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Hospitality
Chris Knight

How to Become a Virtual Travel Agent

Technology like cloud services and chatbots can help you build a virtual travel agent, with fewer of the overheads that such businesses required in the past. This allows you to focus on offering unique travel packages, create a better personal service while focusing on growing a hyper-local or globe-spanning business, whatever you feel the need to provide. The digital business era is an exciting time for all types of company in any market. Now, banks can exist entirely online, while your local coffee shop or bar uses an app to speed up ordering and improve loyalty. Even local and regional travel agents now do the majority of their business online, and new startups can use the power of technology to build their brand and attract customers. Using cloud services, a startup can scale up faster than any traditional business ever could, hiring online freelancers or subscribing to automatic tools to

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Can Sex Chatbots Be Dominant?
Automation
Yvonne Kiely

Can Sex Chatbots Be Dominant?

Can sex with a chatbot ever be rewarding? With humans always having the upper hand, the creation of a sexually dominant chatbot seems fundamentally impossible.

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The 2019 A to Z of Chatbots
How to Make a Chatbot
Chris Knight

The 2019 A to Z of Chatbots

Chatbots might be a new technology to many, but they are already a key tool for huge numbers of businesses, providing increasing value to their customers with useful information. Rather than take the grand tour of product brochure pages, here are the key terms to consider when looking for a chatbot suite or tool to build your creations. Artificial Intelligence is a major buzzword. Chatbots don’t need AI to succeed, but boy does it help. AI helps bots better understand the questions put to them by users through natural language processing analysis of the text to discern key phrases. AI can also provide smart searches of wider information sets to help provide answers to more open-ended questions that a simpler bot might not understand. Business use cases for bots are growing, from the established basics like customer service and taking bookings to a growing range of sales and upselling from

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Top Chatbots and Lessons You Can Learn
Design (UI/UX)
Chris Knight

Top Chatbots and Lessons You Can Learn

More chatbots were launched in 2018 than all the previous years of their existence, and 2019 will see even more arrive. Here are some of the highlights and issues raised from the recent crop, and lessons that any business can use when putting their future chatbot plans together. If NASA can’t make a smart chatbot, then who can? In 2017, with plenty of hype about interplanetary Mars rovers and new landers, NASA launched “Ask NASA Mars” which has seen plenty of interest recently as the InSight mission gently touched down on the surface of the red planet. Notable for the fact it can be addressed by voice command or keyboard, and through the likes of Alexa. Unfortunately, it is a poor example of a chatbot, merely surfacing stock information or giving the wrong answers to simple questions. With all the excitement of space exploration for a new generation, this is

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Business
Chris Knight

6 Key Questions Your Business Needs to Answer Before Launching a Chatbot in 2019

Chatbots are a growing trend among businesses, helping with customer services, bookings and sales. But among all the hype any company planning to launch one needs to answer some key questions before committing to a project. Consider these around the boardroom or planning table before taking off. What will we do with our chatbot? Without answering this most basic of questions, there is no point in having a bot. Your team, department or client needs to decide exactly what the chatbot is for, what specific questions it will help answer, or what information it will give out. Once that is answered you can start worry about the many other questions like tone of voice and marketing. Some companies will have a simple decision to make, Pizza Hut’s Facebook Messenger chatbot helps it sell more fast food, simplifying the sales process and reducing the need for apps or phone calls. But

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Chatbots to Treat Anxiety and Depression
Healthcare
Lorcan Teichne

Chatbots to Treat Anxiety and Depression

Nowadays, a major concern of mental health doctors regarding traditional therapeutic approaches (such as visiting the doctor’s office) is that they are confronted with a new phenomenon, specific to our time: the desocialization of their patients, especially the younger ones. Indeed, they grew up in a world where they were much more in contact with screens than previous generations. Thus, they have learned to trust the screens, sometimes more than human beings. However, it is not only young people who find themselves in this situation, since we have now been living for twenty years in a world where the use of computers is commonplace, regardless of age. And when social concerns arise in people who are used to screens, it is difficult to lead them to treatment, because therapy involves a social relationship: the one between the patient and the doctor. This is why new approaches are being invented and

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The Big Stats in Chatbots for 2018
Business
Chris Knight

The Big Stats in Chatbots for 2018

Dynamic growth, time and money saved, outlandish health claims, chatbots had it all in 2018. We take a look at the latest numbers that will help drive bot adoption and growing use of AI in 2019. The stats are the stars Most businesses won’t make a decision without an army of stats behind it, and while there are lots of general predictions about chatbot growth like, “Some 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017, according to Gartner.” Business leaders really need more solid information than that. We’ve been talking to a number of big names with chatbots, and while many won’t commit to figures the majority cite impressive growth in use of their bots from customers and growing value overall to the business. Based on that, many see a positive return

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How to Make a Chatbot
Chris Knight

What We Learned From Chatbots in 2018

Chatbots continue to march into the public and consumer consciousness as they wedge themselves firmly into apps, websites, and social media as contact points. But what can companies thinking about their first bot learn from an exciting 2018 in chatbot evolution? Chatbots are launching fast The first lesson for anyone considering a bot is that they aren’t new or scary territory. In the last few hours alone, Citizen AI in New Zealand launched RentBot to help those struggling to find a rental property. Rentbot helps solve a common problem around the world, using natural language processing to create a tool for the growing rental market. In Vietnam, Da Nang city has launched an AI public service chatbot to promote easy access to administrative tasks including, traffic, health care, food safety, tourism and business registration. And it’s not even lunchtime, many more chatbots will roll out around the world today, this

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Business
Chris Knight

What the Researchers and Businesses Predict for Technology for 2019

December is always a fun time as the tech press and industry look forward to the next big thing, or a small thing that could make a huge difference. This roundup takes a look at the most common and outlier trends that IT needs to be prepared for in the new year. Bust or boom for blockchain The big news is that almost everyone is down on blockchain as 2018 ends and cryptocurrencies continue to take a hammering. However, now the golden egg is laid to rest and speculators look elsewhere, 2019 will be a good time for beneficial blockchain use cases to start showing their stuff. Inc.com reckons “Blockchain in the B2B world has been all hype with no significant transaction volume, but there are signs that this will change in 2019. To deal with cash flow, financing, settlements, and other ways of sharing value at scale, you need

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Automation
Chris Knight

The Rise of AI in Consumer Hardware and Services to “God Mode” Assistants

Smartphones are finally getting smart with AI chips inside them to drive improved virtual assistants, imaging and other applications. Processors are being sold with massive amounts of AI-based processing power, and there’s still all the power of the cloud to drive AI apps, allowing any business to make products and services genuinely smarter. After years of tinkering around the edges, 2018 saw the arrival of some real AI power in consumer hardware. Yes, we already use AI a lot, in search, navigation and image processing, all invisible to the user. But, this marks the transition of AI from an enterprise toy for services or better business decisions to democratizing that power to enable better virtual assistants, chatbots, and casual features from even-better-looking photographs to improved predictive text and other benefits. In January, the CES Show taking place in Las Vegas will tout endless products as having AI from fridges to

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