Surely you remember SmarterChild, the bot you spent far more hours than you’d like to admit chatting with on AOL Instant Messenger. The beauty of SmarterChild, as Fast Company‘s Jared Newman writes, was that it was both a conversationalist and handy source of information—which explains why more than 30 million people chatted with it.
But don’t expect the new wave of bots to look like SmarterChild, Jared says:
Crucially, these bots are meant to be useful out of the gate, so unlike SmarterChild, they no longer need conversation as a crutch for mass adoption. Sure, Apple’s Siri knows how to break the ice with a few jokes, but it largely exists to help you get things done. Rival assistants from Google and Amazon don’t exhibit much personality at all. Utility is winning out because the technology allows for it.