The tech world has been voraciously chattering about “chatbots,” and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has already declared them the new apps, the next big thing.
But what tends to get lost in the discussion is the reason why these chatbots could represent such a power shift in the industry, and how they could fundamentally change the idea of apps, or distinct pieces of software in general.
First, though, when we talk about chatbots, what are we actually talking about?
The basic idea is “conversation as a platform.” “Bots” — as people have begun to shorten them — are virtual assistants, software programs that you can talk to in order to get stuff done. Think Siri, but better.