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If you haven’t been paying attention lately, you might be surprised to learn that artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Each year more companies use AI to power their businesses in some sort of way. Chatbots are one example of AI programming that has become more popular in the past couple of years. According to Webopedia, a chatbot is any computer program that “simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence.” If you’ve ever communicated online with a business via a chat feature, it’s likely that you were speaking with a computer program and not another human being.

Customer Service

Companies find chatbots so useful because they are able to work around the clock answering customer questions. Everybody knows how difficult it can be to get a customer service representative on the phone when there is an issue. Chatbots are so valuable because they save companies money, and they provide customers with a better experience. Plus, chatbots do not get annoyed when dealing with an issue. That’s a huge benefit for customers.

Social Media

Some companies have started to use chatbots to power social media interaction. This means that you can be on Facebook, visit your favorite brand, and message them with your order. There’s no need to even visit the company’s website or download an app. Chatbots are also able to remember your purchasing and browsing history. This gives them the ability to suggest products that you might want to buy in the future.

Your Own Personal Assistant

Imagine having a personal assistant to book your restaurant reservations or schedule your upcoming meetings. Chatbots make this a reality. Right now there’s a program called that you can add to your e-mails. It takes care of the back and forth involved in scheduling events and then sends you a message once the event is scheduled.

The Future of Chatbots

Chatbots have the power to do a lot of different things that make life easier for businesses and customers. But AI can’t do everything. While chatbots are able to accomplish a number of simple tasks, if the problem is too complex a human will still need to intervene. Ten years from now though that might all change. Technology moves so quickly, and AI is improving at an incredible rate. It’s difficult to imagine all of the things that chatbots will be capable of in the future.