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WRC 2016: BOTs economy set to take off

Reporter: Luo Rui 丨 CCTV.com

10-24-2016 17:05 BJT

The bots economy is the buzz at this year's World Robot Exhibition. The bots economy refers to online virtual robots such as Siri on Apple's iPhone. Chat-bots and personal assistants have already lifted the curtain on an era of " conversational plus."

That's an economic format that will likely replace applications and become the next gold rush. Our reporter Laura Luo was at the exhibition to talk to experts about the emerging trend.

Soon smart phone users won't necessarily need to tap their screens to place an online order. Instead, they can interact with their gadgets through natural dialogues. That's a concept experts call "BOT". Xiao i.com is a global front runner in the field.

"They don't have an appearance or form. They are software that can talk to humans online, such as the chatbot on Wechat. They are the brain of a robot, but without a shell, we call it Bot. " Zhu Pinpin, president of Xiaoi.com said.

And these "brains" sit in the clouds with their material formats coming in different shapes.

"Service robots is an example, it provides human machine interaction which allows robots to recognise human faces, and voices. This way our service robots will know when a VIP client walks through the door." Liu Wei, engeneer of software dev't, Siasun Robot  & Automation CO said.

You will surely be talking to more and more of these Bots.  Leading companies in the AI industries have all chosen to open cloud-based intelligent interactive services. Microsoft announced its "conversation as platform" strategy. Apple provided Siri SDKs; And Alexa in Amazon's Echo was also opened to third parties.

"This market is immeasurable, there are massive opportunities, especially when Bots are connected to individual industries. A simple example is in hospitals, if Bots are introduced to inquiries, it'll bring huge relief to hospitals. " Wei Bin, chief product officer of Tami Group said.

Gartner says nearly 40 percent of consumers uses Bots on their smart phones. That number is set to grow to two thirds in developed nations by the end of this year. This means touch screen based applications will soon become a thing of the past.

"Why would Bot replace Apps? Although we are used to interaction with our phones by touching the screens. But talking with a Bots is so much easier, it's just like talking with our best friends. Gartner says that by 2020 interactions between human and Bots will reach 40 to 50 percent of all interactions on mobile gadgets. " Zhu Pingping said.

Zhu also says knowledge automation, which largely relies on the use of Bots, will see a market value of 6 trillion US dollars by 2025. 2016 is indeed the beginning of the so-called Bots economy.

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