Increasingly, many of our online interactions are automated. Take Cortana for instance. If you have a Windows 10 system or a Windows 10 phone, you will be able to literally talk to Cortana. It accepts both voice commands and text commands. You can search with it or you can look up the weather. It is a multifunction productivity bot.
What is a bot?
A bot started out as a chatting app. For instance, if you had a question, you could type it in and it would give you a pre-programmed automated response. They were capable of basic tasks like time-alerts, playing simple games or sorting tasks. They could perform only a limited number of pre-decided tasks and even in chat given certain pre-fed responses.
Later bots advanced to deliver virus. These were known as malicious bots. They also got added to search engine as spiders who searched the World Wide Web to add new pages to the search engine.
Of late, bots have totally changed character. The bots are able to chat in human voice, so that they serve as a human companion. They order food for you, they manage your money and advice you as well, and they even suggest movies or entertainment nearby to you. Bots in your email can not only manage your mail but also schedule your calendar. However, these still work on a pre-programmed mode. The lacunae is the inability of most voice-enabled bots to recognize individual accents.
Companies which build a lot of apps are also building bots. Bots are a result of use of artificial intelligence in apps. Google for instance is a mainly a data mining company. Similarly, Microsoft also has access to humongous amounts of data. The data aggregation actually helps in creating the program for bots. The information that bots give you depends on the database that they can access.
For instance, a bot created by an online shop like Marks & Spencer will have access to all the clothing and other items available for purchase; price; discounts and if you are a regular customer, your purchase habits and preferences. It may even help you select the right color and fit based on your prior habits or data collected by it. They will place the order for you on the basis of a voice command and carry out the entire transaction.
They are different from the app in the sense that they are interactive. They can help resolve queries and have live access to larger databases than the app. Bots take apps a step further. They complement apps for purposes like chat or complex transactions.