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Bots in Your Future

by Lori Gracey

The growth of artificial intelligence the past few years has led to the creation of bots that are growing in use today. A bot is an automated program that runs over the internet. Some bots run automatically while others operate only when given a specific input.

The largest number of bots currently working are in the social media area. These include bots for Facebook Messenger and chats. Bots have also been created though for devices like Amazon’s Alexis and for Slack ad Skype. Even LEGO has a bot running on their Facebook page. Eventually, bots will make their way into education. But until then, here are some that you might want to learn more about.

Interesting Bots

Poncho – Poncho is a friendly weather cat that delivers daily personalized weather reports. But this report goes beyond what time it will rain and if it’s sunny or cloudy. Poncho also shares relevant insights like allergen levels, transportation delays due to weather, and a heads up if it’ll be a bad hair day. Poncho is fun and sassy and is available on Messenger, KikSlack, or Viber.

Mitsuku – If you’re feeling lonely or just want someone to talk with, then you’ll want this bot. Mitsuku has won numerous prizes and awards for best artificial intelligence in a bot. She can chat to you and tell you stories, jokes, and horoscopes. She is able to play games with you, as well as showing you web pages and pictures from the internet. She learns as more people interact with her, so will be acquiring new skills constantly.

ResistBot – This software program makes it easy to send a message to your Congressional representatives. Simply text “Resist” to 50409 (or drop them a Facebook Message), and Resistbot will walk you through a series of prompts to confirm your identity and representatives.

Domino’s AnyWare – Now you don’t even have to log into a website to order a pizza. This bot works from MessengerAmazon Echo and Google Home devices, or via SMS message (by texting a pizza emoji to 88607).

Ivy Bots – There are lots of chat bots for higher education. They offer a wide variety of AI software “personas” that can do anything from career counseling to helping students apply for scholarships to answering questions about campus life.

Bots in Education

The best way right now to incorporate bots into the classroom is to help students learn how to create their own. Since they can be a very simple program, it’s easy to begin. Here’s one great resource. And if you just want to see how they might have a bigger impact on what happens every day in your school, you should check out this article.


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