Of course, chatbots still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to open-ended and less structured chat dialogue.
“We’re trying to take a fairly curated approach…so it’s not just random chat,” says Mr. “Over time, we’ll have to see how scalable we’re able to [teach] people.” “We’ll probably need a bot to watch the teacherbot or something like that, so we don’t get a Microsoft Tay kind of situation,” he adds.
Still, when it comes to more commercial or service-oriented We Chat accounts, chatbots are rarely implemented, says Mr. “We Chat is just an amazingly underused platform,” he told Tech Node.
” [In] Slack, everyday people are releasing cool new applications that really use the platform.
Whether it’s a MOOC or a live-streamed tutoring session, the bottleneck for most edutech startups is usually the same: teachers. It’s really well-suited for education,” says David ‘DC’ Collier, the CEO of Rikai Labs, an English education startup based in Shanghai.
“You’re chatting with a chatbot and…actually learning at the same time.” Rikai Labs is using chatbots to boost the scalability of its English education platform.
Currently, Rikai Labs’ service is free – students can start lessons by following the company’s We Chat account – but doesn’t have that much content. Collier, the company plans to launch another version in two months, and will charge students 20 RMB (about $3 USD) per lesson in future versions.
Catfishing, phishing and sexy chat-botting: the online dating world can be a confusing place.[In] We Chat, people are just shoving marketing material on webpages.” We Chat’s Developer API supports many functions that are useful for chatbots, such retrieving text-to-speech output, says Mr. However, most We Chat applications stick to HTML5 pages and rarely take advantage of We Chat’s built-in chatbot potential.In addition, though other chat platforms, such as Line and Facebook Messenger, have the ability to utilize chatbots, We Chat is the only one that can really monetize it as a business, due to its micropayments system We Chat Wallet.For example, Google and Facebook are developing powerful natural language processing (NLP) tools, which are the backbone of chatbots – they’re what enable them to understand human speech and respond accordingly.In May, Google open sourced Syntax Net, the company’s NLP engine that can parse text and understand grammar.Rikai Labs’ chatbots, which the company calls “teacherbots”, are responsible for simpler interactions, such as providing practice material and responding to student answers.