes complex topics interesting to general audience. She loves going on long drives in her spare time.