Talking bots? Get out of here!
Ok, so this is how it happened - once, one of our Lead Cloud Architects brought an Amazon Echo to work. Not a surprise at all, by the way. He's known for beeing geeky about the new gadgets and stuff. Paying tribute to the ancient tradition of our office we gathered around to see what was that new thing he spent the money on, instead of hitting the pub with us last Friday. After asking Alexa a few stupid questions, trying to make her tell a dirty joke and play some Death Metal we got bored and gave it an "only for home" verdict. That's when things got interesting because one of the engineers decided to take a look at Echo's API to see what's inside. Can you imagine our surprise, when we found that finally you can add custom Skills with almost unlimited possibilities. Unlike its competitors, Amazon Echo is an "open book" with tons of blank pages to write on. The challenge was set right away - "How can we use it at work and have some fun?".
They say that the innovation is when you put two or more technologies or ideas together and receive a brand new one, which turns out to be in demand. So in the red corner we had a ChatBots. After recent update from Facebook about supporting chatbots in their messenger people started talking about start of new human machine interface era.This broad a big hype around chatbots especially in the crowd of ordinary people that believe that it’s powered by magic. Some say even that this technology uses Machine learning with a pinch of Artificial intelligence in order to generate answers but in most cases it’s a simple API call with 10 predefined answers with 3 conditions. So when you order a pizza with a chatbot it doesnt call to a pizza place by phone and use Siri voice in order to order two margaritas. It just triggers API similar to mobile app and your order is going to their ordering system. We used to use a lot of them in HipChat. In order to keep us updated about the project status, notify if the website is down and deploy the previous version when that happens for ages but this was limited to geek tech guys that are ok to spend weekend at work in order to create something just for fun for work.