Is the Chatbot Trend One Big Misunderstanding?

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Picture a nightmarish future in which half-witted “conversational user interfaces” drive us insane with mindless conversation and misunderstandings. As U.S. tech companies rush to emulate the success of China’s messaging platforms, this could be where we’re headed.

Dan Grover, a product manager for China’s wildly successful WeChat messaging service, argues that the chatbots and chatbot tools being developed by U.S. companies, such as Microsoft and Facebook, are inspired, in large part, by the many chat-based services now available in China. These chat services can be used for all sorts of tasks, including transferring money, paying restaurant bills, and looking up flight information.

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