2016 – The Year of the Chatbot


Oh what a year for the bots! While many feared the singularity (Facebook’s F8 that kicked the craze truly off in April, happened more or less exactly 5 years after Skynet became self-aware…), we have essentially witnessed the birth of a new UI paradigm that will take some years to get established, but will not go away. Controlling machines with human language can be considered the “last frontier” for man-machine interfaces. And Amara’s Law applies here again like it has so many times before with emerging technology:

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run

Have a look at the industry movements as they relate to chatbots this year:

Without a doubt, 2017 will show exciting first implementations that not only meet expectations (that have been missed so much this year), but pave the way for slower adopters that will not want to miss out once they, too, realize the potential of Conversational User Interfaces (CUI). Me, personally, I can’t wait!


Tobias Goebel

Tobias is Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. He has over 14 years of experience in customer care technology and the contact center industry with roles spanning engineering, consulting, pre-sales engineering, program and product management, and product marketing. As part of Aspect's product management and marketing team today, he works on defining the future of the mobile customer experience, bringing together channels such as mobile apps, messaging, voice, and social. He is a frequent speaker and blogger on topics around customer service and, more recently, the (re-)emerging chatbot, NLP, and AI technologies. Tobias holds degrees in Computational Linguistics, Phonetics, and Computer Science from the universities of Bonn, Germany and Edinburgh, UK.