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BOTS: THE FUTURE IS HERE

When I am prompted by Captcha(Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), to type in the words I see while registering on a site or forgetting my password on another, I wonder why the site would even think it was anything but human that was trying to register, that’s probably the Nigerian in me thinking, While not yet at the Star Wars level, where simple house cleaning tasks are assigned to robots and machines, the world over has been using this artificial intelligence and their potential is limitless. My oldest knowledge of artificial intelligence that comes to mind is watching car assemblage on television back when I was a wee lad. And most recently in medicine, which fascinates me a lot, robots that can determine where what afflicts you is located on your body. Of course, the usage of artificial intelligence is not just limited to medicine and car assemblage. Just a few weeks ago, the internet was on fire with news about Fabio, the supermarket assistant that was sacked, a real-life walking, talking robot.

The confusing usage of the personal pronoun is pretty much that, CONFUSING. Artificial intelligence these days are programmed with personality to give them presence and make them pass more for living things. From robot puppies to that Aunt’s voice that greets you when you settle in your car (voice-activated digital assistants), to poor sacked Fabio; the codes written for these personalities are based on genetic algorithms with foundations in probability, see why you should have taken that Further Math class? This is just the simplified version of the true work that goes into creating these personalities.Looking at the Microsoft chatbot, which enables you to build, connect, deploy, and manage intelligent bots to naturally interact and engage with your audience via website, app, Cortana, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and whatever platform they are. Also, you have the option of the type of bot you want, like an information bot, enterprise bot or commerce bot, that can easily sell your products or services to whichever client that visits your platform, and only in a matter of few minutes, wouldn’t that save you time and make you more money.

While program designers are careful to prevent machines from acting life-like because of user concerns about them being ‘too real’, an effect is known as ‘uncanny valley’, shoppers, where Fabio worked, complained that he was ‘inefficient’ and freaked them out. That is just a statement to the obvious fantastical expectations that we have – ‘you just can’t please these humans’. In the advent that usage of robotics finally permeates everyday life in Nigeria, I can’t stop imagining how an old woman probably in Ekiti would demand pounded yam, and still demand that like a true ‘yoruba’ robot, It ’ll kneel while presenting the food. Still, bots are here to stay, and we best be prepared to receive them with wide open arms.

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