Messenger & Microsoft Bot Framework Platforms
This month, Microsoft and Facebook released their bot platform with developer tools that make building bots easier than ever – well – in theory at least. Microsoft announced that they were bringing bots to Skype, Slack, SMS, Telegram, etc. and Facebook announced that they will bring bots to Messenger. These bots can help you take care of your calendar or book a table at your favorite restaurant. I hear you, that does sound awesome!
First of all let’s try to get things straight: what is a chat bot? A chat bot is an AI program developed to simulate intelligent conversation through written or spoken text. Now you’re probably wondering do Facebook and Microsoft provide a chat bot within their platforms?
Facebook & Microsoft provide the platform and then enable your bot to chat on different channels – Facebook has Messenger and might have WhatsApp & Instagram later on. That means you still need a server with an endpoint to access your bot from Microsoft and Facebook platforms in order to make it work. What’s great about those platforms is that they provide you their API template messages for Facebook or translation capabilities for Microsoft. Still that is only one part part of the whole process. What we need now is AI and the ability to understand humans.
That’s where the magic happens. As I said earlier Microsoft and Facebook are channel platforms but you still need to implement the AI on your side. This is where services like Luis, Wit, API or Recast come in. The challenging part is plugging AI into a ‘conversational’ chat bot interface. To make it work and have a realistic conversation bot that triggers actions, these would be the steps:
Create an endpoint on your own server
Create your conversational interface using NLP services
Trigger actions based on intents
Link your endpoint with a bot platform to talk with your users
Yes, that does sound painful to implement.
Is there a fast track?
Hold your horses, we’re not quite there yet. Now that you understand how time consuming building a bot is, I guess like me you’d like an all-in-one platform. A place where you could build and deploy your bot to any channel in just one click. Yes, that is a lot of work, and the AI industry does need time to evolve but trust me we are working on it 😉