We are always looking for ways to make our lives easier. It is in our nature to do so and in many ways, that’s a great thing. If you automate processes that would otherwise be more manual, you can spend your time where you really excel. It should come as no surprise really that concepts like Tesla’s autopilot generate so much attention, albeit with its dose of controversy.

When it comes to the digital world, bots seem to be thriving. Companies have limited resources, so employing a person to do what a piece of code can do much easily, does not sound like a great idea. Investing in bots may help your business achieve more, as your workforce is relieved from tedious activities.

What is a bot?

In essence a bot is a software that automates a process. However, as with many other innovations, that is just the start. The true beauty lies with Artificial Intelligence (AI), since a bot can only do what you tell it to do. The improvements in AI allow bots to learn about human interaction and anticipate the next steps. This may seem scary, but if you use Google’s voice assistant, you should be familiar with that feeling. When introduced, the interactions were merely reactive, which means the assistant could only reply to questions asked by the user. However, as AI progressed the interactions became way more conversational. Check this video of the legendary MKBHD on voice assistants:

When it comes to marketing, bots can  really help you engage with your users in a much deeper way. There are many different ways companies are integrating bots into their workflow and in this blog we’ll try to further explain the differences.

Website Use

It is more common than ever to access a website and be greeted by an automatic chat box that encourages you to write any question you may have. This is quite clever if your traffic is quite big, since you’re allowing users to get some quick info that you could have in the FAQ section. There’s a limit to what the bot can reply to, but it enables us to start using automatisation. Companies like botsify are very good at offering the solution and an easy integration with your website.

Transport for London

The second chatbot we want to feature belongs to Transport for London. The way it works is quite neat, you just start a conversation and it will give you information on the trains departure and arrival. It also includes the bus schedules and they keep upgrading its services. You can check what it does in this video:


In this case, the cat bot is acting as an app displaying relevant information to the user at any given moment. It may sound counter intuitive – especially since everyone had to had an app a few years ago – however, in our devices we download plenty of apps we rarely use. On top of that, we’re constantly using messaging services so it only feels natural to write a message to get some info back.


I’m an expat in Norway, which means in the beginning I did not have a Norwegian bank account and all the money (less than I would like) was in my spanish bank. After a few months back and forth, I managed to open a bank account in Norway, so I was left with a problem. That’s when Transferwise came into play, as I could transfer all my savings from the bank in Spain to Norway with a fair commission in the process.

Transferwise have created their Facebook bot and it allows you to do what you needed an app for. In the following video you can see it in action. By doing it over messenger, the actions are much more versatile and can be performed on-the-fly. In an ever stressed society, this is just convenient.

Cool stuff

These two examples have real world applications and can become quite useful. However, on the era of procrastination we can also find bots that are simply there for the sake of entertaining. The twitter handle @dscover_epic is a great example of this.

In all fairness, this Twitttbot is more than simple leisure. What it does is simply tweet pictures of Earth and notes the part of the world we’re looking at. In order to do that, the author has created an automatisation rule, whereby every time there’s a new picture of Earth taken by the DSCOVER satellite, a tweet is published.

As innocuous as it may look, this bot could very well be used for educational purposes as it puts the study of the planet at your fingertips.

Not-so-cool stuff

It is obvious that with every innovation, there’s always going to be people trying to exploit it. This is one of the reasons why bots have such bad reputation. Browse Twitter for a while and spam bots will start appearing for sure. Ranging from pure spam handles to porn, bots can also be used in a less positive way. Unfortunately Twitter seems to be filled with them, which makes the experience very unpleasant at times.

Farming for fans

However, there’s yet another foul use of bots which is less harmful but can generate fake results in the long run. We’re talking about farming likes and followers on Social Media. There’s an industry behind it creating ways for wanna-be influencers to become more popular by just increasing their fan base. We don’t doubt users can see an increase in their fans and likes, but as a rule of thumb, everything you don’t generate by hard-work, tends to flop eventually.

In the years we worked for Facebook, we were constantly faced with accounts that saw an exponential increase in their fanbases, as a result of applying these techniques. The result was always a ban in those accounts.

Final thoughts

We believe in bots. When used properly, they add value to the companies using them. At the end of the day, making people’s life a touch easier is always cool. There’s also the educational aspect of it, as some of the examples show. We’re sure these innovations will also make our education systems better. I have a nephew who’s twelve and he’s teaching himself coding. Wouldn’t it be nice if schools were teaching that as part of the curriculum?

Finally, as with all other trends, we recommend treading carefully. They may seem like the ultimate innovation, but soon enough there will surely be something new and more advanced. However, you can’t always wait and see what the next big thing will be, so our recommendation? Just embrace the latest thing that’s out there, get the maximum out of them and get ready for the next one!

You can check the sources we used for this blog post here, here and here!