Hungry for a Crunchwrap Supreme? There’s a bot for that.
Remember all of those aimless conversations you used to have with SmarterChild from AOL Instant Messenger when your Buddy List was looking sparse? Or cursing the infamous Microsoft Word assistant, Clippy, for annoyingly interrupting your writing to see if you needed help?
Back in the ‘90s, both of these were considered chatbots—the name for robots that exist to simulate one-on-one human conversation. But these days, their capabilities have evolved quite a bit, and the bots of 2016 can do all sorts of things to make life a little easier (and influence you to buy a bunch of stuff, too). Retail heavyweights Sephora and H&M recently launched bots on messaging app Kik, which helps shoppers browse and buy their products. On Tuesday, Facebook announced it has created a platform that allows companies to develop bots that run within its Messenger app. And, most recently, Taco Bell teamed up with Slack to launch “TacoBot,” which allows users to order food on the instant-messaging service used by companies for internal communications.
According to an article in Fortune, TacoBot will be able to answer questions, recommend items, and be fully equipped with the sharp and witty personality you’d expect from Taco Bell. TacoBot is currently in a private testing phase with select workplaces, including SAV Studios, Thought Catalog, Giphy, Fullscreen and FoodBeast. The company says it will be making the service available to more companies in the coming months, and there’s a waiting list up at Taco Bell’s TacoBot webpage.
“Taco Bell is about food tailor-made for social consumption with friends, and that’s why integrating with a social communications platform like Slack makes perfect sense. TacoBot is the next best thing to having your own Taco Bell butler—and who wouldn’t want that?” said Lawrence Kim, director of digital innovation. “This makes Taco Bell more accessible wherever and whenever our fans want it.”
Here’s what a typical conversation with TacoBot might look like: