Online tech news publication TechCrunch has launched an artificial intelligence news bot on messaging service Telegram, powered by Chatfuel, which creates chatbots in publishing, business, social media and catalogs. Both have been working on the bot for a month and the bot lets users subscribe to different topics, authors or sections from TechCrunch, as well as sends news digests twice a day.
By default, TechCrunch says that the bot will send the most popular stories, and can be tweaked to subscribe to other topics. It can also answer some basic questions like “Who is Jack Dorsey?” or “What is Disrupt?” (the TechCrunch event).
Other bots: Telegram seems to have a host of bots built for it, one from Engadget as well. A Wired story from October 2015 highlights the number of publications using bots to generate news. Meanwhile, in India, media startup FactorDaily also employs a news bot called Regina, which stores links shared in Slack and can apparently crack Star Wars jokes.
On the sidelines, check out this intense story from Mondaynote: News Publishers Need To Jump Into Bots and one from September 2015 from BBC: AI bots try to fool human judges. A more recent look at chatbots from Forbes here: Kik Messenger may have the edge as bots power the internet and a wiki for internet bots from Hyperallergic.
Here’s some screenshots from messing around with the TechCrunch Telegram bot. As you can see, it’s not perfect and doesn’t understand everything contextually yet, but that may be because its primary intent seems to be search rather than conversation:
And a bizzare poem about other AI assistants: